Feel like there’s always something you are forgetting to do during the holidays? Organized people make lists, but if you aren’t a list maker, you can borrow my 21 Day Holiday Countdown list. Like any good list, it’s here to help you save time, keep calm, and make you look more organized than you already are.
As always, my lists are meant to bring you helpful reminders and joy…and relief from dreaded tasks. Skip countdown items that don’t apply to you or that feel overwhelming. Do them in any order you’d like, although I have loosely arranged them for early, mid, and late December to end the day before Christmas Eve. Start here…
21 Day Holiday Countdown
Early December, roughly December 3-9
21. Check gift wrap supplies now so you aren’t tempted to over-buy wrap, gift bags, ribbons and tape.
20. Have a gift closet? Start your holiday shopping there this year. Challenge yourself to clear out existing gifts before buying more. Consider grouping smaller gifts into one bigger gift, or donating small things you no longer love to a charity who can gift them.
19. Use all of your vacation. Yes, you can take a day off, even when it’s busy.
18. Make a shopping list and a budget to counter the effects of inflation. Use online sites like RetailMeNot.com, Rakuten.com, and CamelCamelCamel.com (affiliate links) to compare prices before buying online or in person.
17. Take a mental health day. In fact, even students now have this right in some states.
16. Set a daily reminder to water if you have a live tree. Ask everyone in the household to pitch in to keep it watered.
15. PhotoTip: Make an album of photos from past Christmas days through the years and run it on your digital photo frame or your TV while family visits.
Holiday Countdown for Mid December, roughly December 10-16
14. Check baking supplies before you need them so you don’t over-buy. Donate to the local food bank if you have more than you need.
13. Eliminate an event or task that you dislike or feel burdened by in the holiday season. (Sending cards? attending the office party? Your choice.)
12. Enter addresses from holiday cards you receive into your online contacts list now (Outlook, Apple Contacts, Google, or your CRM). Entering them one at a time is less work than a big pile. Tag entries with the words “holiday card” and you’ll have a jump on your own electronic holiday card list for next year.
11. Green your holidays where you can. Opt for less plastic, fewer disposable goods, more durable and classic choices like white serving dishes. Making better purchases on the front end of the holiday means less clutter and waste on the back end of the season.
10. If your children are grown up, gift the ornaments that they created when they were younger. Less is more: a few is nostalgic. Receiving several crates can be overwhelming for adult children.
9. Make room for angels by rejecting the perfection myth.
8. PhotoTip: Put new in-laws and sweethearts on the edges of group pics, making them easier to digitally crop out later if they don’t stand the test of time.
Holiday Countdown for Late December, roughly December 17-23
7. Call a friend who sends you a card.
6. Prepare for overnight guests by making simple repairs like making sure lightbulbs work and there’s space to hang clothing. Organize enough clear space that they can open their luggage. Add a few extras like a carafe of water, new towels, easy access to the electrical outlets for recharging devices, and of course, the wifi password.
5. Take care of yourself, wash hands, get your flu shot, and sleep late (or go to bed early) when you can.
4. Toss or donate holiday decor that you don’t put out this year. Better to let someone else use it rather than let it decay in storage.
3. Use the crockpot for a simple, easy, and hearty weeknight meal like chicken and stuffing.
2. Buy a $25 grocery card for a charity in your community. You won’t be tempted to store small gifts for another “just in case” event. Donate it to a local school, church, food bank, or even use it for a White Elephant gift exchange.
1. PhotoTip : Do your kids write a list to Santa? On Christmas Day, take a good quality picture with your smartphone and make sure it has their name and date written on the front. These become treasures as they get older.
What do you think of this holiday countdown list? Does it help you feel more organized during this busy season?