Although the holiday season should be full of happiness, it can be a stressful time. There’s a lot to do and think about, between seeing all of your family and making sure you get the right gifts! Hopefully this checklist can make things a little easier…
Gifts: the Planning Stage
☐ Start out by setting a budget. You might not have an exact number, but come up with a ballpark total figure you’ll spend on gifts.
☐ Next, make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for. Divide your total budget between these people.
☐ Next to every name on your list, jot down any gift ideas you can think of. You can keep coming back to this as ideas pop into your head (creating a note on your smartphone could be useful as you’ll always have this with you).
Gifts: the Shopping Stage
☐ Start shopping as early as possible – at the latest start right after Thanksgiving. It’ll save you some stress! It could also save you some money (think Black Friday sales).
☐ For every gift you buy, wrap it as soon as you get it home. Never leave the wrapping until Christmas Eve – that’s when you should be spending time with family!
☐ Don’t forget to label every single gift – you might forget who you bought it for, or even what it is once it’s wrapped.
☐ Have a look online and buy as much as you can that way. Do this early so it’ll be shipped in time. This should save you a few stressful trips to busy stores! It also helps you stick to your budget as you won’t be tempted to buy extras you might see in stores.
Additional Christmas Planning Tasks
☐ Check out your current decorations to make sure you’ve got everything you need for Christmas. Ideally, do this before you put up your tree!
☐ Make a list of everyone you’ll want to send cards to, and note down their addresses. Every time you send a card, strike through that name. And if you receive cards from people not on the list, add them as soon as you receive the card so you don’t forget to reciprocate.
☐ Start writing your holiday cards early, so that they’re all ready to mail at the beginning of December.
☐ If you’re hosting, plan how many people are coming over and make sure you have enough cutlery and plates. Now is a good time to set your budget for food and drink too, and arrange with family members who will be taking responsibility for what.
☐ You can even start shopping for some items, like alcohol, crackers, napkins and so on.
When December Arrives…
☐ Now it’s time to buy your live tree if you’re having one! And set aside a specific day to decorate. If your family are lazy about this try to think of something fun that’ll get everyone involved, like games for the kids or food, drink and music for adults.
☐ And don’t forget to mail out your cards!
☐ Now it’s time to finalize what you’ll be eating on Christmas day. Make a specific grocery list and plan when to pick the items up. Remember, stores are packed full and food stocks run low right before Christmas! Book your turkey in advance to make sure everything’s sorted.
☐ If you need to send any gifts by mail, make sure you do this well in advance. You don’t want anyone to be disappointed because their gift didn’t arrive in time!
A Few Days to Go…
☐ Remember, don’t leave anything big until the last minute. Take some time a couple of days before to wrap any gifts you need to, and to clean up in time for relatives to visit.
☐ Make sure you have enough batteries for children’s toys and enough space on your camera’s memory card for holiday photos.
☐ Spend Christmas Eve relaxing, with your family!
☐ And enjoy the big day!