There are less than six weeks left until Christmas. For the kids in your life, that seems like forever. For you, though, it doesn’t leave much time to get ready. Here are some suggestions to help you beat the holiday rush, starting now:
Five Weeks Out: Affix Postage Here
Greeting cards are a fun tradition for many families, and a chance for a more personal and tangible connection than a birthday reminder on Facebook. If you send out cards, now is the time to get everything ready. If you don’t already have a list of contacts, use some Address/Phone Tabs and create one that you can use year after year. Print out your photos, buy envelopes and postage, draft your yearly letter if that’s your thing, and set aside a night to get everything ready to mail. This will give your friends the chance to enjoy your season’s greeting during the season itself.
Four Weeks Out: Lock In Your Menu
From special dinners with family and friends to seasonal treats to ubiquitous chocolates, food takes center stage in many holiday traditions. Whether you’re planning on hosting a social gathering worthy of Martha Stewart or just attending a few smaller get-togethers, take the time to plan out your food contributions. Make a list of all the important meals you plan on serving this holiday season, and then list the ingredients you’ll need on a Menu Planner-Shopping List. As you’re out shopping for Thanksgiving, check for non-perishable or storable ingredients for your December meals, like cans of pumpkin, piecrusts, biscuit dough, or sale-priced turkeys for your deep freeze. You’ll still need to make shopping trips in December, but preparing now will help cut the time you spend on each trip.
Three Weeks Out: Get Things Wrapped
When you were a kid, you never knew that Santa was such a hard worker. It takes time and the right supplies to create a well-wrapped holiday gift, and choosing to take that time on Christmas Eve after your family festivities will likely see you wrapping into the wee hours of Christmas morning. Start the wrapping process this week with the gifts you’ve already purchased, and Santa can get some well-deserved shuteye on December 24.
Two Weeks Out: Remember Your Neighbors
Sharing a thoughtful gift with your neighbor is a great way to get in the spirit of the season. Some fun and thoughtful gifts include a box of tissues with a fun poem, or the traditional Hawaiian gift of a pineapple. As you plan out gifts for your neighbors, use the contact pages in your planner to set the scope of your gift list, and then write down a task on the day or days you plan on delivering. Then try to get these gifts out before the craziness of the last week of the holidays. You can also keep a couple of extras for the neighbors who aren’t on the list that stop by with a gift for you.
One Week Out: Enjoy
By December 20, you’ll have holiday cards displayed on your mantle, cookies smelling great in the oven, and everything wrapped and ready for Santa to come. Start with a plan, and you’ll have the mental space to enjoy the season with those you love.