Picture this: It’s Christmas Eve, the kids are in bed, the tree is lit, you’ve had your hot cocoa, and it hits you…..you still need to finish that one handmade gift, and wrap the rest of the presents!
When it comes to the holidays, I always bite off more than I can chew, and try to get things done last minute.
Well not this year. I solemnly swear to get things done early so I can enjoy the holidays.
If you’d like to join me, here’s my plan. I’m starting 12 weeks out.
12 weeks out (week of September 28)
the week in short: Get organized. Get cards ready.
Start browsing for cards or buy supplies for handmade cards (including holiday thank you cards).
For card addressing, buy a fun pen or labels.
Make a gift list. Include birthdays and anniversaries through January. Start brainstorming.
Make a holiday budget.
Make a receipt envelope.
Get holiday calendar ready.
Make a rough list of people to send cards to, home and business.
Set out a box for items to donate.
Subscribe to online bargain updates.
Make a very rough draft of holiday menus.
11 weeks out (week of October 5)
the week in short: Buy handmade gift supplies. Make freeze-ahead goodies.
Buy supplies for handmade gifts.
Make and freeze some cookie dough and appetizers.
Start making cards if handmade.
Begin to organize pictures for custom-made books and other photo gifts.
Put out handmade gift supplies and begin working on them whenever you have a moment.
10 weeks out (week of October 12)
the week in short: Finish up last week’s projects. Unschedule December.
Finish buying supplies for handmade gifts.
Make and freeze any other types of cookie dough and appetizers you’ll want.
Finish making handmade cards.
Finish organizing pictures.
Look at December schedule and find things that can be done in advance.
Have friends over for a hot dish on a cool night.
9 weeks out (week of October 19)
the week in short: Buy packaging and ingredients. Start writing some cards!
If you haven’t bought cards, do so.
Buy packaging for baked gifts, neighbor gifts.
Buy nonperishable ingredients for baking.
Buy any nonperishable specialty ingredients for holiday dishes.
Make or buy tags for baked gifts and neighbor gifts.
Make any other gift tags.
Write five cards!
Schedule any professional cleaning needed during the holidays.
holiday countdown 8
8 weeks out (week of October 26)
the week in short: Shop for media. Happy Halloween!
Start shopping for books, dvds, music.
Write five cards.
7 weeks out (week of November 2)
the week in short: Plan events and decorations.
Shop for Thanksgiving and Christmas table settings, buy missing pieces.
Shop for any Christmas decorations.
Buy any gift wrap supplies still needed.
Buy tickets for holiday concerts and events.
Continue working on handmade gifts as you find time (this includes photo books).
Write 5 cards.
Make a note of missing addresses for cards.
Make a note of missing serverware for holiday meals.
Plan and assign Thanksgiving dishes.
Put away Halloween decorations.
Get into your storage, pull all Christmas decoration boxes to the front.
Plan a holiday photo.
holiday countdown 6
the week in short: Buy office gifts, advent calendar, take your holiday photo.
Buy gifts for the office.
Buy any specialty candy.
Buy holiday stamps.
Buy any holiday wardrobe pieces for yourself and kids.
Make or buy an advent calendar.
Write 5 cards.
Clean out the fridge.
Collect missing addresses for holiday cards.
Take your holiday photo.
5 weeks out (week of November 16)
the week in short: Make handmade gifts. Prepare teacher and hostess gifts. Buy groceries.
Buy anything that takes a special trip.
Buy groceries for Thanksgiving, buy nonperishable groceries for Christmas.
Make or buy teacher gifts.
Make or buy hostess gifts.
Get serious abut making handmade gifts and photo books.
Write 5 cards.
Collect any pictures from others for custom photo books.
Make a list of people to take goodies to.
Visit GiversLog and share ideas of what you’re getting for kids.
4 weeks out (week of November 23)
the week in short: Happy Thanksgiving! Buy gifts for grown ups and get in the Christmas mood.
Buy gifts for grown ups.
After Thanksgiving, begin decorating for Christmas.
Test outdoor Christmas lights before putting them up.
Put together a Christmas playlist.
Mail any gifts abroad.
Go shopping for a new Christmas book.
First week of advent Sunday.
3 weeks out (week of November 30)
the week in short: Buy gifts for kids, mail gifts and cards.
Buy gifts for kids.
Buy final gifts that need to be mailed.
Buy fresh garland and tree if fresh.
Order the holiday turkey or ham.
Finish handmade gifts.
Finish and submit custom photo books.
Make preparations for baked gifts.
Write 5 cards.
Mail Christmas cards that are finished. au revoir!
Put on a good Christmas flick and wrap gifts that need to be mailed.
Mail gifts (the last day to mail should be December 10).
Schedule the babysitter.
St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6).
Have a tree trimming party.
Join friends for a Christmas devotional.
2 weeks out (week of December 7)
the week in short: Buy gifts for household helpers, bake, clean.
Buy gifts for household and neighborhood helpers (babysitter, mail man, etc).
Buy batteries for kids’ gifts.
Order food trays for any holiday parties.
Make baked gifts.
Make neighbor gifts.
Write remaining cards.
Mail any final gifts by December 10.
Plan New Years.
Put on a good Christmas flick and wrap gifts that are going to stay.
Clean house! Sort through toys. Don’t forget to add to the donate box.
Plan some Christmas service work.
Invite a friend, drive around and see Christmas lights.
Go to the city.
1 week out (week of December 14)
the week in short: Return and donate!
Buy fresh ingredients for holiday meals.
Give teacher gifts.
Return any merchandise you don’t need.
Have a friend for cookies.
Enjoy some photos or videos of Christmases past.
Do some Christmas service for someone who could use it.
this is the week! (week of December 21)
the week in short: Enjoy! Merry Christmas.
Prep camera, charge batteries.
Defrost the turkey 3 to 4 days ahead.
Set the holiday table a day or two ahead.