GAH! Has December crept up on you without notice, and suddenly you’ve realized how little time you have to prepare for the holidays? Join the club! You’re not the only one, so here is a handy list to help you create a schedule without forgetting anything for the holiday season and keep the seasonal panic at a minimum.
First, confirm the date and time of your big holiday celebration, who is hosting and who will be attending. Now make your lists!
One for food and drinks you’ll need, one for gifts you have to buy, one for stocking stuffers you’ll need, if any, and finally, one for all the tasks you need to complete and by what date.
Things like cleaning your home, putting up decorations, attending any parties you’ve been invited to, getting Santa pics with your kids and spending some volunteer time at the local homeless shelter all need to be accounted for on your schedule.
December Week 1:
This is a no-brainer — get your gift and stocking stuffer shopping done as early as possible. Try to have it done before December, if you can, but if you’re here and it’s early December, get thyself to a computer immediately and shop!
Most online stores guarantee delivery by the week before Christmas if you start now. It’s always worth the extra fee to have items gift-wrapped and delivered to a nearby family member or good friend so your kids don’t see the box from their favourite toy store when it arrives. Buy your kids’ fancy outfits this week and trot them off to the mall to sit with Santa for a photo opp before all the last-minute parents queue up.
If your tree and decorations aren’t up, this is the week to do so, or to partake in that tree-chopping family afternoon you enjoy every year.
December Week 2:
Divide your food and beverage list into perishable and non-perishable items, and cross off the non-perishable ones this week with a big shop. Hide all the treats from your family, making sure you buy a few extra for yourself to nibble as rewards. Don’t forget to pick up any ingredients you’ll need for holiday baking! This is also a great week to spend an evening volunteering.
Send out a mass holiday greeting email using that adorable Santa pic you wisely obtained last week, and give your house a deep cleaning for the party you’re hosting this weekend.
Make your appetizers or confirm the catering you ordered, and ensure your bar cart is well-stocked. Buy your turkey, if you use a frozen one – they’re usually on sale this week!
December Week 3:
Family time! Wrap presents and do that Christmas baking as a family. Make sure your good dishes and silverware are sparkling, and your special table linens are fresh. Pick up your table centrepiece or create one yourself.
Confirm who is attending, if you’re the host, and ensure they know what time to arrive. Make a list of things your guests have committed to bringing so you don’t have to worry about those.
Take your kids shopping to pick out a few new, unwrapped toys to donate at your local fire or police department for families in need, and don’t forget to donate and help out at the local food bank. Kids should know the season is also about giving; not just getting.
December Final Days:
Shop for the perishable items you still need from your food and drink list. Time for another deep house cleaning! Set your Christmas table and make sure you have a great holiday playlist of music for the big day. Collect any gifts you had delivered elsewhere and hide them in your home, but make a note to yourself where they are in case you forget!
Make sure your fur family has something special to enjoy as a gift while everyone else is unwrapping presents. Charge the battery in your camera, and then re-charge your own battery with a couple hours to yourself at the spa or just soaking in a quiet bath at home while your partner takes the kids last-minute shopping for your gift.
Take some deep breaths that you avoided the panic and pat yourself on the back for getting it all done on schedule without forgetting anything! Enjoy your holiday celebration!