7 Weeks to Organize and Plan Your Best Christmas
Getting organized for the holidays takes a little work, but it makes a huge difference in the amount and quality of time you get to spend doing things you really love. Young Beth was never a fan of schedules or lists. I always felt like I wanted to be “spontaneous.” However, as I’ve aged, I’ve figured out that I really don’t do as well without them! Most of us need a clear directive of where we need to go and what we need to do—at least part of the time!
Organization can be as simple or as detailed as you want it to be. You can make a separate list for everything that needs to be done, a large list broken down into subsections, or just a piece of paper with ideas jotted down on it!
This is a seven-week plan, but you can definitely adapt it to start earlier or later if you need to! (Click here to print a PDF version…7 Weeks to Organize and Plan Your Best Christmas)
Deep Clean and/or Repair
Cleaning and repair work is definitely not my favorite part of getting ready for the Holidays, but for a lot of us, it’s something that needs to be done! Make a list of everything around your home that is going to need to be cleaned, repaired, or updated. Then narrow the list down to the things you can actually get done. There are a lot of projects that need to be done at our house, but we have to be realistic. The bathroom is probably not going to get remodeled before Christmas! Look at this list the way you would Spring cleaning. Clean the baseboards, dust the cobwebs, shampoo the carpets—that sort of thing.
Create a Holiday Budget
Include gifts, food, travel expenses, decorations, supplies for crafts and parties, special treats like concerts and shows, new clothes, family photos, Christmas cards and postage, and anything else you can think of that you’ll spend money on this season.
Make a Gift List
Even if you aren’t ready to buy those gifts, it’s time to get some ideas. Make a list of everyone you will be gifting something to and jot down anything you can think of that you want to give them. Whether it’s a store-bought gift, something homemade, or even a gift of service, put it on the list. Make sure to include sizes or favorite styles/colors if that’s something you think you’ll need. This doesn’t take a huge amount of time, but I promise it’s so very helpful when you’re shopping. And don’t forget about stocking stuffers!
Christmas Family Pictures
Ideally, you’ve already scheduled these if you are using a professional photographer. Otherwise, it may be a little difficult to find someone with an opening in their calendar. As someone whose family absolutely won’t cooperate, I generally just try to snap some random snapshots anytime we go somewhere together during the holiday season.
Work on Homemade Gifts
Make a list of any and ALL gifts you want to make yourself and get started on those immediately! Remember that food gifts count too, but maybe save those for last.
Make a list of all card recipients. Fill out cards and have them ready to mail. Don’t forget to include postage in your Holiday Budget!
Plan December Activities
Fill your calendar with every activity or event you plan on attending in December. Make sure to plan some downtime so that you don’t get completely exhausted and overwhelmed.
Organize Your Advent Calendar
Advent Calendars can be so much fun and there is a variety out there for just about everyone! Whether your preference is a simple scripture calendar or an activity for each day, now is a great time to plan it all out and buy the supplies you need.
It’s time to decorate if you haven’t started yet! It doesn’t have to be finished this week, but the earlier the better. Check out some of my past Christmas posts if you need decorating ideas.
Create menus for all dinners and events you’ll be hosting or expected to contribute to. For instance, we contribute food to several different parties, plus we host dinner at our house on Christmas Day. I make a separate menu for each one of those events.
Combine your menus and make a grocery list based on the supplies you need. Also, include the groceries you will need for homemade food gifts and treats. Make sure to take advantage of sales and stock up for the Holiday Season
In addition to your normal cleaning routine, make sure to keep an eye on those areas that are prone to extra dust or cobwebs. Make sure that things like shoes and coats have a place to go and clear any extra clutter out of common areas.
Shop Til You Drop
Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get some amazing deals and get that holiday shipping over with! If you want to make things really easy, consider giving a lot of gift cards!
Wrap Presents and Organize Stocking Stuffers
I fully admit that I used to wait until Christmas Eve to wrap anything, but I finally learned to wrap as I go. It makes things so much easier! Another option is to organize a wrapping party and let someone else help you. Organizing those stocking stuffers will save you a lot of time too if you have more than one stocking to fill. I generally just divide mine up and put each lot into a grocery bag before I put it back into the gift storage box. It’s not a fancy system but it works!
Plan Some Random Acts of Kindness
Christmas is about giving. Performing a few random acts of kindness is a fabulous way to share that Christmas spirit and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.
Here are a few examples:
- Donate gently used clothes, toys, or household items to charity
- Leave change in the vending machine
- Compliment someone
- Let someone go ahead of you in the checkout line
- Write thank-you notes to soldiers and first responders
As long as it comes from the heart, it doesn’t matter what it is!
The earlier the decorating is finished, the more time you have to relax and enjoy your holiday!
Start Advent Calendar Activities
I’ve planned at least three Advent Calendars that I forgot to start on time, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake as me. Of course, we’ve been known to double or triple up on activities, so that’s acceptable too. Just be warned…it can get a little exhausting if you do it that way!
Make Christmas Goodies
Baking cookies and giving food gifts is a favorite for a lot of people. If there is a specific date you need your goodies for, make them as close to that as possible. But if you don’t have a specific date, go ahead and make some goodies and start sharing them now. It’s never too early to help people get in the Christmas spirit!!
Weeks 6 and 7
It’s Time to Celebrate
Weeks 6 and 7 are together because most of the hard work should be done. Now it’s time to start really enjoying yourself. Make sure to finish up any last-minute projects or chores, give the house a good cleaning, watch a few Christmas movies, go to all the events and activities you had scheduled, and spend time with the ones you love. It’s time to celebrate!!