If you’re counting the number of days until the December holidays, you’re not alone. It always seems that once Halloween ends, time speeds up. Don’t get caught in December with way too much to do. Don’t be stressed out and disorganized during what should be a warm and memorable time for you and your special people. Get ahead of the game—ready yourself for December in November!
Ready your decorations.
- Get into your storage bins and go through your decorative items.
- This is an excellent time to look at your items and decide if it stays or goes. Is it broken, faded, or just past its prime? Does it no longer hold a special meaning in your home? Even a simple, “I don’t really like this anymore” is valid.
- If you decorate with lights, plug them in and test each string. Better to find out now that a few strings need replacing, then on the day you’re putting them up.
- Any other decor that needs batteries or electricity should also be checked. It will always remain a mystery why a lawn blow-up decoration worked last year, yet no longer works after being taken out of storage.
- Reusable items can be donated or gifted. I have successfully given away a lot of old holiday decor on my Facebook Buy Nothing group—there are so many out there who will appreciate this.
- Now you know what you need to shop for, whether it’s new Menorah candles or outdoor Christmas lights.
Create and order your holiday cards.
- Select the photo(s) you’ll be using, write up your message, and choose your design.
- Order them online or at a local print shop.
- Stop by the post office for stamps, or buy them online.
- Send them out the first week of December, and pat yourself on the back.
Make a gift list and set a budget.
- Doing this in November will save you time and money. You won’t resort to shopping last-minute and end up buying things expensively or paying for expedited shipping costs.
- Create a gift list (pen/paper, Smartphone notepad…whatever works for you), with gift ideas and a budget for each person.
- As you buy items, add them to the list and include their prices. Once you’ve hit your budget for that person, mark them off as “Done!”
- Another advantage of doing this early is that you have time to do a bit of research. Which brand of an item is the best, where the cheapest price is, what are the tax and shipping costs, etc. I like to include this information on my list, so I know I’m making a good purchase.
- I also make a separate list for service employees I gift to during the holidays, such as yard care workers, the mail carrier, my hair stylist. Not sure who and what to give? We have a comprehensive guide on holiday tipping.
Get December dates into your calendar.
- You may have a general idea of various important events floating around your head, but there is nothing like entering them into your calendar and having an accurate visual of the busy days ahead.
- Examples of dates to enter:
- The start/end dates of school winter breaks
- When your college kiddo will be home
- Work holiday events
- Houseguests’ arrival/departure dates
- Social events (e.g., neighborhood cookie exchange, book club White Elephant party, friends’ annual holiday bash). This also lets you see when you need a babysitter.
- Traveling for the holidays? Definitely get those dates into your calendar. Include extras such as dropping off your pet at the kennel or pet sitter’s, reserving a parking spot at the airport, hotel or home rental stays, etc.
- Any major one-day sales that you usually shop.
Clear out space for all the new presents.
- Start with the kids’ stuff. Because let’s face it, they get the bulk of the presents.
- Toys and games — Purge those that are broken, missing pieces, no longer age-appropriate, or just never played with.
- Clothes and shoes — Say goodbye to worn out, damaged/stained, or never-used items.
- Books — Unless they’ve been torn or marked up, these are always super to donate.
- Take all the items that are still usable and donate them.
- Household miscellany
- Kitchen — If you are often gifted with gadgets and small appliances, make space by getting rid of ones that you never use (like the fajita maker from 2019).
- Makeup and skincare — This guide from Real Simple is so helpful.
- Electronics — It’s a great time to get rid of your old tech.
- Books — Because who doesn’t love to give and receive books? Pare down your bookshelves with this guide.
Get these to-do’s out of the way this month, and we guarantee your load will be lighter when December arrives. More time for the fun stuff! And if you’re busier than usual or just feeling overwhelmed, give us a shout—we are always here to help.