“Chance favors the prepared mind.”
It’s really a daunting task when Christmas is fast approaching and you’re still stressed out on what to prepare for that day. Gifts haven’t been bought or gift wrapped, Christmas holiday cards haven’t been sent yet. There are so many things you wanted to do.
On my blog post, I will share with you some head weekly plans you can use to prepare for Christmas. You can also formulate this on other holidays next year (say, thanksgiving)!
First up, let go of the idea of a “perfect” holiday. “If you want a perfectly decorated home, perfect meals and perfect gifts wrapped in perfect gift wrap, you’ll find yourself perfectly stressed out come January,” warns Aby Garvey, the organizing and productivity expert at Simplify 101. Instead of striving for perfection this year, she suggests striving for good (and happy).
Week 1: Make Lists and Time for Yourself
1. You can ask older, tech-savvy kids to set up online wish lists, like wedding registries. It can be just a simple excel or google sheets list or you can utilize Amazon which offers a universal wish list, meaning a person can “wish” for something from any website, and all of the wishes will appear in one place.
2. Create a spread sheet where you can add the names and addresses of the people you want to send holiday post cards. Add a date as to when you want them to be sent out.
3. During this week buy holiday cards, stamps and gift-wrapping supplies.
4. Schedule activities or “me” time on your calendar. Make it non-negotiable so you are obligated to do it. It can be something that you wanted to do for a very long time. Like learning a new language etc.
Week 2: Budget and Organize
1. Write your gift list and determine your budget. If you shop without either, you risk overbuying (say, getting way more for one child than another) and overspending.
2. Write and send a third of your holiday cards.
3. Sort through your Christmas holiday decorations. Replace burnt-out light bulbs and save only the ornaments you cherish. The smaller your collection, the less you’ll have to pack and store at the end of the year. Donate extras to charity, and supplement what’s left with fresh greenery, which can be recycled.
4. Pick up a few just-in-case gifts —scented candles, bottles of wine—to offer a party hostess or a neighbor who drops by with an unexpected present.
Week 3: Wrapping and Menu Planning
1. Set up a wrapping station, and wrap gifts as you buy them.
2. Try to tackle half of your gift list this week. Shop after work, when stores are less busy.
3. Write and send a third of your holiday cards.
4. To make your Christmas holiday a breeze, plan your Christmas and Christmas Eve menus. Avoid repeat trips to the supermarket by writing a master grocery list.
5. Order your ham or turkey from your supermarket’s meat counter or a specialty shop.
6. Take stock of your pantry and baking staples. Add flour, oil, spices and such to your grocery list as needed.
Week 4: Finish Shopping and Decorate
1. Shop for nonperishable grocery items early this week.
2. Finish your gift shopping. If you plan to shop for gifts online, do so early this week to avoid rush-shipping charges and ensure on-time delivery.
3. Mail gifts to out-of-town friends and family members.
4. Write and send your remaining holiday cards.
5. Hang inside decorations.
6. Buy and trim your tree this weekend.
Week 5: Clean and Prepare
1. Finish wrapping your gifts.
2. Hang outside decorations.
3. Make sure your bar is well-stocked. Don’t forget mixers and garnishes.
4. Clean half of your home, focusing on low-traffic areas.
5. Give gifts to babysitters (one night’s pay), newspaper carriers (up to $30) and other helpers in your life. Put the money in a personalized greeting card.
6. Take platters and serving dishes out of storage and clean them, as needed. Use a sticky note to identify which food goes into the serving dish.
Week 6: Final Preparations
1. Wash and iron table linens, then set the dining room table a few days in advance.
2. Shop for perishables for your holiday meals.
3. Finish cleaning your home, leaving heavily trafficked rooms for last.
4. Prepare make-ahead dishes as far in advance as possible.
5. Accept help! It’s a season of giving and if someone offers help, accept it.
Original Article: Woman’s Day
Elaine Fernando is a Professional Organizer, a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and a member of APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers). Elaine may be reached at 908-630-8995 or firstname.lastname@example.org