You may have a list that you follow every year, but if not, see our suggestions here. They'll help to get you started on a well-organized and joyous holiday.
- Remember Traditions
If your family has traditions that you keep, year after year, plan everything you'll need for them now. Do you share a cookie exchange with friends? Do family members draw names for gift-giving? Do the children in your family prepare a skit or do adults tell family stories? Do whatever you need now to make sure the traditions are passed on. Remind everyone involved of the importance of their participation. Buy invitations and address them, prepare the menus, ask others to contribute what they love, and decide on a theme for the decorations. If you create a checklist, it will be easy to see what's left for you or others to do.
- Prepare Your Gift List
If you're like many, you may have a closet of gifts already put away with friends' or family members' names on them. If not, make your gift list now. Collect catalogs if you like to order gifts, go to the local shopping center before the crowds arrive, or collect what you need if you make your own gifts. Make lists so you don't forget anyone important.
If you have to send gifts to out-of-town friends or family, plan to do it early. Get those gifts first and send them off.
- Gather Your Supplies
It won't take long to get all your holiday supplies together. Make sure you have enough stamps for holiday cards. Check your supply of wrapping paper and ribbon. Collect basic kitchen items that you know you'll need. Make lists and use them.
- Prepare Your Christmas Cards
You may not be in the mood to write out your holiday cards or annual letter yet, but you can spend an evening watching TV addressing the envelopes, pasting on return address labels, and adding stamps. Encourage your children to create their own cards to send to grandparents, cousins and friends.
- Do Some Housekeeping
If you live in colder climes, you've probably already gotten your home ready for the winter. But if not, now is the perfect time to face annual chores in and outside of the house. Hose off the front door and garage door, clean windows, polish silver, chandeliers and light fixtures.
- Are Guests Coming?
Now is a great time to clear out the clutter in your extra bedroom, since you'll probably need it someime this season for out-of-town guests or a sleepover. Put away out-of-season clothing, leaving room in the closet and drawers for your guests' things. Put away unfinished projects. Finally, add some of the comfortable touches that make a guestroom cozy. Make sure there are plush pillows, a good reading lamp and fun reading material, and an extra blanket.
- Decorate the Outdoors
You may think it's too early to put holiday lights up, but it's much easier to do it now than in the middle of a snowstorm! Test the lights before you put them up AND after, but don't turn them on at night until Thanksgiving time.
- Cook, Bake, and Freeze
This is a great time to prepare cookie dough, yummy soups, cookies, bars, or whole dinners. You won't eat them all now, but store them away in the freezer. You'll be ready in a jiffy when you need to put on a quick or provide goodies for a party. Find recipes here.
- Plan Holiday Travels
If you're planning to be away for the holidays, it's a good idea to book your holiday travel now. Check your calendar with others in your family and get friends and family to do the same. If you have guests coming to your home, remind them to make their travel plans early.
- Save Time for Fun
Don't forget to reserve time in your busy holiday schedule for simple fun. Check out movie offerings or rent a family favorite. Offer to volunteer at a community event or get tickets to see a "Nutcracker" matinee. Why not plan a simple a family "picnic" in front of the fireplace or a get out family photo albums. You'll be amazed how these simple things will turn into treasured memories.
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