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The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Holiday Timeline

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(November 26, 2020)--With just a few short weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the fun, festive holiday season never seems long enough to fit in everything you want to see and do. From getting together with friends and loved ones to shopping and decorating, there's a lot to squeeze in and little time to do it.

Looking to make the most of your holiday season? Here is the ultimate guide to planning the perfect Christmas season timeline.

Book Holiday Travel Plans in Early December

If you're traveling for the holidays, mark your calendars for the first week of December. That's when you should start watching flights if you want to get the best deal. Travel experts recommend booking any domestic flights two to three weeks before you plan to travel in order to get the best deal. Of course, if you need to fly at a certain time, consider booking further in advance to guarantee your first choice of flights.

Get Your Decorations Up Before December Hits

There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to when you should put up your holiday decorations. However, to add some much-needed holiday cheer to an otherwise eventful year, many people are deciding to put up their Christmas trees earlier than ever before. 

Unless you love decorating for Thanksgiving, why not get an early start on hanging your Christmas lights? One benefit of putting up your decorations before Thanksgiving is that you won't have to worry about missing out on any holiday fun. Instead, you can spend your time shopping, marvel at other homes' Christmas lights, and enjoy the festivities.

Mark Off Big-Ticket Gifts at the Start of the Shopping Season

Holiday shopping can be tricky, but starting early will help ensure you get everything on your list and wrapped under the tree on time. Then again, starting too early can sometimes mean overspending, as many retailers put out holiday sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ideally, you should have your shopping lists ready in November. Then, aim to get your big-ticket items around the Black Friday weekend. 

This year, with most retailers looking to avoid the holiday shopping crowds, stores are releasing their Black Friday deals ahead of Thanksgiving. If you have electronics or popular toys on your list, grab those items as soon as possible. You can always save smaller items that are unlikely to sell out for later in the month if you enjoy holiday shopping.

Plan Your Festivities Ahead of Time

There are only so many weekends leading up to and during the holiday season. So, if you have lots of family and friends with whom you plan to celebrate or want to enjoy a mix of Christmas shopping, light displays, festivals, and everything else the season has to offer, it's a good idea to plan your weekends ahead of time. Make a list of your top priority items, and make time to get to those early in December. This way, if plans change or you have to put anything off, you'll still have time to get to them at a later date.

Order Your Holiday Cards Before the Holiday Season

In previous years, ordering your holiday cards in late November and mailing them two weeks ahead of Christmas Day gave you plenty of time. But with mail moving a little slower this year, it's a good idea to aim to mail your cards three weeks or more ahead of the holidays. If you haven't already taken your Christmas card photos, do so right away. This will give you more time to design your own beautiful, custom holiday cards that your family and friends will no doubt love receiving!

Making the Most of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a great time for spontaneous get-togethers, driving around to marvel at ornate Christmas displays, and/or continuing your shopping sprees. But if you want to make the most of a short festive season, use this timeline to ensure your Christmas cards arrive on time and shopping gets done, so you still have plenty of time to spend with family and friends.