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If thinking about the holidays is more triggering than exciting, consider getting organized ahead of time this year. Way ahead. Like, right now. Here are six things you can check off your list immediately so that once the holidays roll around, you can get lost in the fun of it all (and not the stress, for once).

budgeting
Twenty20

Set a Gifting Budget

The truth is, it’s never too early to get your finances in order. Set a savings goal that will cover most of your holiday spending and start chipping away now to avoid heavy credit-card balances later. Imagine buying gifts for the whole family on your card and paying it off right away with cash you already have? Now that’s the kind of holiday miracle we’re into.

Sponsored woman online shopping with credit card
PeopleImages / Getty Images

And Be Savvy With Your Credit Card

Speaking of credit, make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. You will be doing a lot more spending, so why not reap as many benefits as you can? Refresh yourself on how your rewards points work so you can be strategic and potentially earn tons of benefits. For example, the GM BuyPower Card lets you earn 5 percent in Earnings on the first $5,000 in purchases every year, and an unlimited 2 percent in Earnings on purchases after that.* And as the cherry on top, Earnings are redeemable toward the purchase or lease of a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle. 

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woman on her phone with coffee
Twenty20

Schedule the Traditions You Don’t Want to Skip

When the holiday madness strikes, it’s easy to get lost in all the parts that feel like work and let certain things fall by the wayside. Planning out all the festivities you want to partake in means you’ll be more organized from the get-go, and you’ll have more time to fit in those seasonal traditions instead of having to focus solely on seasonal tasks. Mark the calendar with tentative dates for things like driving through town to see the holiday lights. You can always change them later, but it’ll keep those special moments top of mind.

woman carrying box of holiday cards
Twenty20

Get Your Holiday Cards in Order

Guilty of putting off cards to the point that you never even send them? Same. Card packs might not be available in stores yet, but you can order them online or DIY them now while you still have plenty of time (this goes for any other holiday DIY projects too, btw). Sign them, address them and stash them away until you’re ready to mail them. Then pat yourself on the back for all the time you’ve freed up in December.

raw cookies on a baking sheet
Kari Shea / Unsplash

Do Your Baking With Months to Spare

Baked goods can be stored in the freezer for up to three months before thawing and serving. Casseroles too—and you can even freeze them uncooked. When you’re ready to eat, just thaw, bake and smile when the oohs and aahs roll in. These maple-pecan icebox cookies are at the top of our list.

woman carrying a box in her home
kate_sept2004 / Getty Images

Get Your House in Tip-Top Shape

Fast-forward to the week of Thanksgiving: Your parents are showing up in two days. You go into the guest room to put fresh sheets on the bed and—crap—you totally forgot you used that closet as a catchall for your spring-cleaning. (You said you’d organize it later.) Solution: Do it now. Go through your house and examine it as if guests were showing up tomorrow. Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish (de-cluttering the living room, sifting through your stockpile of mail) and work through them little by little over the next several weeks. It’ll be a huge relief come visiting hour.

*BuyPower Card Earnings may not be used with fleet vehicle incentive programs or with some other offers and discounted sale programs, such as the GM Employee Discount Program, GM Company-Owned Vehicle Discount and GM Supplier Discount Program. Other exclusions may apply. Read full Rates & Disclosures.

The BuyPower Card is issued by Capital One, N.A. pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. General Motors is responsible for the operation and administration of the Earnings program. 

Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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