SPICES like cumin, vanilla, nutmeg, sage, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, etc. are known holiday staples. So to save time and money, hunt them down in September! Buy 2-3 different ones on sale that you need to change out so by November, you'll be set with fresh spices!
a) should not be holiday specific; it becomes expensive quick that way. Rather, invest in inexpensive scented votives and combine the smells! For example: Hazelnut and Cinnamon or Vanilla and Apple Spice or Cranberry & Apple Pie smells that you can find at your local Dollar Tree or Walmart.
b) Invest in inexpensive votive holders; clear ones are often the best, you see the flame and all of a sudden, your home is filled with warmth and cozy memories...
c) use last year's gift of apple cider packet and cinnamon sticks as a potpourri. Boil in an open pot and soon your home will be holiday ready!
Here are more Holiday shopping tips:
EGGS & MILK should be bought fresh so try to stock up 3-4 days before the party so the inventory is not picked over and the due date is way beyond the holidays they will be used for. Stores will have them on sale every week, way in advance so no need to invest in another deep freezer just so you can be sure to have enough milk for that cake or soup you'll be making.
DRINKS should be stocked up on months or weeks in advance and keep them in a cool, dry place. Then on the night of the party, pull out the summer cooler box from the garage, fill it with ice and keep the drinks in there to cool them without crowding the fridge!
FLOUR, SUGAR, YEAST, CHOCOLATE & BUTTER- all can be bought weeks in advance and stored properly to maintain freshness.
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Berries- fresh 2-3 days before, frozen 7-14 days before
Apples/Pears- 3-5 days before
Canned or frozen (fruits & veggies)- up to months before
Roots- carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic- buy 7-14 days before and store properly to keep fresh.
Squash- 7 days before
Leaves- 2-3 days before (if frozen, 7-14 days before)
If you plan your menu, have a and stick to the budget and prepare the necessities of the holidays like those mentioned above, you will save time, gas and money!
Ok, let see... we want to:
PURCHASE items in your shopping list during a great sale.
REPLACE old spices and scents.
ARRANGE storage for the extra items you will buy before you buy
YANK out dishes from your menu that didn't quite make the cut from previous holidays.
START planning the menu & theme well in advance and finalize until 2 weeks before.
Me, I plan my holiday menus and themes in September (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve), then I tweak it up to 2 weeks before the holiday so I can fine tune my shopping list and get my proper coupons.