I admit that for anything not completely necessary or of vital importance I fly by the seat of my pants.
Before December 1st, there are a few things I try to accomplish in order to enjoy my holiday season without undo stress. This is how I avoid waking up in a cold sweat because I have a thousand things to do with just a few days to do them.
I love my sleep too much to let that happen.
1. Take down the Halloween decor. Do this today.
2. The first mild, sunny day you have get out the holiday lights. This sounds crazy, but if you hang them now you won't have to worry about it when its 20 degrees outside. Set the timers, have everything up and ready. Thanksgiving night plug them in and watch the kids get super excited at the official start of the Christmas season.
And you can super excited the lights are up.
3. Make "the list." This includes every single person who you plan on buying for, even if it's just a small token of appreciation. I can't even begin to admit how many times I rummaged through the house for an unused candle or uneaten box of candies five minutes before the bus driver pulled up.
4. Start grabbing small items like giftcards. It stinks to buy three or four (or more) gift cards at once. You spend $100 and all you have are small four envelopes to show for it. I prefer to buy one every few weeks, starting now.
5. Make a Thanksgiving plan. Decide what you're bringing or making, and purchase all necessary supplies.
6. Start stockpiling magazines for kids to make holiday wishes. Sit the kids down at the end of November, near Thanksgiving time, and make wish lists. Make this an event, and have discussions with the kids regarding their wishes. If you just hand them five magazines and tell them to circle what they want you'll have five magazines full of circles.
7. Buy an elf. They are fabulous fun and useful in many, many ways. There is no better friend than one who flies to the North Pole every night to report to Santa himself.
9. On Thanksgiving, make "Thankful Lists." Everyone makes one, and stipulate how many blessings must be listed. You'll be amazed what kids write down, and it keeps everyone in a thankful mindset instead of a "I want, I want" mindset.
Perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving, and even better way to start December.
10. Take time to smell the pumpkin pie. Or apple pie. This season is all about friends, family and remembering all of our blessings, big and small.