It seems like each year we have to get ready for the holiday season earlier and earlier. That’s partly because we are experiencing increasingly busy lifestyles. Plus, another reason is the cost of everything is going so high that we have to become frugal shoppers whether we like it or not. With a little bit of innovation and some careful planning, we can pull off another great success and get through the frantic holiday festivities.
To stay in the safe range of having the best stress free holiday possible, it really demands a six week plan or countdown to the big week of holiday festivities.
Here is an outline that will give you the basics and you can alter it to fit your needs:
Week Six: The planning stage
Okay, now this is where you are beginning the initial plan which will probably change several times. This is going to be your guide for the next several weeks. You may want to begin with determining how many people you have to buy gifts for, how many people you have to feed and entertain, and how many functions you have to attend. This scheduling is going to give you a good idea of how much time and money you are going to need. Your plan will include, when you are specifically going to perform all the requirements of the "to do" list, how much money you need ahead of time and where you intend on getting it.
Week Five: Putting the list into action
Start with the gift purchasing. If you get this out of the way early its going to have several advantages. First, you will beat the holiday shoppers rush. By getting your shopping out of the way ahead of time you will have a better selection of gift options and you will beat price mark ups. Do yourself a favor though, limit your shopping to one third of your list especially if you have a lot of people to buy for. Also shop by category. Get the kids out of the way first, because chances are their popular gifts will set out early.
Week Four: More shopping
This week you can shop for the men on your list as they are always the hardest to buy for. Also, do your grocery shopping for the non-perishable food items, so you have most of the items on the hand in plenty of time for the holiday baking, and food preparation that can be frozen.
Week Three: Final shopping and special event preperation
The final segment of your holiday shopping should be done now. You want to start planning your attire for the special events coming up. Go through your wardrobe and pick out what you are going to be wearing. Shop now for any new items or accessories that you are going to be needing.
Week Two: Baking, cleaning and personal care
Prepare all the delicacies that you are going to be serving that you can freeze in advance. This is a great time to get your heavy duty housecleaning out of the way so all you have to do is maintain it. While you are at it you may want to get your decorating done as well, if you haven't already. Then you may want to look after your personal needs such as getting your hair colored and making arrangements for a little pampering so you will look your best for the festivities and special functions.
Week One: Last minute odds and ends
Okay, so here we are on the final countdown week. Do your shopping for your food perishables for the big meals about mid-week. At the beginning of the week start your wrapping and do a little of this each day. At least three days before the main festivity events go over your "to-do-list" and make sure you have accomplished everything, this way you will still have enough time to complete the odds and ends before its too late.
So there you go, we have just gone through 6 potentially hectic weeks with a very limited amount of stress. Like most things in life, planning ahead will help make everything easier on yourself and those around you.