Are you among the huge army of people who start to panic around mid December because they haven’t half started preparing for Christmas? Amazing, isn’t it, how Christmas falls on the same day each year – yet you never see it coming in time?
A few tips & tricks that can help you organise the busiest time of the year, look your splendid self at the Christmas dinner, and keep you from being too worn out to enjoy yourself and the festivities. Just pretend Christmas is on the 15th of December, and that will leave you plenty of spare time for the real thing!
1. The way I do it is to, first and foremost, start with (you guessed it) making a plan. I write down all the things I want to do for Christmas this year, e.g.
- menu Christmas dinner,
- Christmas cards,
- what presents to buy for who, incl. stocking fillers, plus budget
- maybe even a fresh layer of paint here & there,
- Christmas tree & decorations,
- list of stocking fillers,
- clothes that need mending or dry cleaning,
- rooms that need to be ready for guests,
- pets that need boarding if I’m spending Christmas elsewhere,
- planning of my journey,
- last day of work,
- weight I want to loose
- et cetera.
Just make sure you take the time to sit down and really think your Christmas through. Just like you would do when you are planning your vacation or long weekends away.
2. Then next to, or below, each item, I write down what action steps I need to take to get there (staying with the above examples: )
- phone or write guests to confirm invitations,
- decide on ingredients needed for dinner,
- make shopping list (tip: start buying the not perishable products every week, so the bill won’t give you a heart attack in December)
- make menu cards,
- where to shop for presents,
- wrap gifts
- when to decorate tree & home
- book hairdresser and beauty therapist
3. Thirdly I go over these items again and decide whose help I need, or who I can delegate any given activity to (I don’t have to do all the shopping myself, I could decide to use a caterer for part or all of my dinner, who can write the addresses on the envelopes for the Christmas cards, etc.).
4. Next I make a fourth column where I write down how much time each activity will probably take me, and/or when I want to have it done.
5. In my fifth column I write down the budget or price for all relevant items. That way I won’t be in for that side of my annual Christmas surprise.
This gives me my itinerary for Christmas. This working method proves to be very insightful as to where the bottlenecks are, and what items I can actually do in the first days of December, and which ones need more time.
The advantages of starting early to me are:
- I can avoid busy shops and long queues
- less risk that items are sold out
- more time to improvise if I can’t get what I want
- more time to find that missing address on my Christmas list
- postal deadline won’t be missed
- plenty of time for the handmade gifts
- getting in a festive mood well ahead of time
- (last but most certainly not least:) less stress in the days or weeks preceding Christmas, and a more relaxed me on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My best and most valued Christmas present to myself (and my family, for that matter ).
So if you really want to stay on top of things and enjoy the month of December, then start your Christmas planning today, tonight, this weekend. And if you want fresh ideas on a daily basis, or share/read thoughts, questions and answers from like-minded peers, check out the Facebook-page “100 Days to Christmas” (https://www.facebook.com/100DaystoChristmas).