The holidays are here, with wall-to-wall shoppers at the supermarket. Who wants to have to join them? Please, don’t everyone raise their hand at once. Right, that’s what I thought you’re probably sitting there reading this and rolling your eyes at the thought of all the Christmas hustle n’ bustle! Makes two of us. Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas, what I don’t love is the horrible traffic, the fighting over a parking space, the long store lines, the rude and pushy shoppers and especially can’t stand the rudeness and lack of customer service from store employees who’d rather be anywhere else than ringing up your purchases!
Now on to something a bit less dramatic….as we all know well, The Family Room is the heart of the home, and never more so than during the holiday season. Am, I right!? The Family Room is the most used place in the house besides the kitchen and the restrooms. We’ll clean and organize this central area of family life as we begin to think ahead to holiday visitors. You may be one who decks the halls as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey carcass has been tossed. That’s fine, too, but by the first week of December, it’s time to get the house looking festive.
Get out your lights, ornaments, wreaths, and lawn ornaments. See if anything is broken and needs to be replaced. Is it time for an update? This is also a great time to get your tree,whether you’re looking for a tree you can pull out year after year or a live tree. If you opt for a live tree you will want it to stay fresh and retain its needles through Christmas. Same goes for fresh greenery or garlands. Keeping them moist is the key, we don’t want any accidents because we left on the tree lights and forgot to water our tree. What a disaster that could potentially be!
By the way you’ll enjoy those decorations even more if the floors are clean and the kitchen is organized. Just kind of throwing that out there. Buy fresh flowers whether they are for a party or a family meal, fresh flowers should always be purchased two days in advance. Blooms have time to open up, and they’ll still be lush and fragrant. One MAJOR important task: Clear out your refrigerator. Toss old leftovers to make room for big dishes and ingredients that’ll be piling up closer to the holiday.
You may not have every detail filled in, but at least make sure you list everyone you’ll need to buy for, and think about what they’d like. That way you can pick up things as you see them, rather than running to the mall at the last minute. Have your children give you their wish lists. And, it is also a great time to give them your holiday wish list too! Ask yourself what do you really want for Christmas? More time, more joy, and less stress? Getting organized is the best way to ensure you’ll have more holiday cheer, less holiday stress.
Start baking things that you can freeze such as un-iced cookies, bars, and nut breads are good bets to make ahead. All will keep in the freezer if they are well wrapped, and you can have a few extra things on hand for the friend who stops by unexpectedly with a gift. You, know what I’m talking about…there’s always that one in the crowd who absolutely must go against the grain instead of with the flow.
Make sure to have a Master Grocery List, especially if you’ll be serving the holiday meal make sure you know what you’ll be cooking and what family members will be bringing.
Set a ballpark figure for how much you can spend on gifts—it will help you stay grounded when the shopping gets frenzied. Yes, you may already be picking things up here and there, but the more you buy ahead, the better—especially if you’ll be mailing gifts. If you have big-ticket items (like electronics) that go on sale the day after Thanksgiving, you may want to brave the crowds on Black Friday—you could save substantially. If, of course that’s your thing.
Now to transforming into Santa Mode! Order gifts now so you have lots of time to wrap them once they arrive. Make sure to wrap gifts as soon as you purchase them. Not only will this keep little eyes from finding out what Santa is bringing, it will save you time on Christmas Eve. Moving on to the stress-free part of mailing out your postcards and or packages….
First, you’ll want to determine how many cards you need, and make sure you have updated addresses. It can take a while, depending on how long your list is. Trust me as much as the Jones love receiving Christmas cards and packages they really don’t need the extra added stress of going to the post office waiting in super long lines just to return to sender. Catch my drift? Make sure to call and or text your contacts to make sure their information is current as to avoid any unpleasantness.
Try to have gifts in the mail by December 10th, though! This is super important as with the holiday season comes delayed mail and or packages. You, wouldn’t want little Timothy in tears on Christmas because your gift was late! If you’re too busy to get them addressed and mailed during the first week of December, consider putting them off until after the holiday rush. People generally enjoy getting a card a few days late, when things have slowed down and they actually notice the mail.
Now, that we have the gifts and card situated we must make sure we’ll have the serving platters and wineglasses we’ll need for parties or special meals, in time to buy more, if necessary. So you use those gold-rimmed goblets only once a year? Pull them out and dust them off. Enjoy them! Go ahead and set the table early! Make it even easier on the big day by putting a sticky note on each platter that states what dish you plan to serve on it. (That also allows people to help you without asking 12 times.) By the way, that was one of the things you requested was less stress, right!?
And last but not least, don’t forget to recharge the batteries on your camera or video recorder. You don’t want to miss the reaction on a little one’s face because the battery ran out during the opening of the presents. Finish last-minute wrapping. And assemble toys that will be surprises from Santa. (Make sure to keep them well hidden until they’ve gone to bed.)Finish cooking, and make a timeline for the day of celebration. Decide when you’ll be feasting, then count backward to determine when to put the turkey (or ham or roast beef) in the oven and what else needs to be cooked.