Help! The Holidays Are Coming

Ever notice how you start to feel a little sick to your stomach around early the middle of October?  There is a good reason why.

Around the holidays, three situations often collide:

  • Increased responsibilities
  • A tight time frame in which to accomplish them
  • Uncertainty about how to proceed

In many ways, the holidays are a part time job we all have in the months of November and December. The key to a smooth holiday season, therefore, involves having a thorough understanding of what we need to do, working in advance to minimize the time crunch, and having clear strategies for accomplishing all that must get done. So here is The Big Holiday List, organized by when you need to have completed each item. Feel free to print this out and hang it on the inside of a cabinet door to keep yourself on track.
Planning for the holidays


Completed by the end of October:

(note: Maximizing your productivity in October is the key to a smooth holiday season. While some items do not need to be completed this month, any time you can check an item off “early” will be very beneficial.)

Travel Planning

  • Decide on travel plans
  • Purchase tickets (if necessary)
  • Make hotel reservations (if necessary)
  • Arrange for house sitting (if applicable)
  • Arrange for pet boarding (if applicable)
  • Arrange for airport transportation (if applicable)


Completed by Early November:

Holiday Cards*

  • Design/select card
  • Order cards


  • Plan date(s)


Completed by Mid November:


  • Polish silver
  • Arrange for suppliers (if applicable, e.g. caterer)

Parties/Concerts/Special Events

  • Plan calendar/set dates
  • Purchase tickets (if applicable)
  • Buy hostess gifts
  • Schedule babysitter (if applicable)


Completed by Late November:


  • Purchase
  • Wrap and box gifts being shipped

Holiday Cards

  • Sign cards
  • Compose letter (If applicable)
  • Buy postage


  • Plan menu(s)***
  • Send out invitations
  • Plan wardrobe for each event


Completed by Early December:


  • Centerpieces (depending upon schedule, can be Mid/Late December)
  • Purchase/set up Tree
  • Trim Tree
  • Indoor decorations
  • Holiday dishes (if applicable)
  • Indoor lighting (e.g window candles)
  • Outdoor lighting


  • Prepare Food (depending upon schedule, can be Mid/Late December)
  • Plan wardrobe by event

Holiday Cards

  • Address envelopes
  • Stamp envelopes


  • Ship (International)
  • Wrap any remaining gifts


Completed by Mid December:


  • Clean house
  • Prepare Food


  • Plan/Pack


  • Wrap gifts to be hand delivered
  • Ship (Domestic)


  • Baking (if applicable)
  • Craft Projects


* Plan both personal and professional greetings, if applicable

** Plan for:

→ Work Associates, as applicable

→ Service providers/teachers/bus drivers/etc.

→ Family

→ Friends

→ Host/Hostesses

→ Charities

*** Keep a computer file of every menu you plan for future reference


    *     *     *     *     *

Getting ready for the holidays can be exhausting, but keeping on track can help ease the stress and allow you to enjoy the season.

What tip do you have for organizing during the holidays?

Seana's Signature

13 thoughts on “Help! The Holidays Are Coming”

    1. I think I’d buy gifts for Christmas 2014 if I could! I so agree, Janet. Adding time just decompresses everything:)

  1. Great list of tasks for the holiday season. I teach many workshops on this topic – and I totally agree . . . the key is to focus on OCTOBER! Many times, my workshops are booked for (and highly attended in) December, and it’s to late to make any substantial change then. But, I encourage the attendees to create their action steps, and a master calendar for NEXT year – and to start in OCTOBER! 🙂

    1. Timing is everything, isn’t it Lisa? But the sooner the better – and as you say, they can always make a change for next year!

  2. Excellent plan, Seana! I love the idea of saving as computer files where appropriately. We do this with our vacation lists and they are so easy to use now. Every year or so we add or drop a few things from the list but it’s so much easy and less stressful than trying to remember everything!

  3. Pingback: Ellen's Blog Holiday Time Line - Ellen's Blog

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