Quick get some Thanksgiving into it! Decorate your home for Thanksgiving asap because November flies by doesn't it? .
Quick grab a sheet of paper. Make your lists of gift recipients, Christmas cards, menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, goodies to share or to give, favorite meals to prepare ahead, decorations needed, and gifts to make. I reuse my main gift giving list from last year and consult it to make sure I am giving something different to each person than what I did the last two years.
Develop and record ideas for gifts and decorations. PLAN and ask yourself the following questions:
* Do we put any emphasis on the spiritual side of holiday/Christmas? Can we improve that?
* What would our ideal holiday/Christmas be like? How can we make it so?
* What ongoing events or activities are particularly important to our family at this holiday? Do we go to The Nutcracker every year? See Santa? Go on a ski trip? Decorate the tree? Light a menorah? Write down what your traditions are and then FOCUS on giving them even more importance. Don't forget to take photos! :)
I even get out my holiday cards and mailing labels and start addressing and signing cards. I send a holiday letter so I don't write notes in the cards themselves. This allows me to get the envelopes ready to go and cards inside. All I have to do after that is write and tuck in my letter in a few weeks. Work ahead as much as you can...
Week #2 "Gather your Supplies and start Making Gifts Week" Nov 8-15th
After inventorying supplies on hand, purchase canned goods for holiday baking. Get any supplies needed for gift making. Don't forget the film, batteries, gift wrapping, and Christmas cards. After gathering all your Christmas gift wrap into one place, do you really need more? A friend of mine did this recently and found she didn't need to buy cards again for over ten years if she stuck to using her stash!! Wow.
Focus your energies on completing simple, useful gifts to be made, setting aside gifts that aren't coming together, and writing your holiday letter. Find family photos suitable for inclusion with holiday cards.Make sure you allow enough time for duplication of photos during this busy season.
Week #3 "Baking Week" - Nov 15-22nd
Set aside the time needed to complete holiday goodie making.Make lists of toys, books, and clothes that children would enjoy and keep the list handy for telling family members who ask what they would like. I also break out the collection of children's holiday books we already own so we can read them to the kids or visting children. After baking a family favorite, run down and scan the recipe and print it out for loved ones away from home. Send them a batch with the recipe attached.
Week #4 "Shopping and Charity Weeks" Nov 22nd-29th
Complete as much shopping ahead of time as possible. Take advantage of some of the sales before Thanksgiving! Check your Thanksgiving menus and Thanksgiving grocery list. Do you need to buy more supplies? We always seem to run out of whipped cream! Hit shops on Black Friday if you like to shop then. Focus on gift buyingfor prepared list. Wrap and label packages as you go. Set aside any needed shipping boxes.
Remember to be charitable too. Some donation centers take only new items for local kids --but others take both new and gently used items. Do a 27 thing fling for your local charity during the holiday prep and you will have a happier heart. Volunteer to ring bells for 30 minute shift for Salvation Army or serve one meal in a food bank.
Week #5 "Shopping and Mailing Week" - Nov 29-Dec 6
Nov 27th is Thanksgiving holiday in the
Finish up any shopping and gift making at home. Complete package wrapping for gifts to be shipped. Complete addressing and mailing of Christmas correspondence. All that work I did on my envelopes and cards from week one is now paying off in week 5 and 6.
Week 6 "Meal Making and Decorating Week" - Dec 6-13th
Prepare some favorite meals and other baked goods for the hectic days ahead. Pre-plan regular meals and make ahead simple stuff to freeze so you can have a few hours off on other days. Decorate your home. Enjoy the process. Get out some great beverages and snacks and celebrate the process as well as the end results. Involve children in memory making!
Week #7 "Final Shopping/Wrapping Week" - Dec 13-20
Complete last minute details around home. Learn to let it be also. When it is decorated adn done--stop. Enjoy holiday parties, concerts, and family activities. Don't keep going back to Target to see what else they have that is new in the holiday decor. STOP. And enjoy what you have.
Week #8 "Celebrate!" - Dec 20-27
Enjoy the Holidays with Family and Friends! Learn to listen to what they are really saying. Being festive doesn't mean being loud. If you love them, listen to them. Take time to drive the neighborhoods to enjoy holiday lighting displays. Enjoy family traditions and special meals. Don't invite stress. Plan ahead for tensions and then work tactfully to diffuse them.
Happy Holidays :)