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2015 Holiday Countdown Checklist

Can you believe November is here already?  

I love the fall weather and all the fun fall activities.  My kids love the corn mazes and hay rides to the pumpkin patch; my daughter and I love walking around the neighborhood watching the beautifully colored leaves fall.  There are so many wonderful things about this time of year and soon the time will come to gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays.  ‚Äč

Sometimes, these holidays create stress but it doesn’t have to be this way - getting organized is the best way to ensure you'll have more holiday cheer and less holiday stress!

Follow this checklist to keep your holidays on track:

Before Thanksgiving

  • Make a Family Plan for the holiday season - put holiday activities, events, and travel plans on your calendar
  • Make a budget; forgive yourself if you blow it
  • Make a master gift list to keep track of gift ideas
  • Start Christmas Shopping -  Life Simplified offers this service!
    • Do online shopping - save time by having everything delivered to your door (or your recipient’s door)
    • Wrap gifts as you buy them. MAKE SURE YOU LABEL EACH GIFT!
    • Create an emergency present bin so that you are never caught empty handed.  Ideas:  gift cards, candles, candy, lotions, and soaps
    • Don’t forget to buy a variety of batteries!

The First Two Weeks of December

  • Take stock of your decorations; check the lights to see if they work before you string them
    • Holiday lights, ornaments, and tree & wreath storage organizers are readily available BEFORE the holiday
  • Create or Purchase Holiday Cards
    • Save time by purchasing a self-inking stamp or labels for your return address
  • Address and mail cards
  • Shop for wrapping paper, gift tags, ribbons, boxes, and bags
  • Decorate your home and Christmas tree

The Last Two Weeks of December

  • Plan your menu if you are hosting dinner
  • Ship wrapped gifts to loved ones
  • Deep clean your house - focus on bathrooms, kitchen, and floors
  • Finish shopping and wrap all gifts as they are purchased
    • Don’t forget the stocking stuffers
    • Purchase gifts for teachers, coaches, & babysitters
    • Leave a nice note with a small token of your appreciation for garbage men, postal workers, and housekeepers

Hosting Holiday Dinners

  • Plan your menu two weeks in advance; finalize one week before
  • Order your turkey or ham two weeks ahead of time
  • Three days before your dinner, go food shopping
  • Start cooking two days in advance
  • Ask guests to bring an appetizer, side dish, dessert, or beverage
  • Let guests help if they offer to do dishes, clear the table, or serve food
  • In lieu of hostess gifts, encourage guests to bring canned goods which can be donated to a local food pantry
  • Set a casual dress code so that your guests can be comfortable

Above all else, remember to enjoy this season!  There are so many magical moments that deserve your attention; don’t forget to relax and be present with the people you love - after all, that is the best gift you can give them!

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