Keep the most wonderful time of the year from becoming the most stressful time of the year by getting your holiday planning and preparations started now! Wondering where to begin? Here’s a list of 8 things you can do right now to set yourself up for a relaxed and happy holiday!
1. TREAT YOURSELF TO A FRESH NOTEBOOK: Let your first Christmas gift be one that you give to yourself. A beautiful, fresh notebook is a true pleasure, and is the first step in getting organised for the season. Keep all the Christmas balls in the air by making sure you have a central location to keep your lists and notes. Since we’re just getting to know each other, I should let you know that I have a mild obsession with notebooks. There’s something about taking a break from screens and writing it out by hand that really helps me get my ideas together.
I’ve just ordered this notebook for my own holiday planning. Its slim design fits easily in my tote bag and the built-in folder is perfect for keeping track of receipts.
2. GET INSPIRED: Traditions are important at the holidays, but doing the exact same thing in the exact same way year over year can start to feel a bit stale. Turn to the holiday magazines that have hit the shelves this month for ideas, or head to Pinterest to start your own inspiration board. Maybe you’ll find a new way to style your tree, or a fun activity to do with friends? Pin (physically or digitally) any ideas that get you excited!
3. MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE: Make a list of everyone on your gift list this year and leave enough space beside each name to write down a few gift ideas. Knowing what you’re shopping for will save you a lot of time when the sales hit at the end of the month. Don’t forget to include teachers, school bus drivers and crossing guards. Add some hostess gifts to the list, so they’re ready to go when party season starts. Emergency gift situations are stressful so avoid being caught off-guard by adding a few simple gifts to your list to have on hand for those last minute exchanges that inevitably pop up, or for an unexpected guest.
2. CHRISTMAS CARDS: If you send cards out, now is the time to get organised. Take a look at your address file and collect updated addresses for anyone who has moved in the last year. Count how many cards you will need, and make a trip to the store to pick up cards and stamps. If you order custom photo cards, now is definitely the time to do it as it can take a few weeks for printing and delivery. Ordering the envelopes with the return address pre-printed, or ordering return address labels, will save time later. If you really wanted to get a jump on things, addressing the cards now and having them ready for December mailing will mean one less task for later.
3. TAKE STOCK OF GIFT WRAP, RIBBON AND TAGS: Build excitement and a festive atmosphere by wrapping gifts as you buy them in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and placing them under the tree. For a unified look, take note of the colours of your tree ornaments and other decorations, and look for coordinating wrap. My tree features mainly white, silver and red ornaments, so I look for both solid and patterned wrap in those colours. Stock up now for best selection, and don’t forget to pick up lots of tape. To keep the magic of Christmas alive for little ones, buy (and hide!) a roll or two of brightly patterned, fun wrap and reserve it just for the gifts that come down the chimney on Christmas Eve.
4. HANG EXTERIOR LIGHTS: No need to turn them on in November if you don’t want to, but you’ll thank yourself later for getting this job out of the way before the temperature drops.
5. MAKE A TRIP TO THE LIQUOR STORE: There’s no line up like the liquor store line up in the days leading up to Christmas! Take some time now to consider what you’ll need, so you can pick up wine, beer and spirits while the shelves are stocked and the stores are uncrowded. Make a list and consider what you’ll need for your own entertaining and festive meals, as well as any bottles you’ll want to take with you when visiting others. Making use of any online services available in your area (home delivery or ordering ahead for pick up) will make things even simpler.
6. STOCK THE BAKING CUPBOARD: Now is the time to take stock of baking basics, such as flour, sugars, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, baking soda and baking powder and replenish anything that is running low. For best selection, now is also a great time to pick up the holiday sprinkles, dried fruit and candy for your favourite recipes.
7. DO AN OUTFIT AUDIT: Take a look in everyone’s closet to see what clothing they already have and decide what you might need. Consider your family traditions (my family gets DRESSED UP on Christmas Eve!) and what your social calendar may look like in December. Make a list of what you need, including things like hosiery and accessories, so you’re ready to get it all out of the way during the Black Friday sales. Remember to consider the family’s pajama situation if you’ll be staying with anyone or having house guests over the holidays. Even if you’re not into matching festive sleepwear, you’ll want to make sure that everyone has a presentable pair for Christmas morning.