The holidays are jam-packed full of things you need to do, right? Yeah, ours are, too. Still, now is a great time to save some money and put aside some things for the future – you know, that time when you may not be able to celebrate the holidays as you’re able to this year. In times of crisis, being able to maintain some degree of normalcy and tradition can go a long way to healing your spirit, and prepping this year could help you maintain that sense of normalcy in years to come.
Our holiday prepping ideas include suggestions to increase your general emergency preparedness as well as holiday-specific preparedness.
- You know the rule – store what you eat and eat what you store. Well, the holidays are a time of “special foods.” That means storing medium to long-term items that will help you make or at least approximate your special foods. Are you a fan of fruitcakes? Phil is. Properly stored they can last a very long time. (Google how to store them properly.) What other foods are on your holiday table that can be stored? Now’s a great time to think about it and begin to purchase those items as part of your long-term food storage plan
- Experiment with recipes that use your food that is stored (both medium and long-term) to approximate your holiday faves. How about cheesy potatoes? That’s always on our table at Christmas, so this week I’m going to experiment with recreating the recipe using the medium-term storage potato pearls that we bought from an LDS Cannery. (The Mormon church graciously allows non-church members to buy from their canneries. It is the most cost-effective source of long-term storage food you can find anywhere. Click here for a list of U.S. cannery locations.) Of course this is a task you can put off until January if you’re slammed over the holidays.
- Make holiday meals-in-jars from your own recipes and long-term food storage supplies.
- Thanksgiving and Christmas are when baking supplies are on sale everywhere. Buy all the sugar, flour, spices and other baking ingredients you’ll need for the coming year (and perhaps beyond).
Holiday Decorations and Gifts
Assuming you’re in a “bug in” situation, most of the holiday decorations you’ve accumulated over the years can be used in more sparse times. Perhaps not all the electrical decorations, but there are probably plenty of items that will help you experience the traditional Christmas season. Here are some items you might consider storing:
- If you’re a “live tree” kind of family, you might consider buying a fake one after Christmas, when they all go on sale. We’ve found that a reasonably priced 4-foot tree placed on a draped card table fills the space of a large Christmas tree nicely with plenty of room for decorations and presents underneath it. If you can’t spare the money or simply aren’t able to get a real tree, these come in mighty handy, and when it comes time to pack it away it takes very little space.
- Consider purchasing and storing small gifts for each person in your family. You can buy them before or after Christmas – whenever you think they’ll be available at the best price. Then store them away. If something happens between this Christmas and next, you’ll have something special to give.
- Buy some extra gifts to share with others who didn’t plan ahead. What a blessing to be able to make someone else’s Christmas special during a difficult time! It will make your Christmas more special, too.
- Some emergency preparedness items go on sale during this time. Do you need a dehydrator to help with preserving food from your garden or food you purchase in bulk? How about a pressure canner? Or a vacuum sealer? Now’s a great time to buy them. The Christmas season is also the best time to buy tools. They may or may not be manual tools that you’ll use during a catastrophic event, but you can use them in preparing for that time. For example, we want to build a cold frame to extend our gardening season into the fall and winter months. We’ll need a couple of tools that we don’t currently have, so now is a great time for us to buy them.
- Extra blankets and warm clothes are also on our “need to buy” list. Christmas — and after-Christmas sales — can be a great time to do that.
- Check out the sales at your favorite sporting goods store. What items are on your “preparedness wish list”? You might find fishing gear, hand guns and accessories, camping supplies, cast iron cookware, knives and hunting gear on sale. I was surprised to find that wood stoves are even on sale. Hmmm…time to decide what we’ll splurge on!
You can make these purchases as part of your regular preparedness plan or…save more money by asking for them for Christmas or making them your gift to other family members. Don’t be shy about putting preparedness items on your gift list – for yourself and others. For example, Phil’s been wanting a specific knife. He just might find it under our tree.
Buying things you need when they’re on sale enables you to buy more…and that means being more prepared.