Holiday Planning Checklist: Week-by-Week

Time is flying by! Make some positive decisions and progress on your holiday planning this week, and enjoy the next month a lot more!

This from my 8 year-old last week…

“Mom, did you ever have the feeling that the clock is moving way too fast? I swear, it was 8:15 and 10 seconds later it was 8:23.”

Yes, sweetie, I’ve had that feeling.  All the time, actually!

I presented a Holiday Planning Class last week.  Giving that class always motivates me, too!  The most well received hand-out was the Holiday Planning Weekly Challenge.   I shared it with a client, too, and she couldn’t believe that preparing for the holidays could be that easy. I won’t say “easy”, but “simpler, less stressful and better prepared” sound pretty great.  Here are some suggestions to make your season better, tweak these suggestions to fit your life.


Week of November 19

  • Appreciate your friends and family members, and all the good things in your life.
  • Finalize Thanksgiving Menu
  • At Thanksgiving, tell or email family about upcoming Christmas concerts, children’s programs and parties
  • Pantry-shop to get rid of clutter, and stock up on cooking / baking  supplies
  • Hang outside lights, don’t turn them on
  • Plan Holiday Party:  dates, guests lists and menus, and choose invitation and RSVP deadlines
  • Buy multiples of your standard hostess gift, like nice wine or candles.  Make sure it’s something you use, in case you have extra left over
  • Encourage kids and adults to purge and donate
  • Heavy clean and de-clutter, or make some calls for assistance!


Week of November 26:

  • Stock up on gift certificates for teens, stocking stuffers, teachers etc.
  • Buy Stamps, while you can still get Holiday stamps!
  • Stock up on cooking and baking supplies
  • Complete your Christmas Card list, and confirm addresses (keep a copy for next year!)


Week of December 3:

  • Stock up on gift certificates, stamps, and cooking or baking supplies
  • Have Christmas photo taken, or start letter
  • Plug in or turn on Christmas lights
  • Complete out-of-town shopping / wrapping
  • Start Christmas shopping for local recipients
  • Find and clean holiday dishes and tins


Week of December 10:

  • Take out the “First Out” Box.  Our “First-Out” box is also our “Last In” box.  It contains the items that are used for the entire Advent and Christmas seasons for us, like our crèche, some children’s books, our Advent Wreath and candles, etc.
  • Continue to stock up on gift certificates, stamps and cooking and baking supplies (spread the costs out over several weeks)
  • Finish teacher gifts, like gift certificates and cards
  • Check decorations; donate any that will not be going up this year!
  • Start Cards
  • Ship all out-of-town packages
  • Complete Christmas Shopping
  • Holiday donations, service projects


Week of December 17:

  • Finalize Christmas Menu, who is bringing what
  • Decorate the house, and buy / set up the tree
  • Finish shopping and gift wrapping.  Load into labeled bags or boxes, one for each of your destinations
  • Start baking cookies
  • Mail out your Christmas Cards
  • Take a breath, and take a break.  The house is decorated, your gifts are bought and wrapped, cards are mailed, travel plans are completed, and donations are made.  Sit calmly in your living room, reveling in the beauty of your stress free holiday prep and beautiful decorations.  Go to a party or 2!


December 24, Christmas Eve:

  • Last minute baking / cooking for Christmas Eve
  • Family Christmas Eve traditions
  • Make ahead dishes for Christmas Dinner, if possible
  • Lay out outfits for Christmas morning Mass


Christmas:  Tuesday, December 25:  Enjoy!!! Breakfast and Dinner!


Week after Christmas:

  • Invest in some sale priced Rubbermaid or Sterilite storage containers
  • Put your decorations away by category and label the container
  • Remember to put your “Last In” away last, so you can grab it first next December!

Take steps now to make your holidays more peaceful and enjoyable!

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