Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

November is solidly upon us again, and that means the holiday season is thundering towards us like a jingle bell wearing freight train. Friends, family, and co-workers are on your mind as the season of giving and sharing is coming about. Dreams of times together over big meals, thoughts of shared special times and sweet conversations with loved ones give us hope in the return of the season. You deeply desire to have a full and meaningful season with your loved ones, one that focuses on the good in life, and the meaning of the season.

What are some ways you can prepare for the season well?

Set a healthy pace

Running, running, running is not the speed you want to be going. You can be so busy, you miss those deeply meaningful moments with those you love so much. Set a pace that allows you to see and hear those who mean the most to you. Create times that enable you to devote yourself entirely to the moment you are in. Don’t be afraid to put down your devices, turn off the entertainment system, and disconnect from the outside world. Those you love will thank you for it.

Set a budget

Has a realistic budget been set for your different expenditures? Consider your food and drink costs, gift costs, and incidental costs. Try to avoid overextending yourself and adding large amounts of credit card debt by over-purchasing. If you can budget well and pay cash for your season, it will save you money in the long run. If you do need to use your credit, try to pay off your cards as quickly as possible.

Book your travel as early as possible

If you haven’t booked your flights yet, you need to jump on it as soon as possible. Flights will be booking out early. Don’t be afraid to travel on off days, traveling on Christmas Day and New Year’s day can save you bundles. Choose your dates and get ready to go.

Communicate

Be sure to talk to your family or parents about who will be where when. Nothing is worse than confusion about where you need to be when. Do you need to be at mom’s on Christmas day but your spouse’s mom is expecting you there on Christmas day as well? Confusion in this area can be torturous for relationships so be sure to iron this one out early.

Meal plan early

Setting a solid meal plan as soon as possible lets you prep some of your meal ahead of time. Freezing some of your meal components ahead of time is possible and can save you moments where you need to be devoted to parts that have to be done the day of.

Taking some time to prep for the holidays can pay off in how much time you spend with those you love. Relationships are the greatest gift of all, so any investment you make there will pay off over the long run.