As the festive season draws near it is prudent to start getting organized for the activities that often take place. Early preparation is key to having more fun and avoiding mistakes that may lead to stressful episodes during the occasion. The best way to get organized is through an elaborate Christmas countdown checklist.
1. Before October
Consult family and friends – This is the time for you to get in touch with various family members and agree on how you are going to spend the festive season. Take everyone’s opinion into consideration because it will help you make more informed decisions. Consider talking to your friends if you are planning to spend some time together.
Make reservations – If you are going for a vacation in a different destination, it may be prudent to make hotel reservations or book airplane tickets in advance. This will help you get discounts and possibly save a lot of cash.
2. Starting in October
Create a calendar – as you find out relevant dates regarding activities such as school pageants and closing dates enter them into a calendar. Keep the calendar in an easily accessible area so you can refer to it whenever you are making newer plans.
Update cards – Go through your holiday cards and update them accordingly depending on any rearrangements that may have occurred.
Go shopping for cards and wrapping paper – Select stores put up cards and wrapping papers on sale as early as Halloween and this gives you a good opportunity to get some of the best bargains on ideal products.
Consider overnight plans – If you expect to get overnight guests, it may be prudent to make plans for them at this time. This may mean getting more towels, new sheets and blankets to ensure comfort and convenience.
Start baking – Start preparing any meals that can be kept under refrigeration without any risk of spoiling. Nut breads, cookies and bars are a few examples of things you can bake early so as to free up time when the festivities get closer.
3. Starting in November
Create a master gift list – At this time it may be wise to make a list of all the gifts you may have to get for your loved ones. Write names of loved ones alongside the most ideal gifts you have in mind. This master gift list is subject to change but ensures you never forget anyone while you are shopping for gifts.
Create a budget – Spending without knowing your limits may easily land you into financial problems before or after the festive season. It is a good idea to formulate a budget that will help govern your spending.
Start shopping – Do not wait until the last two weeks to start shopping as the needs may overwhelm you. Start picking up anything that may be important at this time so as to free up your time and schedule in the future.
4. Four weeks before Christmas
Shop online – If you are planning on purchasing anything online this is the ideal time to do so as it allows time for shipping and you’ll find many discounts offered from retailers especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Start wrapping gifts – At this stage everyone is obviously starting to get curious about their gift which is why you should wrap them up to avoid spoiling the surprise.
Start addressing cards – It is a good idea to start addressing cards at this stage especially if you have a long list of people to send cards to. This envelope stencil from The Lettermate has been a lifesaver for me. I bought mine from the Grommet but you can also find it on Amazon.
Consider glasses and dishes – The festive season may see an influx of friends and relatives to your house and the last thing you want is to have too few utensils. Take a quick stock of your utensils and determine if it may be prudent to buy more.
Take stock of decorations – Some of the decorations you need to take stock of include ornaments, lights, wreaths and lawn ornament. Find out if anything is broken or needs to be updated. You can add to the stock if it seems less than ideal.
5. Three weeks before Christmas
Send cards – This is an ideal time to start sending Christmas cards to friends and relatives. If you have a busy schedule at this time you can as well put off this exercise and do it soon after the holiday rush.
Start decorating – Just to get everyone in the mood for the festive season start putting up all your decorations. This will allow you to find out if anything is missing and get it on time.
Buy a live tree – This is the right time for you to go shopping for a fresh Christmas tree. Consider buying fresh greenery or garlands while at it.
Go over menus – Go through your menus and finalize everything so as to be fully prepared.
Order your turkey, chicken or ham – If your centerpiece is a turkey, chicken or ham, make sure you make your order at this stage.
6. Two weeks before Christmas
Ensure mails are sent – Gifts or cards that are likely to end up out of town should all be sent by the 10th of December. This allows enough time for them to get to their destination.
Shop for non-perishables – Alcohol, canned products or pantry staples are some of the things you need to buy at this point.
7. A week before Christmas
Perform thorough cleaning – Your decorations will look even better when the house is clean and the rooms are well organized. Get rid of any items that may be cluttering space and wash the windows to allow for better view. Make room in the refrigerator for bigger dishes and important ingredients. Thorough cleaning will ensure your home does not have any bad odors and that drainage systems in the compound are working in an optimal manner.
Check children’s toys – If some of your guests will be kids, it is wise to organize some toys for them. Buy new batteries for the toys and ensure they are age appropriate.
8. Three days before
Get fresh ingredients – This is the right time to go shopping for fresh ingredients. Onions, fruits, garlic, pepper, and onions are some of the things you should buy at this point.
Set the table – Set the table in the dining room or wherever you will have the family gathering. Arrange the chairs and any other accessories necessary for a successful event.
9. Two days before
Start cooking – Prep main courses and remove frozen dishes from the refrigerator. Start cooking anything that can stay good over two days.
10. A day before
Finish up wrapping – If you bought any last minute gifts, this is the time to wrap them up and keep them safely. Finish cooking and prepare a schedule for Christmas day.
Recharge Batteries – The last thing you want is to miss any happy moments during family gatherings. Recharge batteries you will use in your digital camera or video recorder. Check that your audio and video systems are working.
Click image to download the FREE Christmas Countdown Checklist printable.
Don’t be caught up in your arrangements that you forget to enjoy every moment you spend with loved ones. Pay close attention to everyone and have fun.