November 01, 2009

Christmas Countdown 2009

Get ready for Christmas with a countdown of what to do each week. You'll be reminded, you'll be accountable, and you'll be confident that things will get done in time for Christmas. Here is a suggested time line, beginning the first week of November, to help you make this holiday season your best yet.

Let your calendar help you prepare for the holidays by putting all the Christmas countdown reminders on your Cozi Calendar

Week 1 – Holiday Gifts

Inventory the gifts you’ve purchased throughout the year. Sit your family down with catalogs to discover what is first on their wish lists. Create your own thorough gift list with space for each person you plan to make or buy gifts for. Don’t leave anyone off. You’ll cause stress if you have to make a last minute run for a forgotten gift for your child’s bus driver. Begin shopping online and in stores whenever you have a moment to spare.

Week 2 – Holiday Cards

Although this is a completely optional part of the holidays, many people find it the perfect way to stay in touch with friends and loved ones both near and far away. This week, focus on choosing a card or design, purchasing materials and stamps, scheduling a photo opportunity, addressing envelopes, writing an update on your family, and assembling the cards. Please keep in mind that nothing completes a holiday card like a personal note to each recipient.

Week 3 – Holiday Meal Planning

You can cover two holidays in one sitting if you take this week to make both your Thanksgiving menu and Christmas menu. Don’t forget any cookies, candy or food gifts you have planned for December. Gather all of your old family favorite recipes. Scan the internet for new possible food traditions. Once your menus are established, create a shopping list for each menu. Note which recipes can be made ahead and schedule baking days.

Week 4 – Cleaning and Decorating

With the American celebration of Thanksgiving this week, there will be a lot of home preparation as many people host feasts with their dearest friends, neighbors and family. Once the leftovers have run their course, it is time for Christmas decorations of all shapes and sizes to emerge from basements and attics. Vow not to put anything out until it has a dust‐free surface to rest. It is a good motivation for thoroughly cleaning your house in time for the holidays.

Week 5 – Holiday Party Planning

Whether it is a brunch, an afternoon tea, a cookie exchange, or an evening gala, many people find themselves hosting some type of holiday event. Guest lists must be made, invitations sent, menus created, activities scheduled, and a myriad of other details confirmed. This is the week to lay it all out on paper and begin to take action. Use this week to stock up on hostess gifts for parties you attend as well.

Week 6 – Holiday Happenings

Enjoy! The holidays are a fun time of year. There are special theatrical performances, seasonal activities, and family and community gatherings. Take it in. Experience the holidays. One of the rewards for planning ahead is the opportunity to relax a little and enjoy the celebration.

Week 7 – Holiday Giving

What are the holidays if not an opportunity to give? Yes, there are expectations from family members. Yes, there are traditions that must be carried out. However, if we forget that the meaning of the holidays is to give, whether it be through some sacrifice of our time, our abilities, or our resources, we forego the happiness that comes with giving. It truly is better to give than to receive.

Week 8 – Holiday Cooking

It may seem as though you’ve been cooking for a month straight by this time. However, there are few associations with special occasions as important as food. You’ve already planned the menu and the ingredients are stocked in your pantry and refrigerator. Now it is time to apply the magic of food to create mouth‐watering memories and continue traditions that have been passed down for generations.

The holiday season brings with it many associations and memories of family, warmth, joy and beauty. The reality is that it is also a time of busyness, anxiety, and stress. The key to a meaningful holiday is a little planning and a little more action. It is not enough to just think about what it takes to manage a successful family holiday. Scheduling time into your day to accomplish tasks early will bring the kind of peace to December that makes the song true: It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Let Cozi help you manage your family's holiday calendar, organize your holiday lists, and capture the chaos of the holidays with family journal entries.

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ListPlanit Jennifer Tankersley is founder of ListPlanIt.com, with over 400 printable lists and planning pages, including everything you need to prepare for the holidays, manage a family, and organize your life. Jennifer is also the creator of 100 Days to Christmas: a daily dose of inspiration and motivation to help you through the busy holiday season.

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