Week one of a 5-week to-do list to help you prepare for Christmas

Christmas Countdown Calendar: Week One


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As of November 20, Christmas will be only a short five weeks away. Would you like to try for a stress-free holiday this year? If you hope to avoid those last minute hectic preparations, now is the time to start planning. When you take the time to plan it all out, it is easy to see how much there really is to do. By doing a little bit each week for the next five weeks, your holiday should be less frantic and more fantastic. From decorations to cooking to shopping, here are the things you should start doing this week to be ready by Christmas morning:

  • Take inventory of any decorations, wrapping paper, ribbon, tape, tags, batteries and any other supplies you already have on head for holiday preparations. Knowing what you already have will come in handy when creating your holiday budget and watching for sales on items you need. Use this holiday spending worksheet to help you budget for the many spending needs we have during the holiday season.
    • Need new decorations? Make a list so you can keep an eye out for sales. Or plan to make homemade decorations this year.

    • Untangle the lights and make sure they all work so you don't have to make a last minute run to get more when you're decorating the tree.

  • Make your gift-giving list. Be sure to consider family, friends, co-workers, teachers and anyone else you will be buying for.

    • Have kids and other family members create a Christmas Wish List.

    • Take one evening and go through all of the holiday catalogs you have received in the mail. Even if you don't order from them, they can give you good ideas for gifts.

    • Anyone need new clothing? Make sure you know sizes.

    • Purchasing any gifts to donate to charity?

    • Don't forget to plan for stocking stuffers!

    • And don't forget your postal carrier, stylist, newspaper carrier or anyone else to whom you like to give a holiday tip.

  • Determine your Christmas card list.

    • Make sure you have updated addresses for everyone on your list.

    • Decide how many stamps, cards and envelopes you will need.

    • Will you be purchasing cards or making your own?

    • Do you need to schedule a family photo or take one yourself for your cards?

  • Create your holiday budget. Be sure to plan for gifts, entertainment, travel, decorations, stamps, cards and any other expenditures you can think of. You do not have to determine your Christmas menu just yet, but don't forget to budget for holiday meals and baked goods.

  • Is your budget more than you can reasonably afford? Look for places to cut back.

    • Perhaps your kids can make a gift for their teacher instead of purchasing something.

    • Are there people on your Christmas card list who you have not spoken to since you sent a card last Christmas?

    • Perhaps adult family members would agree to drawing names this year instead of buying a gift for everyone.

    • Budgeting sometimes takes creativity, so look at each category and figure out ways to have the Christmas you want at a price you can afford.

  • Are you hosting a holiday party or open house? Make that list as well so you can get invites out early!

  • Start a holiday calendar to keep track of holiday parties, local community events, church programs and television specials you'd like to attend or watch this season. Don't forget to schedule a night to go out and look at Christmas lights!

  • Pull out your holiday music and DVDs.

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