The secret to a smooth holiday season is starting early…. as in starting now, in October. This may seem ridiculous, but by knocking off some of the time-insensitive tasks, you can significantly lessen the stress that November and December can bring. To get a jumpstart, use the next couple of weeks to:
Discuss holiday plans
- Decide if you will host any parties, and if so when?
- Decide if you will attend any special events (concerts, shows, performances, etc.)
- Buy any required tickets.
- Reserve babysitting for high-demand December weekends.
Nail down travel details
- Decide if you will be traveling or if anyone will be coming to you.
- Purchase any necessary tickets (train, plane…)
- Make necessary reservations (hotel, pet boarding, rental car, airport transport….)
- Purchase hostess gifts now to be delivered at the appropriate time (most websites let you pick when you would like gifts delivered.)
- Request/communicate special dietary needs to help with meal planning.
Complete Holiday Greeting Cards
- Decide on a card design.
- Finalize your card list and update addresses.
- Order the appropriate number of cards and envelopes.
- Write any personal notes or a family letter.
- Address envelopes (by hand, print envelopes from the computer, or print labels.)
- Buy stamps. (If you like holiday stamps, you can pre-order online at usps.com; they typically ship the 3rd week of October.)
- Stock up on wine and spirits.
- If you bake or give food gifts, start buying supplies (flour, sugar, butter, chocolate, etc.)
- If you are hosting, begin making lists for items you will serve and ingredients you will need.
- Prepare anything that you can freeze (easy go-to dinners, pie crusts, cookies, stock, etc.)
Get Ahead on Gifts
- Make a list of everyone to whom you will be giving gifts (friends, family, teachers, service providers, work associates, charities, etc.)
- Decide what you will be giving to each recipient (gift cards, cash, specific items)
- Watch for sales, look online, and take advantage of the slow pre-season retail time.
- Check your stash of wrapping supplies and supplement as needed (paper, tape, boxes, bows, ribbon.)
- Wrap items and label gifts as you bring them in and put in a designated holding area.
Prepare Your Home
- If you are hosting overnight guests, begin thinking about who will sleep where. Make sure to have sufficient clean bedding, towels, etc.
- Polish any silver you will be using.
- De-clutter and make space for holiday decorations (sort any stacks of paperwork, get rid of old magazines, give away unwanted clothing, clear off shelves, etc.)
- Sort through toys and make space for any new items that might come in.
- Give your house a thorough cleaning.
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The holiday season should be enjoyed. While there is no eliminating the “hustle and bustle,” checking items off your list early is the best way to ensure a happy holiday.
What ideas do you have for getting a jump on the holidays?