Make the Holidays Work for You

The holidays are a whirlwind both of activity and of wondering where your money went.

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The key to staying on top of it is planning, but planning early enough to make a difference. Although most don’t want to be thinking about the season too far in advance, the reality is the sooner you develop your game plan the better off you will be.

The key is to look at the winter holiday season in its entirety. Mid October is the best time to get going. Perhaps while waiting to pick up the carpool or sitting in a boring staff meeting you can jot down a few good ideas for your holiday plans. With some strategic shopping you can make the season brighter for yourself and your classroom.

The trick to staying ahead of holiday mayhem is to pick items that can be reused for each year-end celebration. When decorating for autumn celebrations I stick with generic decor like fall leaves and pumpkins rather than Halloween decorations. Then they can be displayed through Thanksgiving and I’ve covered two holidays in one. I also repurpose items like this spider stand. After October 31st, the spider goes away and the pumpkin remains.


If you are someone that needs candy for various baking or holiday projects make a list of what you need now. The day after Halloween, stockpile your supplies when the candy is 50% off.

Wanting to make treat bags for your students?  Buy the candy now. Non-chocolate is usually cheaper and I am finding more kids prefer it.


Sometimes you can get other package stuffers discounted on November first and use those for your student gifts. My favorite is mini containers of play-dough. If you can’t find what you need on sale you can’t beat the deals at your nearest Dollar Store. Packages of 12 holiday pencils or 18 boxes of stickers can all be found for that magical price of a dollar each.


Fill the bags with some candy. Tie it up with a couple colors of curling ribbon and they look like you spent more than you did.


Tags with clever sayings are cute but students, especially the younger ones don’t even notice it and if they do it is for a few seconds. Save the time and paper and skip the tags.

As you get ready for Thanksgiving add to those repurposed pumpkins with gold accents. The wonderful thing about gold as a base color is it can carry you through the next year.  In November you can add additional reds and oranges for more fall color. For Christmas replace orange with green. For Hanukkah accent the gold with blue and for New Year’s accent with black or sliver. Grab Thanksgiving clearance items like paper goods or décor in this color or stock up on supplies during Black Friday sales.

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Any food items like nuts, dried fruit, and candy can be bought the day after a holiday and served for the next event. When all of those Christmas themed packages of cashews or mints go on sale serve them on a platter at New Year’s Eve. Even after New Year’s when everything is getting discounted, stockpile packaged food for your Super Bowl party. If you  set your mind to thinking of what holiday comes next you will stay more than one step ahead of the holiday chaos and  find time to relax and enjoy the season.

By The Uncluttered Teacher

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