It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is creeping up just around the corner and for those of you who would prefer to keep your head from exploding, this stress-free holiday countdown is exactly what you need. Getting a head start on the holidays will make the time you have so much more enjoyable, why not jump start some organization!?
- Sit down with your family (or pull up a skype call) and decide where the family will be spending the holidays.
- If you are the one flying, be sure to buy your tickets soon.
Plan some more.
- As soon as you find out scheduled events, be sure to mark them in your calendar.
- If you’re using your smart phone’s handy dandy calendar, you can also use it to set reminders associated with events. If you need to prepare something (like a costume for your little one’s holiday choir recital) you don’t want to forget an important deadline.
Bake & freeze.
- Un-iced cookies, bars, and nut breads are goodies to freeze and store for your holiday sugar stock. If you’re suddenly invited to a last minute holiday potluck or a friend suddenly stops by with a gift, you won’t be left empty-handed.
Update your Address Book
- If you haven’t already, sign up for your free Postable address book and collect your family and friends’ mailing addresses easily by sending them a link to fill out. It’s simple, easy and free.
- If you already have a Postable address book, just be sure to send out those ‘Freshen Contact’ emails from your address book to make sure everything is up to date.
Get the best selection.
- Some stores will start pulling out the holiday goods well before Halloween. Start your holiday décor early to get the largest selection.
Schedule Holiday cards to be sent out.
- If you’re thinking of getting those holiday cards well out of the way and your address book is ready to go, you can schedule them now. Customize your holiday cards on Postable now and set them to get mailed out directly to the recipients in December. This way you don’t have to think about them again until you start getting those ‘we love your cards!’ phone calls!
Plan for visitors.
- Do you have relatives coming to stay with you? Now is the time to prep your home for their arrival. Need new or more sheets? How about new towels. Now is the time.
Plan for ME-time.
- Before the holidays are officially off the ground and your schedule begins to look more like a to-do list, be sure you plan some relaxing me time. Whether it’s just a couple of hours or an entire day, if you plan on getting out of the holiday season alive you’re going to want to do this.
- Make arrangements now that you will be reluctant to get out of later. Schedule a massage or a spa treatment or buy advance tickets to an afternoon movie.
- The holidays can wreak havoc on your body. Between the stress, endless sugar intake, and booze after booze after booze it’s a miracle we ever make it out alive. Before things really get rumbling, take a step back and make a plan for yourself. Start some healthy habits now that you can take with you through the holiday season. Drink lots of water whenever you can and be sure to get plenty of sleep.
- Why wait until January to join that gym. Sign up now and make it a point to go at least once (or more) a week. This will make your transition to your new years resolution much easier and will make eating all those homemade cookies that much better.
Beginning of November
Plan out your holiday gift-buys.
- Make a list of everyone you’ll need to get gifts for and jot down what type of things they like. This way you can shop as you go. Last minute holiday shopping should be avoided at all costs.
- Stock up on a few items that would make just about anyone happy. You never know when you’ll get that last minute invite or an unexpected guest. Locally made jars of jam are a sweet treat for everyone!
Budget your gift-giving.
- Set a budget for yourself so you don’t end up going overboard. Even if this number is just an estimate, it will help you stay within boundaries and still have some money left for those unexpected holiday gifts.
- You should be steadily picking things up here and there. If you’ve got some big ticket items on your list like electronics, waiting until Black Friday may be your best bet to save.
Directly After Thanksgiving
- If you plan on ordering gifts online, now is the time. This way you still have time to gift wrap. Christmas eve should be spent enjoying the evening with your family, not secretly stowed away wrapping gifts.
Holiday Décor Inventory.
- Get those lights and ornaments out of the storage closet. See if anything is broken, ripped, or otherwise outdated and make a list of things that need to be replaced. Don’t wait too long to buy new items.
Holiday dinner inventory.
- Are you hosting a dinner party or two? Make sure you have the serving platters, wineglasses, giant bowls etc. to serve everything you’ve planned.
- Put gratuities in their own personal cards. You can order a box of blank cards to keep around just in case something like this pops up.
First Week of December
Send those holiday cards.
- Your address book is updated, now for the fun part! Don’t spend endless hours writing out addresses, stuffing envelopes, and licking stamps. Postable will do all that un-fun stuff for you. All you have to do is customize one of beautiful holiday card designs, choose your recipients from your very own address book and click send. Postable will print and mail the cards for you!
Get a live tree.
- If you’d like to keep your Christmas tree fresh through Christmas now is the time.
- Consider a smaller living tree. A full-sized tree may seem brilliant, but don’t underestimate the little ones. Small potted evergreen trees add the perfect delightful touch to those smaller spaces. Rotate the trees through the month so that they get plenty of light. When the holidays have passed, you can plan them outdoors.
- Now that you’ve replaced your old décor and hit the shops early, it’s time to put it all up. Make your home festive!
Plan the meal.
- If you’re serving the holiday meal (or any large holiday get together) now is the time to start planning. Know what you’ll be cooking and what others will be contributing. Make a large list of groceries you’ll need.
2nd Week of December
Mail the gifts.
- If possible, you should try to mail all of your gifts by Dec. 10th.
Wrap the gifts.
- For the gifts that will be sticking around your home for the holidays, it’s time to get the wrapping out of the way. You can wrap the boxes, but add ribbons, bows, and tags later. Use sticky notes to tag the gifts so you won’t forget who gets what. Boxes without all the frills on them are easily stackable.
- Buy all the alcohol as well as the pantry and baking staples you’ll need.
One Week before
- All that hard work you’ve put into decorating your home will have a much bigger effect if the floors are clean. Take some time to tidy up and don’t forget to clear out your refrigerator. Get rid of old leftovers and make space for all the booze that your guests will be bringing.
Chill the booze.
- You never know when that spontaneous holiday get together will commence. Keep a couple bottles of Champagne chilled and ready to rumble.
3 Days before
Last minute grocery shopping.
- Get all the veggies and fruit that you’ll need. Consult that master grocery list you made the first week of December.
Pre-set the table.
- If you’re planning on serving a large holiday party, go ahead and set the table now. This way you’re not rushing around the dining table while your potatoes are boiling over.
2 Days before
- You’ve already stocked up the freezer with a few things here and there, but now is the time to prepare the main courses that can sit out for a couple days.
- Buy some fresh flowers 2 days in advance to let the blooms have time to open.
The Day Before
Be Santa’s Little Helper.
- Assemble the toys that will be surprises from Santa
- Figure out when you plan to eat and count backwards so you’ll know when you need to place the turkey (or what-have-you) in the oven. Use this also as a guideline to plan out when to cook what since you’re likely limited to one stove. Plan accordingly.
Take a second.
- It’s the holidays!! Take a second to breathe and relish the time spent with your family.