The ultimate Christmas countdown checklist

It seems every year Christmas comes faster and faster. It doesn’t help that stores play carols and put up decorations in October. You may feel behind even before Halloween arrives.

Never fear – you can make all your Christmas wishes come true. You just need some organization. Here to help you get things done is the ultimate Christmas countdown checklist.


Finding the perfect gifts

Your list can be put into some big categories, first of which is gifts. Sit down two months ahead of time and list everyone for whom you’ll buy a gift. Now quickly see if you can think of three possible gift ideas – don’t worry about price, just brainstorm a bit. Now circle the gifts you can afford. If any names remain without a viable gift, you can continue to brainstorm, contact your loved one for gift ideas, or get a gift card that will pay for part of the gift.

You can start online shopping the day after Thanksgiving, when there are great sales. If you are a hardy soul, you can head to the bricks and mortar stores as well, but bear in mind the stress of dealing with crowds may not be worth saving a few dollars. When you shop, be sure your list includes needed accessories like batteries. Wrap the gifts as soon as you buy them.

Making decorating easier

Second on your countdown is decorating for the holiday, which you can start about four weeks before. Even if you have 20 boxes of decorations in the basement, you’ll want some new things that will make decorating easier. One example is to get some easy to hang festive lights. You’ll save yourself the hassle of untangling light strings and create a tree dazzler display.

Next, make a broad list of where and how you want to decorate, for example: 1. Christmas tree in the living room needs ornaments and popcorn chain; 2. Christmas village in the foyer with cotton snow; 3. special holiday linens in the bathroom.

Once you have all your ornaments and garlands accounted for on a list, estimate the time it will take to put them up, and begin a simple process of assigning blocks of time in your schedule to accomplish them. This way, you won’t burn yourself out by trying to do it all at once, and you’ll extend the anticipation of the holiday over several days.


Celebrating with loved ones

Your final list item is planning and executing perfect menus for Christmas. About three weeks before, list your guests, the menu, and what they will bring if you’re a potluck family. Then make your shopping lists under the stores where you’ll buy the food, for example, liquor, bakery, and grocery stores. Much of your shopping can be accomplished weeks in advance. For perishable items, plan to shop a couple days ahead. You also need to start cooking a few days before, and don’t forget to take out the turkey from the freezer!

Even if you aren’t a list person, formulating a timeline for the major activities can ease your stress, and make the day about you and your loved ones. So avoid the panic, and make that list today!