Believe it or not, the holiday season is just around the corner. And as you know quite well, this means it’s almost time to decorate your home both inside and out, as well as shop for gifts and wrap said gifts; order, address and send cards; make cookies and more.
If that last paragraph inspired you to reach for the spiked eggnog and curl up in a ball on your couch, it’s quite understandable. With a to-do list like this, it’s no wonder the holiday season can be more stressful than joyous.
Fortunately, this huge list of holiday-related tasks can also be spread out between now and Christmas. There’s really no reason to tackle everything come mid-December; and, if you start now, you won’t feel the pressure to get everything done in a couple of weeks.
With that in mind, the following guide can help you time your holiday-related tasks like a boss:
Early November: Cards and Shopping
One of the first tasks you can tackle early on is ordering your holiday cards. If you want to send a photo card, you can either take the picture in early November or use one from earlier in the year — like maybe a festive shot from your summer vacay.
To make shopping for cards as easy as possible, go with a company that offers lots of choices like Minted.com and design and order your holiday cards from the comfort of your couch. Early November is also a perfect time to make your gift list, set a budget and start shopping.
Now, you might want to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to get larger-ticket items like electronics, but the more you buy now, the better off you will feel come mid-December.
Mid-November: Address Cards and Start Baking Things You Can Freeze
Before your family arrives for Thanksgiving, use the relative calm of mid-November to address all the holiday photo cards that have already been delivered, and make a list of the various types of cookies and candy you want to make. Then, spend some time in the kitchen baking the treats that will freeze well; this includes unfrosted cookies, bars and candies like fudge. Wrap everything well and these tasty goodies will keep in the freezer until you need them later.
Thanksgiving Weekend: Time to Decorate
You can also use the long weekend — and perhaps enlist the help of some of your eager guests — to tackle the outdoor lights and your indoor decorations. Your mom can hold the ladder while you string the festive green and red bulbs above your garage, while your uncle can help you pull your totes of holiday decorations out of storage and assist in putting up the stockings, nativity scenes and swag.
If you use an artificial tree, Thanksgiving weekend is an ideal time to get it up and decorate it; if you opt for a live tree, you should probably wait until December so it’s not dry and losing its needles by Christmas morning. Additionally, use this weekend to finish up your shopping and take advantage of those great Black Friday deals.
First Weekend of December: Wrap and Mail
Now that you have your shopping completed and everything you ordered online has arrived at your home, spend the first weekend of December wrapping and labeling all of the gifts. If you need to ship anything, get those boxes ready to mail come Monday and also send out your holiday cards at the same time.
Sit Back, and Relax — You’ve Got This!
While some last-minute things will likely pop up between now and Christmas, you’ve gotten the biggest, most time-consuming tasks out of the way. This means you can truly enjoy December by seeing all the neighborhood holiday lights, visiting with your friends and family, and not stressing out about getting everything done in a matter of days. Happy holidays!