Plan for the holidays: 12 weeks to an enjoyable Christmas

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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Photo by Anthony

As of tomorrow, there are 12 weeks until Christmas.

I know. Where has the year gone?

I love the holiday season, but like most people, it is a crazily busy time for our family. Year after year, I’m frustrated that this time of year I cherish so much feels exhausting by the time December 25 rolls around. I remember as a kid hearing adults say that they’re glad the holidays are over, so that life could get back to normal. And I would think, “They’re nuts! How boring can adults get?” But now, as an adult… I kind-of understand, sadly.

The holidays are meant to be fun, to be celebratory – they’re holidays, for Pete’s sake. But traditions and life and conflicting schedules can easily steamroll a family’s good intentions to have a simple holiday season. My conclusion – or at least theory – is that in order to truly soak up the festive season without wishing for its end, you’ve got to plan. Or more to the point, plan in a stress-free way, with plenty of time to care of the cumbersome details, so that the great stuff about the holiday season is truly great.

We keep our Christmases pretty simple, as you might guess. But they’re still just too exhausting, in my opinion.

This year, I’m running an experiment on my theory to see if it’s true. I’m going to take no more than a couple hours a week for 12 weeks, and plan just a bit for Christmas. My hope is that by the time December rolls around, when our schedule inevitably runneth over, most of the details are done, and we can actually revel in the joy of the season.

Once for the next 12 weeks, I’ll post my current week’s plan, and if you’d like, you can join me. Then the following week, I’ll share how it went, along with the next item on the docket.  My general plan is this:

  • Week 12: solidify our Christmas budget
  • Week 11: inventory our holiday decor stuff; make notes on what to look for in stores on sale
  • Week 10: organize our mailing address list for Christmas cards
  • Week 9: research ways we can volunteer time and/or donate gifts as a family
  • Week 8: gather supplies to create a Jesse Tree
  • Week 7: design our cards, order stamps, and address envelopes
  • Week 6: finish shopping for our gift list
  • Week 5: get out the calendar and schedule dates and events
  • Week 4: decorate for Christmas!
  • Week 3: make food plans; freeze meals for the next few weeks
  • Week 2: make and freeze cookie dough; prep food gifts
  • Week 1: thoroughly clean, prepare for guests, or prepare to be a guest (aka traveling)

And since this is the twelfth week, on Friday I’ll share a few thoughts on budgeting for the holidays.

Have you even thought about the Christmas season yet? What’s the hardest thing for you to tackle? I’d love to hear whether you’ve made any plans.

Join the Conversation

Comments

  1. If ever there was a person that needed some help with Christmas planning it is me. I *try* to be organised but every year I run around like a crazy person and am always ill come New Year.

    Of course it doesn’t help that both my children have birthdays in the run up (20th and 23rd Dec), that just adds to the crazyness. So yes, i’d love to join you :o)

  2. In my family, we always waited until the last minute. I even remember, a couple christmases, going to the store on boxing day to find things for our cousins!

    So when I moved out on my own and started my own branch of the family, I decided that I would plan ahead a whole lot more. So when Christmas comes, I keep note of who gets excited about which presents. Then I make a list of possible presents for each person. Over the course of the year, if I find anything on sale that matches my list, I buy it. I currently have only two presents left to buy.

    As for mailing lists, I just keep them over from year to year. I take off and add names, usually around early November, as appropriate.

    The only thing left to stress about is food – but my family loves to cook, so it’s not really a stress to begin with. I cook, my husband and daughter sit at the table. They help a bit, but mostly they are there for the chatting.

  3. Christmas, the hardest part is to remember that’s the time when the old ones in my family choose to be seek.

    I will remember for life our Christmas’ Eve dinner when I was 9, just dad, my brothers and me, in a cafeteria next to hospital, eating some cold pork. To this day I never eat pork on Christmas eve.

    Miguel de Luis’s last blog post…Amorevolezza: 3 Steps to Diamonds of Kindness

  4. I’m so excited for this! I love Christmas time and generally enjoy starting to prepare early….just so that I can think about Christmas! But, I always seem to forget something which will then stress me out later. But I’m excited to follow along with you for the next twelve weeks!

    Vanessa’s last blog post…MRI Update

  5. I’ve doen the Organized Christmas system a couple tiems and it worked well enough I can do it on my own, with my own tweaks. ;)

    http://organizedchristmas.com

    The past couple years were rough, so everything fell by the wayside, but I’ve already started planning for Christmas this year.

    And all my kids have birthdays between now and then, which makes it doubly exciting.

  6. I am actually thinking about Christmas/holiday season all year long. I started last year, right after Christmas, making a list in my (ongoing) Christmas notebook about things for next year. It works best for me to right things down while they are still fresh in my mind. For instance, we always have trouble deciding what to eat when my inlaws come down for Christmas Eve – and last year (2007) was a disaster. So, I wrote in my notebook to cook a turkey on the 23rd so that I can alleviate the whole “what do YOU want to have? No, what do YOU want to have?” discussion. We’ll have sandwiches!

    I also keep a running list of gift ideas, including gifts I’ve already found so that they’re not forgotten. And, I take pictures of all the little areas I decorate each year, so that if I want to duplicate it I can just look in my iPhoto. Then I delete them each year.

    Looking forward to reading your posts on preparing; I’m trying to be more prepared this year because I always end up feeling just how you described at the beginning of this post!

  7. Ironically I blogged about this today. I’ve gotten DS gifts all planned out. I have lots of handmade gifts lined up that I need to work on. I have never heard of a Jesse tree before. I am definitely going to start collecting ornaments when I visit the after xmas sales this year.

    Mama K’s last blog post…Window Shopping

  8. ooh – definitely looking forward to this series! I’ve said (unsuccessfully, might I add) for the last 2 years that I would have our Christmas shopping done by the end of Oct or Nov (can’t even remember at this point!) and it’s never happened. This year…baby #2 is due Jan 15, so I’m more determined than ever to have a peaceful, easy Christmas season. I figure being pregnant at Christmas is enough of an extra bit of crazy, so I need to plan ahead to offset the rest…can’t wait to join you! Thanks!

    jodi’s last blog post…WFMW – Use Your Pantry

  9. I haven’t done any christmas planning the past few years (last year I came home from the hospital with my baby boy on christmas day!). I definitely need to this year. With two of our sons living out of state we really have to be careful to budget and not fall into the trap of having a blow-out Christmas to “make up” for all the time we are away from them.

    I also have the extra fun of my youngest son’s first birthday on Dec. 21, my oldest on Jan. 3, and my partner’s on Jan. 6. Then you throw in all the different family members demanding we come visit…Planning must happen! This is going to be a great series.

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins’s last blog post…Managing Your (Unconventional) Home: I Don’t Even Know Where To Start

  10. avatar
    saunaknitter says:

    This is EXACTLY what I was discussing with my husband yesterday. We need a plan so we aren’t miserable this holiday season! I liked seeing your list & how you are planning to spread it all out. Good luck to us all!

  11. I definitely need some help! We usually leave everything until the last minute but doing a little bit each week sounds like such a great plan.

    Another question… I actually have been eyeing your christmas cards since I first found the link to your etsy site way back when I first started reading the blog. I see that the price goes up every month but can I order a card I like now and not provide the picture until November ? My girls are changing every week and I don’t want to take a picture too soon but I obviously want to save money.

    • That’s a tricky one, Lynn. I completely understand your desire to save money, so I’d love to say yes. However, the reason I have the price breakdown by month is to encourage people to have their photo cards done early – for me more than anyone. By and large, 90% of my work is ordered late November-mid December, so I end up being very swamped. The reason for the lower prices in October is to “reward” those who can get me their photo early enough so that I can finish their card before my rush. Does that make sense?

  12. I feel like the holiday season starts in our house on Sep 29 (vintage girl’s b-day)! With two more b-days in Oct, then Halloween and Thanksgiving right behind it, it’s a sprint to Jan 1! To make things more exciting, we celebrate Christmas *and* Hanukkah, which adds up to a lot of cooking, eating, planning – and celebrating of course!

    Look forward to this series!

    Vintage Mommy’s last blog post…Adoption Book Review: The Day We Met You

  13. Excellent List! It’s all about being organized.

    Dana’s last blog post…Like Mother, like Daughter

  14. between flylady’s Holiday Control Journal of past and this website
    http://www.100daystochristmas.com/ I’m keeping up so far.

    I’ve even talked to a friend to take the family picture of us, since we don’t have one. And my youngest will be 5.

    Peggy’s last blog post…It’s Monday again

  15. Excellent list and a very good idea.

    We don’t celebrate Christmas traditionally. Thanksgiving is our big crazy, end of the year holiday. I’m modifying your list to work for us. I’m combining Weeks 12 & 11; and skipping Weeks 9, 8 & 5 to put us right on target for Thanksgiving. :)

    I’ll do any church/Christmas/New Years prep the first week in December and be good to go.

    Janel’s last blog post…Links for 2008-09-30 [del.icio.us]

  16. Of course I totally understand. Just thought I would ask though (can’t hurt to ask right? ;) ). Now if I could only get my girls to sit and smile at the same time. Ha ha!

  17. Great ideas! I love planning for Christmas and I do most of it on my computer but since I do love paper I may just make a cute notebook to keep my ideas in anyway. ;-) My kids are going to get so excited if I go up to the attic to look at our decorating stuff, they are already making me listen to Rudolf the red nosed reindeer!

  18. Thanks for the kick in the pants to get moving!

    Caitlin’s last blog post…absence makes the heart grow fonder?

  19. I’m really excited about this plan! I’m approaching the holidays with mixed feelings this year–my family situation is really different than it was last year at this time, and I think the season is going to be sort of hard. But I so love celebrating, and I wonder if gearing up for it a little at a time will soften the blow.

    Thanks!

    kitchendoor’s last blog post…Works For Me Wednesday: Kitchen Aid

  20. I am so with you on this! I have been planning things for Thanksgiving and Christmas for weeks now, it’s the only way to keep myself sane at this time of year. Also, I need that long to whittle down my gift list for my daughter so I don’t bankrupt us! :) Currently I’m working on our Thanksgiving menu (checking out recipes and trying any new ones once a week to see if we like them) and my Christmas list for my daughter. Also, I’m beginning to work on the photo books that we give to the grandparents as gifts.

    Jenn’s last blog post…New Blog

  21. Ooh! This’ll be great, the holidays are always stressful for me and my family, compounded over the last 2 years with the birth of our third child on December 27th!
    I’ll definitely be joining you in this 12 weeks to Christmas program!

    Anna’s last blog post…Spinach Roulade

  22. I typically enjoy the preparations for the holidays & usually start right after Thanksgiving. But my decorations are limited, we have a simple, easy-to-assemble tree in a box, limited lighting outside of the house, etc. I don’t have room to add new decorations, even though it’s tempting when I see all the great after-Christmas sales, but if something needs to be replaced, that’s when I’ll usually go shopping. :)

    Honestly, the most stressful part of Christmas & really any holiday that involves gifts, are the gifts! It is a rare & precious thing when I’m able to make something or find something that I truly believe a particular person needs or wants. Most of the time I am left feeling like I’m just giving them “junk”, & lately I refuse to even do that anymore, just for the sake of giving them a gift. To me, it’s a gift in & of itself if you really know what the “perfect” gift is for each person on your list!!

    I’ve learned there are people who are “gift” people, where any kind of gift is a sign of love to them. And then there are people like myself, where I really could care less about opening a package but instead, am filled to the brim with joy when I get to spend time, any amount of time, with people that are near & dear to my heart.

    My side of the family decided a few years ago (before grandchildren were in the picture) that we would pool whatever monies we were going to spend on each other & instead, donate it to a needy family in one of our churches, or to someone in our immediate family if there was a high financial need. One year my brother & his wife were struggling to pay for an air conditioning unit for their home that needed to be replaced, so the Christmas money went to that. But usually it’s to a needy family in a church. The pressure is off, we still get to have wonderful & delicious food, loads of time spent together, & usually there are a few small packages to open in the stockings.

    I’m hoping to convince my husband’s side of the family that this is the way to go, but so far, the gifts keep coming!!

    Vicki’s last blog post…A final thought on weeds (for now)

  23. This is going to be great! Last Christmas season was really exhausting. Last month I remembered that it might be a good idea to start sticking money away each paycheck for Christmas presents. I never want to be in a situation where I have to be concerned about how I’m going to afford gifts for family and friends.

  24. avatar
    erika townsend says:

    You are a God-Send!! Thank you so much for these ideas!! So simple, but so helpful. I live every moment day-to-day — and the major downfall is i never see even a week ahead – and thus am overwhelmed w/ the holidays.. thanks so much

  25. I’m sure our Christmas will end up Half Assed. Like everything else. And I say that in a totally nonbitter way.

    Half Assed Kitchen’s last blog post…Did you know?

  26. This year is going to be a bit of a crazy xmas — it’s Oct 1st now & we still don’t know if we’re moving on Dec 1st or not! Ah!
    Our baby is due January 23rd and I hate having this all up in the air — but c’est la vie.

    Desiree Fawn’s last blog post…inspiration love.

  27. I’ve always been a “Last Minute Larry” when it comes to planning for Christmas. Last year I was beached on the couch nursing a newborn and had to do ALL of my shopping online. This time around seems like its going to be easy, we’ll see…I have started planning for the holidays- I am knitting most of my gifts this year which I started working on a few weeks ago. However, I need to plan it out better with a weekly schedule, thanks for the advice!

  28. 12 weeks?!? Yikes, that’s not much time…
    I’ve started making my Christmas cards, and have a draft of a Christmas list started. Next week, I will sit with DH and refine it. Looking forward to your posts to help us all through this crazy time of year!

    MelissaS’s last blog post…Trashy Snowmen

  29. I totally agree about planning and taking steps now to make for a more relaxed holiday! I have already started on the big hand-made gifts–I’m giving one big hand-made gift (a quilt) to each of my kids and a smaller knitted item as well. Then I’m trying to persuade my hubby to get a Wii for all three of them–go all out on the accessories, etc, and they’ll have something to play together through the winter. I really really want to cut down on the amount of crap that ends up under the tree, but I’m afraid hubby is the weak link…I think he feels left out of much of the holiday shopping so he goes out last minute and gets a bunch of junk so he feels like he’s participated. Clearly, I need to make a point to include him in more of the gift decision making/buying process!

    Meg Evans’s last blog post…October First

  30. Great idea! My first question is…shouldn’t you be MAKING cookies by the 2 week mark or do you make them more often than once a season?

    C’s last blog post…A picture is worth…

  31. You know the hardest thing for us this year will be traveling on a mission trip to Africa over the Thanksgiving Holiday then going to Guatemala 2 days after Christmas with our small group. Knowing where to fit everything in will be our biggest difficultly.
    I think we have a made a wise decision this year though. In light of some things God has been teaching us we feel that we and our family has all we need already so in stead of traditional Christmas gifts this year we will be giving gifts on behalf of our family members this year to Samaritans Purse . It’s really great, you can buy a chicken, goat, cow and much ore for families that can completely change their livelihood all in the name of Jesus! Just an idea we had to help people and teach our family a myriad of lessons!

    Andrea Phillips’s last blog post…Go out and SERVE SOMEONE!

  32. avatar
    Anne Marie says:

    Some people i know love the stress of present shopping at the last minute, or the craziness of it all, and at times i do too. But you are right, with families and kids and travel to consider, the stress can be overwhelming, more so as you get older.

    I am totally on board with planning ahead with you…though i have to say, I ran 2 errands Monday night. The first store had the layouts up for their “Holiday displays” and were already filling them. The second store was playing Christmas Carols. A bit much, a bit to soon i would say for the stores!

  33. This Christmas will be super low-key. I’m pregnant with my first baby, and he’s due Dec. 30! So uh…yeah. Our families are 400 miles away, so needless to say, we won’t be traveling. They won’t be coming here, either, because they wanna come when the baby is born.

    I’m going to make a semi-list of things I want to do. I doubt I’ll put up a tree, since if I do, it might be up until April. I’ll probably set out some small decorations, bake some cookies, and prepare a hearty meal. Oh, and Christmas cards.

    Kacie’s last blog post…K-mart super double coupon days are back!

  34. Because I’ll be having my second child just two weeks before Christmas, I’m on an aggressive get-ready-for-christmas schedule. This involves gift buying (nearly done!), putting up food for food gifts (jams, sauces, etc., also nearly done), and freezing as many meals and cookie dough balls that I can.
    As for the decorating and more last minute things, I plan to ask for help. It’s one of the best tips I could share.

    Tonya’s last blog post…A Laugh for Monday

  35. I’m right with you. I’ve already started knitting dish cloths to go in my family Christmas baskets. We’re simplifying this year by creating a basket for each family on our list with almost-entirely homemade items in lieu of store-bought gifts. I’m also including things like: cloth napkins, homemade spaghetti sauce/italian bread, homemade purses for my nieces, homemade hot cocoa mix/marshmallows, and of course … a framed family photo. Good luck on your organized holiday, I’m hoping for the same!

  36. Wow! Only 12 weeks away. . .I haven’t even started thinking about Christmas. I’m glad you’re doing this. I’ll follow along for a little less stress!

    Amy @ My Daily Dollars’s last blog post…Designate a Baking Day

  37. Hi Tsh- Thanks so much for flicking on my lightswitch about Christmas. Last year, I used some of the tools from OrganizedChristmas.com (like an earlier commenter) and that helped a lot. But I’d have forgotten to get out the binder, and look over my notes about what made last year special, until maybe it was too deep into the season!
    Being reminded of Christmas now prompts me to post something on my AuPairMom blog about thinking ahead around blending your au pair into your family’s holiday plans… thanks for the idea!

    CV’s last blog post…Host Mom Advice Wanted: How to get more privacy and family time?

  38. I am *excited* about this! I’ve been determined that *this* year I will be prepared for the holidays, but I didn’t know where to start. I’ll look forward to your posts!

  39. You sure know how to put a girl in the holiday spirit!

  40. Wow you are already making me extremely excited for this upcoming celebratory event. Twelve weeks is such a short time that I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t make your deadline. I’m going to see if my mom would like to try out this plan as well. The results for an experiment, the more accurate the answer!

    Daniel Allen / The Efficiancy Proposal’s last blog post…Get On The Right Path To Stopping An Addiction

  41. I’ve definitely been thinking about Christmas lately. Since I’ve got a baby coming in early November I’m trying to get my presents done early. (Most of our presents are homemade.) One resource I’ve found helpful (and tweaked to my household/needs) is http://www.OrganizedChristmas.com. Their blog has a lot of cute ideas for crafts and baking too!

    Jessica’s last blog post…Works-for-Me Wednesday

  42. We have Dec 16 birthday now too, so I feel like I’m double-planning for everything… This will help! I’m also keeping track of http://www.100daystochristmas.com.

    Emma’s last blog post…Thankfulness.

  43. I start with addressing my envelopes and making gift list with ideas and places for actual gifts bought but then basically use the same schedule!
    Last year was breeze and I have four toddlers!

  44. This is EXACTLY what I was going over with my husband last night! You’ve inspired me to be much more organized about it thought. Thanks for the idea — I can’t wait to read more!

    Robin’s last blog post…Salem Waterfront Carousel

  45. I totally hate seeing Christmas decorations in stores immediately after Halloween (if not sooner) but I’m trying something new and working ahead this year. So far, I’ve worked on a list of activities we want to do as a family, ideas for crafts with my daughter (and some for gifts), and I’ve started penciling in ideas for when we can do certain activities on the calendar – to help ensure we keep on track. I will be posting periodically about my plan and progress to try and keep myself honest and on schedule.

    Steph @ Problem Solvin’ Mom’s last blog post…Here and There

  46. It’s fun to gear up for Christmas early…and it DOES make it less hectic come mid-December! Every year I start my Christmas planning on October 1st (today!). For me, it all starts with listening to some good Christmas hymns. That makes it easy for me to get going on modifying my card list, shopping lists (getting smaller this year for many reasons), and most importantly, it gets me focused on the fact that God sent his Son from Heaven. It baffles me every time I think about it.

    Leslie’s last blog post…What a night

  47. I definitely need to start planning more and organizing as we plan to severely simplify gifts to be almost completely homemade this year! I’m super excited to see how it all pans out!

    Gidget’s last blog post…What’s New at GGH? {+ Giveaway Reminder!}

  48. avatar
    CiderSapling says:

    For the last seven years we’ve hosted the family christmas celebration in our home. It’s a whole day event: tables groaning with food, gifts for the kids, bingo in the late afternoon, and dominoes after the kids crash on any soft surface they can find. We have anywhere from 12-25 people depending on the year. As you can imagine, planning is a must!

    I love your list and mine is very similar. The biggest difference is that we do food planning during week 12. That way, over the next 12 weeks I know exactly what I need and when. Many of my items are on sale around Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. Several of our items actually need 8 – 10 weeks of prep time (the fruitcake takes 4 weeks – and yes, people eat it!). Many cookie doughs freeze well so I get them done mid-November to be popped in the oven as needed. The European style cookies keep well in an air tight container in a cool place. Of course, this is all must take into account budget and storage.

    I admit: I strive for simple throughout the year but during Christmas all bets are off. Instead, we sit around the lit Christmas tree and find inspiration. :)

  49. I just – like three minutes ago – opened a book/planner that my wonderful mother-in-law sent for my birthday called “Simplify Your Holidays” that looks incredible and right in line with the your plan. I can’t wait to dive in.

  50. I’m really looking forward to your ideas. We are in Baby Step #2 of our TMMO, and it is our first no credit card Christmas. I’ve been trying to shop over the last few months, so it won’t hit all at once. We love to bake and make TOO much food for Christmas–we need to simplify all around, and I know I’m in the right place to learn how to do that!

    Tara aka Mama Koala’s last blog post…Lowes–Free Workshops for Kids

  51. This is my favorite time of year! I am going to make this the best year yet by planning and starting now. My Husband thought I was nuts working on a Christmas budget in mid August. He won’t think I’m so crazy when we actually stay on budget this year. You have some wonderful ideas to keep us on track.

  52. The years that I’ve had a plan somewhat similar to this were great! I try to get all of my gift shopping done by Thanksgiving…made even more important because we do one side of the family for Thanksgiving and that side’s Christmas the Sat. after all the same weekend!! We spend the actual Christmas week with the other side of the family! Sometimes it’s at our house, but often it’s not, so we MUST prepare in advance! We have started putting up our tree (artificial) before we leave for Thanksgiving so that we feel relaxed and ready for the Christmas holiday upon our return. I usually just have trouble fitting the REAL meaning of Christmas into everything. Everything is SO commercial! I’ll definitely be trying your 12 weeks this year!

    Stacey @ The Blessed Nest’s last blog post…Globe Bowl Project

  53. What a great post. This is my first time over. What a great idea of taking 12 weeks till Christmas. I know that I am going to simplify my Christmas this season. I am for sure going to take this approach. “Less is more” is my motto for the season.

    Thank you for sharing. I just subscribed via email.

    Tammy Warren’s last blog post…My "wound" heart

  54. I look forward to this series!

  55. Great post, I’m just about to start working out my budget and present list. Although this year I have no idea where I’m hiding my daughter’s presents, she’s 5 and discovered all my hiding places in the last year :)

  56. I simply can’t afford to wait to think about Christmas. I start in July, right after my husband’s family has “family birthday”. Yep, they celebrate everybody’s birthday in July and all get their presents at the same time.

    We’re so poor this year (just started a master’s degree, and another baby is on the way) that I started planning ahead. I

    ‘m going to make most of the gifts from scratch using salvaged materials that I have on hand. Anything else is going to come from the used bookstore, where I bartered a bunch of books we no longer need for a $25 credit.

  57. You know, I try to do a more complicated Christmas preparation every year from a fairly popular website and I can’t keep up, but I like this pared down, simple plan. Thanks!

    Jamie’s last blog post…Sort of jumbled, but there you go….

  58. I love the idea of spending 2 hours a week. My daughter and I have blogged about the same issue. Jessica has come up with a plan that is very similar to yours – hers was primarily to help kids prepare – focusing on gift giving but I was using it too. I like the extras you have put in yours – budgeting, cooking, guests.

    I’m off to look at my diary and plot in 2 hours!

    Belinda Letchford’s last blog post…Family Team Work

  59. PS – I am sure your experiment will work!!

    Belinda Letchford’s last blog post…Family Team Work

  60. Already started the planning/preparing. Because we’re traveling to my family this year, Christmas will be both quieter (less prep of Christmas goodies and decorations and no unexpected guests at my house) and more hectic (a couple of days of driving with two young children) than usual. To really lessen the stress, I’ve planned to purchase a couple of presents on each paycheque to reduce the sting in January. I’ve knitted most of our gifts this year. Anything I need to buy will be ordered online and shipped ahead to our destination which reduces the stress of packing for our trip, and also makes it easy to avoid my daughter finding presents ahead of the big day!

  61. I’ve already started working on our Christmas budget, but not thought beyond that yet. I like your plan. :)

    Andrea’s last blog post…Thursday, October 02, 2008

  62. I am new to your site and I gotta tell you…I am pretty excited about it! I am seriously organizationally challenged. And time management challenged. And simple-challenged. So I am really looking forward to small doses of things that I can do to take steps towards being better in these areas. Thanks!! Looking forward to following along.

    Courtney’s last blog post…Makin’ Momma Proud

  63. Wow! What an awesome list! I need help organizing just about anything. I start thinking about Christmas in July, but quite honestly last Christmas was the first year that I actually wasn’t stressed out by the season. We focused on the true meaning with our children (Jesus’s birth) and everything else fell into place. I did keep it pretty simple.

    Jen @
    Creative and Curious Kids! &
    God’s Shining Stars

    http://raisingcreativeandcuriouskids.blogspot.com
    http://godsshiningstars.blogspot.com

    Jen at Creative and Curious Kids!’s last blog post…The Factors of Creativity

  64. I have been doing quite a bit of pre-planning for Christmas but did not realise that it is only 12 weeks to Christmas. I love the break down and will create my own one – I really work best with to do lists.

    PlanningQueen’s last blog post…Paid Maternity Leave In Australia

  65. I didn’t realize Christmas was so close. It seems so far away still. But I totally see the need of planning ahead. Last year, we were so crazy around Christmas time that we didn’t even open presents until several days later. I don’t mind that but I want to be able to do all the wonderful things associated with Christmas like make Christmas cookies. So after I skimmed this blog last night, I sat down with my husband and we made a list of all the things we’d like to do for the Christmas season to make it special, then I planned it all out in my planner with what dates we’ll do these things. Now I’m so excited for the dates to get here so we can get out and enjoy the holiday season.

  66. Looking forward to this series. I do a little for Christmas all year long. I make a lot of handmade ornaments that become gifts for teachers. This is a perfect time to really start planning because the holidays start coming so fast.

  67. What a wonderful list! Thanks for the reminder on how much time is left till the wonderful Celebration of Christmas! Great list and plan!

    Gena…and the Bottom Line is…’s last blog post…Living Proof…Harry Connick, Jr. and Renee Zellweger

  68. I have been counting the days to Christmas for MONTHS! My project this year has been creating an ebook called Saving Christmas. It’s a compilation of 30 personal Christmas stories, of how the writers rediscovered the meaning of Christmas by taking a simpler approach.

    When I first requested submissions for the ebook, I expected stories of how to “make do” and “do without.” Instead, these women’s experiences of simplifying Christmas convinced me that a simple Christmas can be the most magical of all.

    If you’re interested in reading a free sample of the book, you can get it at my website (no strings!).

  69. Dear Miguel,

    Sounds as if you and your family need to create your own traditions to get rid of your sad memories. I had a mother-in-law who for years no matter what, HAD to have surgery round Christmas time so she could limp in all bravely. Completely upstaged anything we’d put on. I don’t know why she did it because it made my husband livid.

    Anyhow, Christmas is a time to celebrate family no matter how dysfunctional. I hope you have many happy Christmasses ahead of you and that you will be able to look back with joy and not with sorrow..

    Denise

  70. The holiday certainly can be stressful, and traveling during a holiday is certainly not fun. The roads are packed, traffic is thick, and everyone is anxious to get to their destination. Traveling is also more expensive. thanks a lot for sharing.

    http://travels423.blogs.experienceproject.com/193592.html

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