We’re now in October and another month closer to Christmas. I’m going month by month helping you stay organized and preparing you to have an enjoyable holiday season. If you missed the September post you can check that out here. It’s the perfect time to be thinking ahead.
I am definitely a list maker, a follow my planner kind of girl. My calendar is very important in December and several weeks prior to the holidays I am usually carrying around some type of reminder for myself to keep me on track. This past Christmas I started plenty early on my decorating, shopping and wrapping. I’m so glad I did because I got really sick and was out of commission for a week. This month I’m traveling a couple of times and I’m having a surgery that will affect my progress for about 2 weeks so I’m glad I have a plan of action. No one likes to feel rushed especially around the holidays. I like to get the majority of my stuff done early so I can coast and enjoy December with my family.
My goal this year is to be present in the moment, enjoy family, say yes to family traditions, and say no to overscheduling other events. In order to keep these goals in mind, I have to do some things ahead of time to prepare. Maybe some of these can help you too.
If at all possible I like my kids and husband to give me their Christmas lists November 1st. I ask my immediate family to tell me things that are important to them as early as possible. First of all, if you have young kids the hot toy is usually sold out by Black Friday so you need to know this info early on anyway. Last year my son was into Supreme clothing and half of those were already sold out in October. So being ahead of the game is actually in your favor. This will give you a ton of time to shop for your immediate family. Then save late November for the stragglers that are harder to buy for and small things like stockings.
My Christmas cards were a little later last year due to when we got our portraits taken. Hopefully you already have the appointment set for your Christmas card and are working on clothing selections. If you use Minted, you can have your addresses done and saved as labels. Once you spend the initial time entering the addresses they keep them on file and you will always have them ready to go. This will save you a lot of time when you’re overwhelmed in December.
Send a family text with important dates so everyone is on the same page. Knowing in advance what you are expected to attend and how to dress for that event gets you mentally prepared (as my family calls it). If it’s in writing they can’t say they were not told.
Make all hair appointments and any other beauty treatments you need months in advance. If your hair salon is anything like mine it fills up fast especially near the holidays. You want to be looking your best for all your holiday parties and photos so this one is important.
Make any travel arrangements or other reservations that you may need to make if you haven’t already done so. This includes asking loved ones if you need to stay with them over the holidays. We always do a holiday breakfast at a hotel conference center every year. About 5 years ago, I waited until after Thanksgiving to make the reservations and they were completely booked. My family and I were so disappointed since we have done this since my kids were little. I will never do that again.
Clean up any clutter that has been bothering you. You don’t want to start bringing boxes and tubs out of storage while you have piles of stuff lying around your home. Take this month to really clean up and declutter. It will make your home feel and look so fresh. Then when you pull out your decor you will not have to also declutter at the same time. You can just do the creative, pretty stuff.
If you’re going to make any gifts go ahead and buy the materials and supplies. Homemade projects make perfect gifts for teachers and neighbors. Once you have the supplies, you can work on these when you have down time. Or you can set aside a large block of time to just knock these out and mark that off your list.
Make sure you have all items ready to entertain overnight guests. This is something that can be done well in advance. Wash up linens, stock toiletries, and put together a welcome basket. Then closer to the visit dust, clean the bathroom, and add fresh towels.
Go back over the September and October list and get your ideas together, because November is where it’s at. We work hard in November so we can party in December. I hope you feel like you are moving along and feeling productive. These items really help you progress month by month. Leave comments below and let us know if you think of other tips you’ve used to prepare for a stress-free Christmas.