Preparing for the holidays earlier this year (yes, I’m going there—you’ll see why) is a savvy way of ditching avoidable stress later.
When is that ever a bad thing?!
So, here we are…in the second half of July…and for starters, right around this time every year, we start to see decorations for Halloween (which come out even earlier every year). And then, before Halloween’s EVEN gets here, we see the shelves at the stores FILL with holiday décor.
The Scrooges out there would have you believe this is a bad thing. But then, those who are BIG fans of the holidays will always correct them. Wherever you stand, it does feel sometimes as though the “Christmas in July” events each summer might actually run up AGAINST the holiday shopping season with how early the merchandise comes out!
This year, everything is different. Whatever opinion you had before about the launch of holidays season has to be reassessed. In fact, this summer, the idea of Christmas in July has taken on a whole new meaning.
Have you thought about which of your holiday trips or visits will even happen this year?
Have you entertained the idea that plans might change, and possibly last-minute?
Sure, something can always come up. That can happen any year. But in 2020, with the ups and downs, we REALLY don’t know what the next five months will bring. And if there is a cancelled holiday get-together, or trip, or visit, do you know how you’ll get gifts to those you hold closest?
You probably remember how SLOW the delivery of just about everything was in April!! Right? That could be multiplied exponentially later, depending on the state of the world come December.
Holiday planning calendar
Rob and I have a pretty handy system we like to use to prepare for the holidays…it’s CALENDAR-based, because there are things that need to be taken care months in advance, weeks in advance, days and hours in advance. And it makes it SO much easier to have it all mapped out!
This year, we’re taking our regular planning calendar and bumping everything up. Shopping has to be done FAR sooner, because deliveries will take longer—and, where you’re planning on delivering some items in person, those plans might change late in the year.
And how about your home? If you are still planning on having visitors, what projects need to happen? What needs to get fixed? (See our holiday maintenance checklist for ideas.) What remodel needs to get done? Consider the material shipments and planning dates that might get stretched out this year, and “get a move on” NOW. You can even use our complimentary remodeling planner to get a head-start on what needs the most attention.
Holiday planning: what to do NOW
These are normally the things we would do, you know, two months before the holidays. But we’re exactly five months out from the holidays now, and with the uncertainty around some plans, there are some must-do items on our checklist that we’ll feel MUCH better to do sooner.
Start now to determine:
1: Your holiday budget – include any remodels or handyman work before holiday visits, plus safety considerations for guests in your home (like accessibility for older family members, air quality systems for healthy visits, etc.), and, of course, gifts and the shipment of the same.
2: Your list of gift recipients (and gift ideas for each).
3: And why not take your family picture now? If you send a card out each year and like to include a family snapshot, take a sunshine-filled summer photo when everyone’s looking their best!
And in terms of other actions to take, if you are planning any updates to your home, you should contact a professional and start to get a plan put together no later than the middle of August. Especially for bigger projects, you’ll want to get material orders in stat.
Holiday planning: what to do by the end of September
Come September, you’ll have your budget and gift list ready, and can get right into ordering!! It’s my guess you’ll do more of your shopping online this year…and, really, that has its perks.
Set some time aside for yourself each week to get several orders in, and you’ll have the peace of mind that everything will arrive on time AND with a sufficient window for you to wrap and ship each item off to its final destination.
Holiday planning: what to do by the middle of October
Halloween will be ripe in the air at this point!! And you’ll also be six weeks out from Thanksgiving! Take a look at this list to have completed by the middle of October:
1: Draft your holiday card (if you send one) and get your address list ready.
2: If you are taking a road trip somewhere for the holidays, ensure your car is in good shape, and send it in for any maintenance or repairs NOW.
3: Reach out to loved ones and have a real heart-to-heart about who will be hosting, who will be coming, and what safety measures might be required. Have the talk, and come to a consensus.
4: Do a wrapping supplies inventory check, too (hopefully, all your gifts have arrived by now).
Holiday planning: what to do by Thanksgiving
Come Thanksgiving, you should have a VERY good idea of who will be in attendance at your holiday bash. You should also have all your gifts and be well supplied in what you need for wrapping.
You can have some fun here and start planning the holiday menu, and putting the holiday décor up (if you haven’t already). Also be sure to send out ALL the gifts NOW that you won’t be able to give in person. It might take things just that long to arrive this year!!
This is also the final opportunity you’ll have to get home maintenance done, so be sure to check those honey-do items off your list for good!! You can always take a look at our Home Check-Up Score to see what kind of shape your home is in…
Be sure to take a look at our home inspection checklist, too, for additional ideas of what needs to be done!!!
Holiday planning: what to do in early December
The time has come! What will your home look like? Have you acquired even more decorations?! Who will be on their way to visit? Or where will you be off to?
By the start of December, if you are ordering a turkey ahead of time to save even MORE stress later, do it now. And here are some other things to consider…
1: If you are having guests over, send them a holiday bash itinerary. If there are any special health concerns or out-of-the-ordinary 2020 items to address, this is a great opportunity to include them here.
2: And since you already have your holiday menu ready, NOW you can beef it up with a TIMELINE of what will need to be prepped or done at what time the day of your festivities. Your cooking timeline can also reveal some needed kitchen utensils, so pay special attention to how many things you’ll have out at once that require time in the oven, or require serving spoons, etc. If you see something that will be needed, BUY IT NOW or you might run into trouble later.
3: This is also when you can have LOADS of fun crafting your holiday playlist! Are you a caroler? A fan of the Rat Pack Christmas classics?! Get it ready, and you will DEFINITELY be feeling the spirit…
The final days and hours!
As you get closer to the big day of whatever festivities you have planned, your calendar will be a carefully-crafted work of art that should include all grocery shopping, cooking anything ahead of time that can be frozen, and wrapping any last-minute gifts you found and just HAD to get for so-and-so.
Who knows? Maybe, by the time the holidays roll around this year, you’ll surprise even yourself with how much your preparations saved you from stress later. It could be super easy sailing, which will be ESPECIALLY helpful if any plans do change last-minute.
How do you picture this holiday season? Start the conversation on Facebook to tell us!