Get Ready for Christmas in Seven Days!

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Get Ready for Christmas in Seven Days!

Have you ever noticed how some of the 'biggest' jobs on your 'To Do' list rarely take as much time as you thought they would?  Christmas looms for many of us because every task seems BIG.

This year, I surprised myself when I found that I had completed most of my shopping in less than 3 hours! Online..of course. Between Amazon and Melissa & Doug (a fun and educational toy supplier), I was able to do 90% of my christmas shopping..for the packages that need to be shipped.

It felt so strange to have that particular job--DONE--just like that. I feel positively giddy!

That got me to thinking... Could it be that many of the tasks that we do to prepare for Christmas aren't so scary after all?  How about, if for the next week or two, we skipped movies, or computer games...for Christmas projects. :o)
Between now and Thanksgiving, I'm going to run a 'test'. How long does it really take? This is the secret to eliminating procrastination on most jobs.   

Wouldn't it be lovely to enjoy the holidays and not get overwhelmed with dread over jobs that ought to be fun..rather than chores? Of course, if you wait until the first week of December, you will probably start to feel that way. I always feel behind ..and then the parties and activities start rolling in.

If we try to squeeze parties, Christmas prep and our normal work into one month there will be a lot less cheer for sure.

Christmas in Seven Days Plan

Here's my plan for the next week. Perhaps it will help you too. (Some of this could be done after Thanksgiving..but try to finish before Dec. 5th.) I'm trying to tackle jobs that are best done early.

Day 1 - Christmas Shopping - Online! Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Melissa & Doug are great stores to start with. Most stores offer free shipping, gift wrapping etc.  You don't have to send gift cards..but they are great options in a pinch. :o)  Do you really need a list? We keep it simple--immediate family, their spouses, parents and grand-children.  

I asked hubby to pick gifts for the men in the family i.e. his brothers and our grown boys, and a brother-in-law.  I picked the gifts for the women, and grandchildren.

Day 2- Christmas Cards and Family Newsletter - Spend an evening with the kids, or hubby and start addressing those envelopes!! (That's the only part I don't like.) Sign the cards. Then write a SHORT letter with the news for the year.  You can include two or three significant photos in the document and then print ten to fifteen copies.

Day 3 - Homemade Goodies for Neighbors and Friends - It's always nice to have gifts for neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Homemade ones are meaningful and frugal too. We are going to spend one evening making up cookies in a jar to give away. I'll add the ingredients to tomorrow's grocery list. That way we'll be ready on Friday.  I may even rope my BOYS into helping with this. Why not?

Day 4- Pick photos for Family Photo Album 2011 (Gift to our parents).  Every year, we pick out the 'best' photos of the year and print them. We either do an online album (which I love doing!) and pay for two copies or we just get a bunch of prints done and put it in an album ourselves.  Picking out the best photos for the year would be a fun thing to do with the kids.

Day 5 - Get the Livingroom Ready for the Holidays.  If you are like us, you have to rearrange the furniture to get the Christmas tree in. Now is a great time to do that.  Vacuum everything..even under the furniture. DeClutter everything you can!  Wash the windows inside and out. Polish and clean ALL of the knick-knacks.  Now you are ready for Thanksgiving AND Christmas!  If you have time, you might want to tackle the fridge and oven too.  Might as well get it over with.

  I's not fun..but at least you'll feel prepared for the holidays. 

 Day 6 - Wrap the gifts and get them ready to ship. Make this a FUN night. Get your first dose of egg nog... or spiced cider, turn on the Christmas music and if you live in our area..turn down the a/c.   I'm excited already. (Be sure to stock up on wrapping supplies BEFORE today..or you could get stymied here.)  Wrap the photo album too.

Day 7Get the Christmas decorations out and ready to go.  Now is the time to note which strings of lights work..and which don't. Check out my post on the 'Zapper' if you want to save some of those strings.   If you are doing outdoor lights, do them this next Friday. You don't have to turn them on..just get them hung. Thanksgiving weekend, while the men are off work, is a great time to do this job.

Just imagine how much more prepared you will be for the holidays if these seven jobs are done.  Even if you don't get all the gifts bought and wrapped...or don't finish every job on this list, you'll be way ahead of the game.  

I want to ENJOY this next few weeks, not get all stressed out and cranky.  Remember..everything doesn't have to be homemade!   

Let the Holiday Season begin!


Debby said...

I always strive to have the gifts purchased by Thanksgiving as I hate crowds. I also like to do my cards on Thanksgiving week-end and decorate as soon as Thanksgiving passes. Since I usually host Turkey Day my house is clean. I like to be finished with most everything, not baking or wrapping by the first week in Dec. Sometimes though I am always waiting on the next paycheck to finish. Good tips. I think we are seasoned Christmas ladies.

Donna said...

Well.. you may be seasoned Debby, LOL, but me? I'm usually scrambling all month. Me and Procrastination are good friends.

This year, I decided to turn over a new leaf. Maybe it's because I have so many kids. Who knows? I'm impressed at how well you keep on top of the holiday rush. :o)


Breathing In Grace said...

I still say you need to hire out. You are one of the most efficient people I know!!! I'm determined not to get so overwhelmed this year. Too many other things taking higher priority!!! Thanks for such great ideas!!!

Needled Mom said...

I try to be all done by Dec. 1st, but it won't be this year. Best laid plans, as they say!!!

Donna said...

Update: I got 20 cards signed and addressed and did our Christmas newsletter! I can hardly believe it. It only took two hours from start to finish.

That means I've done 3 out of 7, gifts, and cards/newsletter. Pinch me--is this real? I've NEVER had the cards ready in NOVEMBER.

Family are going to flip when they get MY card on Dec. 1st. I'm just about tempted to send them so they arrive the day before. But that would be a little mean..don't you think? LOL!


Caroline said...

Hi Donna! Living in a college town is interesting because most of the Christmas "social calendar" takes place in the first half of december. but by the 15th your calendar is blissfully empty. We doa new year's letter instead and have it done while KEvin is home for his work holiday.

I do need to order photos for the grandparents though, and get a bunch of Christmas present MAKING done - ours is also complicated in that Gideon's birthday is the 9th and we wait to do most of our decorating until right after his birthday. But we do need to get the christmas boxes down and the advent stuff out because advent starts in 9 days!!

Maria Killam said...

Such a great post, I love how you made it all seem so easy :0 I'm listening to Christmas music right now! I love everything about it!

Natasha in Oz said...

I am very late to visit and to say thank you for linking up to my Pinning and Singing party-I am so sorry Donna! I have been a bit pre-occupied with my 12 Days of Christmas series on my Christmas blog! Have you been by to visit? I would be so thrilled if you did-there's lots of Christmas inspiration over there!

Thanks again for linking up and sharing these great pins! This was a brilliant post! I really think you are onto something here-all we need to do at this busy time of year is focus on time management and re-setting our priorities!

Best Christmas wishes to you!

Natasha @ 5 Minutes Just for Me

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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