Christmas is only 13 weeks away. From tomorrow. What!?! 13 weeks! While this may send some of you into a panic, never fear, I’ve got a plan for you! Whether it’s Christmas you’re celebrating, Hanukkah (starting the first week of December this year), or Thanksgiving (eight weeks away for American Thanksgiving or about a month away for my Canadian readers), you’ll be on the right track if you get started planning now so that you can actually enjoy the holidays and not stress out the whole season. (And even if you don’t celebrate any of these holidays, as I know I have many international readers who perhaps observe other holidays or at least not Thanksgiving, read on as you’ll no doubt find a few helpful things to follow).
Several years ago I discovered the site Organized Home and its sister site Organized Christmas (not just all about Christmas despite the name!). After my daughter’s first Christmas had come and gone I went searching for a solution that would help me feel more organized when the holidays came around so I could actually enjoy those special times with my family and not be stressed out with a seemingly endless to-do list. Add to that a birthday just days before Christmas, I needed a way to make those moments a bit more special and not lose my mind in the process!
Over those years I developed a Christmas Countdown Notebook. I think we all will have a continual list of “to-dos” but at least now I feel like I’m a little more prepared. The site has tons of free printables to help you get started on a six-week program to get your home ready for the holidays. For a more intensive plan (that includes cleaning and organizing around the home too), the Holiday Grand Plan may be the way to go for you.
As you can see, my notebook is nothing too fancy. It’s just a three-ring binder with dividers and page protectors or pages with three holes punched in them.
Stocking my freezer with meals ready to go was one of the first changes I made. The following year, a better plan to make more holiday cookies. The next year, finding recipes for food gifts to give to teachers, neighbors and as hostess gifts (my favorite are these gourmet nuts—soooo easy and everyone loves them!). Another year, hosting a cookie exchange was on my to-do list. Yep, you don’t have to do it all in one year but you gotta start somewhere, right? Of course, you don’t need to do any of it, but if you want to do some of it, planning ahead is the way to go.
I’ve got different tabbed sections to help me find what I need when I need it.
Besides the food related planning the notebook has given me, it also has helped me develop a way to make sure we have the right kind of shoes for everyone on Christmas Eve (ok, that didn’t actually happen, but I did almost have a near miss by not having dress shoes that fit my son for the annual photo I have taken of the kids for the holidays! Holiday Wardrobe Planner to the rescue!)
Is my system perfect? No. But do I feel like I’ve got a little more of plan for those things I want to do with and for my family and friends. You bet. I hope you’ve been inspired to get started planning for your holidays too now when things aren’t quite as hectic and you can take your time doing a little at time. Check back for some of the forms that I’ve tweaked a bit and made my own…you may find you’d like them too (right now, I’m having some technical issues getting them uploaded to the blog so hopefully soon!)
Enjoy and happy holidays! 🙂