Jumpstart Holidays… October

Holiday Prep in OctoberThe secret to a smooth holiday season is starting early…. as in starting now, in October. This may seem ridiculous, but by knocking off some of the time-insensitive tasks, you can significantly lessen the stress that November and December can bring. To get a jumpstart, use the next couple of weeks to:

Discuss holiday plans

  • Decide if you will host any parties, and if so when?
  • Decide if you will attend any special events (concerts, shows, performances, etc.)
  • Buy any required tickets.
  • Reserve babysitting for high-demand December weekends.

 
Nail down travel details

  • Decide if you will be traveling or if anyone will be coming to you.
  • Purchase any necessary tickets (train, plane…)
  • Make necessary reservations (hotel, pet boarding, rental car, airport transport….)
  • Purchase hostess gifts now to be delivered at the appropriate time (most websites let you pick when you would like gifts delivered.)
  • Request/communicate special dietary needs to help with meal planning.

 
Complete Holiday Greeting Cards

  • Decide on a card design.
  • Finalize your card list and update addresses.
  • Order the appropriate number of cards and envelopes.
  • Write any personal notes or a family letter.
  • Address envelopes (by hand, print envelopes from the computer, or print labels.)
  • Buy stamps. (If you like holiday stamps, you can pre-order online at usps.com; they typically ship the 3rd week of October.)

 
Plan Food

  • Stock up on wine and spirits.
  • If you bake or give food gifts, start buying supplies (flour, sugar, butter, chocolate, etc.)
  • If you are hosting, begin making lists for items you will serve and ingredients you will need.
  • Prepare anything that you can freeze (easy go-to dinners, pie crusts, cookies, stock, etc.)

 
Get Ahead on Gifts

  • Make a list of everyone to whom you will be giving gifts (friends, family, teachers, service providers, work associates, charities, etc.)
  • Decide what you will be giving to each recipient (gift cards, cash, specific items)
  • Watch for sales, look online, and take advantage of the slow pre-season retail time.
  • Check your stash of wrapping supplies and supplement as needed (paper, tape, boxes, bows, ribbon.)
  • Wrap items and label gifts as you bring them in and put in a designated holding area.

 
Prepare Your Home

  • If you are hosting overnight guests, begin thinking about who will sleep where. Make sure to have sufficient clean bedding, towels, etc.
  • Polish any silver you will be using.
  • De-clutter and make space for holiday decorations (sort any stacks of paperwork, get rid of old magazines, give away unwanted clothing, clear off shelves, etc.)
  • Sort through toys and make space for any new items that might come in.
  • Give your house a thorough cleaning.

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The holiday season should be enjoyed. While there is no eliminating the “hustle and bustle,” checking items off your list early is the best way to ensure a happy holiday.

What ideas do you have for getting a jump on the holidays?