Christmas is coming. It is approaching us in small steps, but you can already smell the scent of gingerbread cookies. I know, it is still almost 2 months ahead, but time will pass in a blink of an eye. You will see.
Every year I say the same to myself: “I will do everything in advance and not in the last week”, but in reality I am always doing all the preparations last week, last day, last night before Christmas and packing last presents on the night of Christmas Eve. Every year instead of enjoying the season in its full swing I feel so stressed, and after packing the last presents on the night before the Christmas, instead of drinking a cup of hot cacao on Christmas morning when the kids wake us up at 5am, as they are too curious to check if Santa was there, I feel so deprived of sleep and take so little interest in what is happening around the Christmas tree. I suppose, I am missing a big part of this special season. Have you ever felt the same?
This year I will challenge myself – to prepare for Christmas in advance. I promised myself no more excuses, I need to enjoy that season and make the most of it, not letting seasonal chores all packed in a couple of days before the main day ruin that magic. The only way to make this happen is to make a plan and to stick to it.
Would you like to accept this challenge?
Some people plan for Christmas already in summer, but I find this is too early and it does not correspond with the spirit of the moment. I think November is the best time to start thinking about Christmas and it is already here, so let’s do our planning.
I made my plan having weeks in my mind. I think this way you have enough days to concentrate on the task and accomplish it. Let’s look in to my calendar:
November 5 – 11 (7 weeks to Christmas) Make the holiday plan
- The project of this week is to plan and schedule as much as possible. We sat down with our family and decided:
- how we will be spending our holidays
- which people we would like to see
- which ones we would like to host
- which ones we would like to visit
- where we will spend Christmas Eve
- where we will spend Christmas
- where we will spend New Year
- which places we would like to visit
- According to the plans you make, arrange travel tickets, bookings and reservations, you can even make invitations for the events you are going to host. Better earlier than later.
- Put all the plans and activities on a calendar. I took some sticky notes and dedicated one sticky note to each week indicating tasks that I should accomplish by the end of the week. Do not forget to write events, parties and other important days that are already scheduled by the school, friends, work community for a particular day as well. In time you will add more of them, something will be canceled or changed, but it is very helpful to have your December plan at a glance, even if it is going to have slight changes later.
November 12 – 18 (6 weeks to Christmas) Make the gift list and shop online
Make a list of everyone you would like to give gifts to and think of what they would like to get. Include small gifts for the advent calendar and stocking fillers as well. The more you plan, the easier it is going to be not to be lost in the shopping “storm”. You may not have every detail or small present listed in the gift list, but having it helps not to forget everyone who is important to you.
It is a good time to ask your kids to write a letter to Santa with their wish lists, so that you could consider those wishes as a possible option as well.
Check for online shopping possibilities, these are cheaper and more convenient sometimes, and if you decide to buy something online, buy it now to have enough time for the things to be shipped to your place.
November 19 – 25 (5 weeks to Christmas) Start live Christmas shopping
Dedicate a couple of days for browsing the shelves of traditional shops. Buy everything what you have planned.
Shop for cards and wrapping paper as well.
November 26 – December 2 (4 weeks to Christmas) Check Christmas decorations and decorate
Check your decorations, lights, ornaments, wreaths. See if anything is broken, needs replacement. Buy batteries for decorations that are operated by them. Check Christmas decoration ideas on Pinterest and buy something if the update is needed.
Like last year, Elf on the shelf is going to arrive at our house on the 1st of December this year. So I will need to make a plan for his appearance as well (you can check lives of our elves last year here). If you have some special tradition for the month of December, do not forget to organize it as well.
At the end of the week, ideally on the 1st of December, decorate the house. It’s time to get the house looking festive.
In fact, I have made some preparation for this already. This year I was fast as I have never been and ordered a live Christmas tree online to be delivered on the day I want. We will see if this is going to be a clever move or not.
December 3 – 9 (3 weeks to Christmas) Wrap gifs and make menus for the events you are hosting
As all the presents should be organized by then, wrap them up and forget in a safe place.
Check books, magazines, your cooking journals and Pinterest for the festive dishes. Check with your guests what they are going to bring to your house and decide what you are going to cook for taking to others.
Finalize menus and start master holiday grocery list.
Order turkey, ham or another centerpiece of your holiday meal. It might be hard to get this during the Christmas rush.
December 10 – 16 (2 weeks to Christmas) Shop for nonperishable items
Buy pantry staples and canned goods. This will save lots of time during that crazy shopping just before Christmas.
Buy all sorts of batteries to be ready for the battery-operated kids’ Christmas gifts. It is so frustrating when you cannot try your presents right away, and we all know that Santa tends to forget to include batteries in his gifts.
December 17 – 23 (one week to Christmas)
Ideally, there should not be any chores left to do this week. Let’s admit, Christmas is not only on the 25th of December, and the last week before this date is usually packed with celebrations and get together parties. But if you did everything by this day according to the plan, there should be only 5 important things left not be missed and to be focused on:
- Shop for fresh ingredients for the festive period. Try to do it in the first half of the day, as afternoons and evenings are usually totally crazy. Do not forget fresh flowers. Blooms need to open up, so it is good to buy them a bit in advance, too.
- Charge batteries of your camera to be able to catch your little ones’ reactions when they find their gifts.
- Cook as much as you can in advance. I am not a fan of frozen food, personally I do not like the change of taste and structure that freezing and de frosting gives, that is why I do not do any preparations way ahead. But you can still do lots of preparation at least a couple of days in advance.
- Set the table. Invest some time in making it festive and enjoy it. You will be happy if you do not have to iron the table cloth the last minute before your guests arrive.
- Prepare your family’s festive outfits for all days needed in advance. The last thing you want to do on Christmas Eve is to turn your washing machine on.
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This is my plan. I am really determined to stick to it. Let’s see how it will go. If you have any good planning strategy, or you think I forgot something important, please let me know.
♥ Happy Christmas planning! ♥