Writing about the holiday season being over in the thick of December’s hustle and bustle may seem strange, but hear me out.
In a few short weeks, it will be time to get back to reality — to put away the ornaments, take down the tree and, if you’re in Atlantic Canada, try to mentally prepare for the rest of the winter.
It can be a bit of a bummer. But it can also provide a great opportunity to get reorganized and reoriented for the year ahead.
Looking for some easy first steps to take? Here are some of my favourite things you can do when the holiday season is over to help you get ready for the year to come.
The holiday season is over: three easy things you should do
If you’re looking to ease the transition back to real life once the holiday season is over, here are three easy things you can do.
Assess your budget
Did you stay on budget during the holiday season? Regardless of how you did with your spending, doing a financial review after the holiday season is over is a great idea.
For me, this involves reviewing my Mastercard transactions and making sure they are all paid back. Yes, I still use credit cards (I wrote about why here); in the case of holiday shopping, my approach involves making the purchase with my credit card and paying it back out of my holiday sinking fund.
Ending the holiday season in the red? Doing a financial review can provide a great opportunity to see where you went over-budget, which can, in turn, help prevent similar situations in the future. For tips on how to bounce back after going over-budget, check out this post.
TIP: When doing your review, make note of areas where you struggled. The point of this isn’t to make you feel ashamed, but rather to identify areas of improvement for the next year. Looking for a place to start? Take a look at your budget and see if you forgot any of these commonly forgotten budget lines.
Declutter your space
The New Year is all about fresh starts — what better way to launch that start than by spending some time purging your space of things you don’t need?
Maybe it’s because I’m packing away Christmas decor or trying to find a home for any gifts I received during the holiday, but I find this to be an ideal time to really focus on decluttering my space.
This doesn’t have to mean throwing things away, necessarily — it could look more like tidying up and making sure items are returned to their assigned home.
Regardless, once the holiday season is over, spending time getting your space under control is a great idea.
TIP: Don’t forget your fridge! This is particularly relevant if you have been traveling during the holiday season. Some things keep, but that half of a bell pepper that’s been sitting in your crisper for the last week and a half isn’t one of those things. Before doing your “the holiday season is over” grocery list, take a minute to check the fridge and toss anything that’s gone bad.
Yes, you read that right.
The holiday season happens at the same time every year. Notwithstanding the reality that life does happen sometimes, in many cases, a little planning ahead can make a big difference.
And don’t get the wrong idea: I’m not saying you need to do anything elaborate here.
Maybe you decide to start a sinking fund to save for the next year — if you contribute $25 a week, you’ll have $1,200 by the end of November. By the same token, jotting down gift ideas early — say, in the early summer — provides more opportunities to shop for deals and sales.
Perhaps most significantly, planning ahead can help make the holiday season more enjoyable and less stressful. I consider that a win.
TIP: Some items are cheaper after Christmas! Decor, wrapping paper, cards — all these things are deeply discounted after Boxing Day. If you want to save some cash, these are great items to pick up in advance.
Taking some time after the holiday season is over to reflect, recalibrate and plan can make a big difference.
Coming into the new year with a reconciled budget, a clean space and the seeds of a plan for the next holiday season provides an excellent jumping off point for the year ahead.
What easy things are on your to do list for when the holiday season is over?