Get ready for Christmas with our countdown of what to do each week. Start the countdown during the week of November 14 and focus on the task at hand each week. You'll feel less stressed and you'll avoid those last minute trips to the post office or department store.
To make sticking to the countdown easy for you, we made a calendar with all the reminders and helpful resources–click this link to add the Christmas Countdown calendar to your Working Mother Family Organizer.
Week 1 – Holiday Gifts
Inventory the gifts you’ve purchased throughout the year.
Create a gift list for each person you plan to make or buy gifts for. (Let the kids create their own wish lists–they love it!)
Sit down with your family and go through catalogs to discover what is first on their wish lists.
Don’t leave anyone off. You’ll cause stress if you have to make a last minute run for a gift for your child’s bus driver, the neighbor who passes out surprise gifts, or holiday party hosts. For ideas, check out these popular holiday teacher gifts, and these five special recipes that make terrific food gifts.
Begin shopping online and in stores whenever you have a moment to spare!
Week 2 – Holiday Cards
Although this is a completely optional part of the holidays, many people find it the perfect way to stay in touch with friends and loved ones both near and far away.
This week, choose a card or design, purchase materials and stamps, schedule a photo session (or a time to pick through the year's photos to choose a favorite), address envelopes, write an update on your family, and assemble the cards, and get them in the mail.
Keep in mind that nothing completes a holiday card like a personal note to each recipient.
Week 3 – Cleaning and Decorating
With Thanksgiving behind you, focus on cleaning, organizing and decorating the home in preparation for holiday get-togethers, family events and feasts with dearest friends, neighbors and family.
Get out all the decorations from the basement and attic. And be sure to pause with the kids to reminisce while you sort through memories from past holidays.
Vow not to put anything out until it has a dust‐free surface to rest. It is a good motivation for thoroughly cleaning your house in time for the holidays.
Week 4 – Holiday Party Planning
Whether it is a brunch, an afternoon tea, a cookie exchange, or an evening gala, many people find themselves hosting some type of holiday event.
This is the week to lay it all out on paper and begin to take action. Make guest lists, send invitations, create menus, schedule activities, and confirm details of your party calendar.
Use this week to stock up on hostess gifts for parties you attend as well.
Week 5 – Holiday Meal Planning
Spend time this week planning your menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well other holiday events like a holiday cookie party with the kids.
Gather all of your old family favorite recipes. Scan the internet for new possible food traditions.
Once your menus are established, create a shopping list for each menu. Note which recipes can be made ahead and schedule baking days.
Week 6 – Last Minute Prep
One more week left before Christmas! First and foremost, this is the time to reflect on the true meaning of the season. Yes, there are expectations from family members. Yes, there are traditions that must be carried out. However, if we forget that the meaning of the holidays is to give, whether it be through some sacrifice of our time, our abilities, or our resources, we forego the happiness that comes with giving. Here are 10 ways to start a tradition of giving–because what are the holidays if not an opportunity to give?
Now for the Last Minute Details
First is food–you’ve already planned the menu and the ingredients are stocked in your pantry and refrigerator. Now it is time to apply the magic of food to create mouth‐watering memories and continue traditions that have been passed down for generations. Finally, spend time on final gift preparation. Get your packages in the mail by the postal deadlines to get them there on time.
Whew! The holiday season brings with it many associations and memories of family, warmth, joy and beauty. The reality is that it is also a time of busyness, anxiety, and stress. The key to a meaningful holiday is a little planning and a little action. Scheduling time into your day to accomplish tasks early will bring the kind of peace to December that makes the song true: It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
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