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12 Step Plan for Getting Organized This Christmas!

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Do You Dream of a stress free holiday?  By thinking through your list, you can organize and group things together which will make getting those holiday chores done so much easier.  
I find that I must first sit down and make a list.  The problem is that each item on the list has a sublist that requires steps to be thought out and completed before the main item is done.   It looks a little like this…
1. Focus on the season at hand!  What does Christmas mean to you?
2. Have a family meeting and discuss what your family would like to do for others this holiday?
3. Christmas Cards
4. Gift list
5. Decorate
6. Shop for decorations
7. Shop for gifts
8. Mail any gifts that need to be mailed by Dec. 10th, just to be safe!!!
9. Deliver gifts
10. Holiday parties
11. Bake
12. Entertain
 Enjoy the fruits of your labor!
12. Rest!
1. Focus on the Season at hand!  
     Decide what you want your Christmas to look like?
    -Do you want stress free? (is that possible)
    -Read Christmas stories as a family (everyday, once a week?)
    -Watch Christmas movies (set dates for this) look at the local listing to see when things are coming on
2. Have a family meeting:
   – ask each family member what their favorite things are and make plans to incorporate in your plan.
  – Ask what your family would like to do to help others?  Work in local soup kitchen, provide gifts for
    a family.  
  – plan what charities your family would like to honor during the season. 
3. Christmas Cards –
       -picture for card (either use one from the year or get one made asap!)
       – revise my address list in my mac mail
       -peruse all the card websites for the perfect card(is there one?) & order – Black Friday is a great
        time to do this.  I saved 25% off at Tiny Prints by ordering then…
      – hand write or print off labels for addresses 
      –  Stuff & Mail!
4. Gift List-
     – I typically keep a Christmas file with a list of all the names we buy presents for.  I get the kids to
       make their lists before Thanksgiving, so I can shop online before Black Friday.  
     – Whose names did you get at Grandma’s
     – Do you know sizes, wants, etc?
     –  Ask friends what they are buying for their families and kids
     – Look at your list and see who would appreciate a donation being given to a charity in their name
       instead of receiving a gift they really don’t need.  
     – Go online and look to see who has the best prices for what you are looking for. 
5. Theme for Decorating House –
      -decide on the theme for the year
     – get out old decorations and see what you have you can use or remake for new theme
    What to Decorate-
     Exterior-  (if you are running behind get the outside done first, so you don’t look like bah humbug)
     -Porch rails
    -any where else you want decorations – lights in tree, topiaries, planter boxes, back porch,etc. 
      Interior –
     -Dining table
     -Kitchen table
     – Mantle
     – Nativity
     -Christmas villages 
     -Christmas tree
     -candles in all the windows
     -Any special decorations your family likes to do.  In our family we do an angel tree for my son who
      is no longer with us.  We also like to put our Christmas card sleigh in a special spot.  The kids get
      joy out of placing old favorites in familiar places.
6.   Shop for Decorations:
    Make list of items needed-  This generally requires a trip to the tree lot, Michaels, Walmart, 
    Container store(yay, we finally have one!), other places to look for decorative items like West Elm,
    Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Old World Pottery, Big Lots, Tuesday Morning, Homegoods,
    you get the idea….
     1.Tree lot:   (MAKE SURE YOU TAKE YOUR TREE STAND!!!!)
    -Christmas tree
    -wreath for doors (do you have wreath hangers? )
    -garland for porch (measure if you don’t know how much you need before going to save repeat trips)
     I always have them trim out tree at the lot and we take our stand so they can put the tree in the stand 
     for us.  They give me all the extra greenery they cut off the tree and I always ask for extra which they
    gladly give me for free.  I use this to decorate throughout the house.  Some for the nativity, I tuck some
    over portraits, etc.  Makes the entire house smell fresh.  
     All the other stores:
    -extra candles for the window candles, in case some burn out.
   – while out pick up other things you might need like ornament hangers, pipe cleaners for hanging  
      garlands on porch rails and bannister , gift tags, wreath
      hangers, wrapping paper, gift boxes, tape, ribbon, extra hostess gifts (just in case) batteries, extra gift   
      cards, matches, candles, florist wire, picks,shipping boxes,tape, labels for anything you need to 
      ship, etc.
   7. Shop for gifts:
    -Dont’ forget your list!  I keep mine on my notepad on my iPhone, along with sizes, favorite colors,etc
    – I find the best time to shop for gifts is at night, near the dinner hour because everyone else is eating!
   – The Apple store guy told me the best time to go to Apple is tues. after lunch, don’t ask why but that 
      is what he said.  Typically all stores are less crowded midweek in the mornings.
  – Shop online at places that offer free shipping!  Why buy gas when it’s free….
  – Shop local!  I always try to buy from my local stores when possible.  Smaller shops depend on our
    business!  I want to keep them around so I do shop local.  Most gift wrap for free and typically easier to
    get into than the mall.  
 8. Ship Gifts – 
     – If there is anything I have learned about shipping Christmas gifts, it’s get it there early, the lines are
       typically good until about Dec. 10th, then you are better off to order something online and have it
       shipped directly to the person, to avoid the post office altogether.  
9.  Deliver Gifts Early:
    Try to get any neighbor, teacher, friend gifts delivered early, so that you aren’t rushing around on
     the 12th hour trying to get it done.  Send the teacher gifts to school the Monday before the kids get
     out, that way, the child can take to each teacher as they see that teacher during the week.  Leave
     the post man, hairdresser, etc a gift the first week of December.  Get it done!!!!
10. Holiday Parties:
     – Make sure all your holiday parties are on your calendar
     – Plan what you want to wear
     -Do you need to take a gift, ornament?  
11. Bake:
    – Does your family have holiday favorites you make each year?  Get your list and shop each
      week, so that you aren’t shopping the last minute.  Any recipes that can be made and frozen, 
     should be done now!  
10. Entertain:
     – This needs a post of its own.  I am not entertaining this year, so will not go there….
12.  Enjoy!!!
       I just made my list for the month and my blog all in one post!  I am sure you can take my
       list and tweak it to suit your organizational plan!  Hope it helps.  I know I feel better and now 
       I have a plan.  

Oh, one last thing…if you are wondering what I am dreaming about for Christmas this year…
here is my new favorite Christmas china….
Hermes Balcon du Guadalquivir!  YUM!!!!!
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