Stress Free Holidays Part 9
Christmas Planning - Things To Do This Week For A Stress Free Holiday Season

Christmas preparation must include Christmas planning, so that you can have a stress free holiday season. Get a list of activities to do this week to get ready for the big day.

Week #9 of the Stress Free Holidays Challenge

Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? I know my family had a really special one, and part of the reason for that was because of the early preparations and planning that I did as part of this stress free holidays series. How about you?

This week we start our Christmas preparation tasks, full force, although we've been preparing for this particular holiday since the beginning of the season since it is such a biggie.

In addition, we will focus a bit on cleaning up after Thanksgiving this week, along with the Christmas planning.

Thanksgiving Tasks - Clean Up Your Home, Clear Out Your Refrigerator, And Put Away Your Thanksgiving Decorations

refrigerator after Thanksgiving
Photo by Muffett

Thanksgiving may be over, but if you're like me some of the mess is still there.

Sure, you cleaned up the dishes from the meal itself, and you and your family have been diligently working on reducing the leftovers at each subsequent meal.

However, all that food is either beginning to get old and yucky, or just plain boring to keep eating over and over by now. In fact, did you know that food safety experts say you should eat your leftovers within 3 days?

Get Rid Of Thanksgiving Leftovers And Clean Out Your Refrigerator

Therefore, before the week is through clean out your refrigerator of all the leftovers, including from all plastic containers, and either use them in leftover recipes, or throw them out.

Clean Up Your Home After The Big Thanksgiving Celebration

Further, clean up your house from the Thanksgiving aftermath, which may have included guests. Go ahead and wash any sheets on guest beds, clean the bathrooms, and otherwise get your home back in order.

To make this less overwhelming just add a couple of tasks each day to your weekly house cleaning schedule and you'll get everything back in order by the end of the week, and not feel like you had to do a whole lot more than normal.

With Christmas fast approaching this clean up now is worth the extra time because it will keep you sane during all the upcoming Christmas planning and preparations.

Put Away Your Thanksgiving Decorations

Finally, below in regard to Christmas planning we will be planning the Christmas decorations, so before you can really get those up you've got to put away the Thanksgiving ones.

Take a little extra time with this task, this year, and throw away or donate any decorations you know you won't use again, and organize the rest in one or two storage tubs where you can get to it easily next year.

Doing this at the end of each holiday season is a great habit, because it makes the process of holiday decorations so much less overwhelming. Trust me, you'll thank me next fall when you're getting the decorations back out!

Christmas Planning And Preparation - Create Menu And Grocery List, Plan Christmas Decorations And Begin Filling Out Christmas Cards

Create Your Christmas Menu And Grocery List

free printable Christmas menu planner forms

I know you just had a huge meal with Thanksgiving, but this is the time to begin setting your Christmas menu and making your Christmas grocery list.

The process is quite similar to your planning for the Thanksgiving meal, except instead of just planning for one meal you may need to plan for a couple. For example, in my family we generally have a special Christmas Eve meal, a Christmas breakfast and a Christmas Day meal. You can fill out these Christmas menu planner forms for all three of these meals once you've decided what to serve.

Once you've decided on the menu look at all the recipes for the ingredients needed and then make your grocery list. To help you, you can use this printable Christmas grocery list.

free printable Christmas grocery list

Just like with Thanksgiving, as part of your Christmas planning you can buy a couple of nonperishable items from this list each week when you go to the store, so you don't shock your grocery budget all at once, but instead spread out the cost a bit.

Starting this now also gives you the opportunity to use coupons and spot deals for various items on your list, so you don't have to spend as much to purchase all the food.

For example, right now frozen turkeys are generally on sale, right after Thanksgiving. If you plan to eat turkey again for Christmas go ahead and buy one now while the deep sale is going on since it will keep in the freezer for a month.

This is also the best time to place any special food orders you may need for Christmas, such as ordering pies, or hams, before you forget and it becomes too late.

In addition, if you plan to eat out on Christmas or around it make sure you make your reservations now.

Family Christmas Traditions ebook

Make Sure You Establish (Or Continue) Family Christmas Traditions This Year

One of the most special parts of the holidays is spending time with your family, and doing things with them.

To get you thinking about this topic, and to give you some ideas and suggestions I've written this free ebook with my bloggy friends Sandee (from Theme Party Queen) and Crystal (from Make Dinner Easy).

Everyone that subscribes to my newsletter can get this free ebook. You can find out more about how to get it here.

Plan Your Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations
Photo by coolmikeol

Since we are putting away Thanksgiving decorations this week, I suggest just thinking about and planning your Christmas decorations this week, as part of your Christmas planning.

This would involve making sure you have all of the things you need, such as spare light bulbs and batteries, and generally just getting ready to put them up next week.

Feel free to put these decorations up earlier, if you wish. I know many people in my family put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I myself like to pace, so I go a bit slower, but to each their own.

How long Christmas decorating takes you all depends on how much you want to do. Some people go all out (see the picture), in which case budget more time to get it all done. If your decorations are a bit more modest in scale, like mine, it won't take you nearly as long.

In addition, if you put up a live Christmas tree it may be a bit early to put one up in your home this week, and still have it look as beautiful as you want on Christmas day. Consider this when deciding when to put up a live Christmas tree.

Begin Filling Out Christmas Cards

Throughout this Stress Free Holidays series I've had several assignments over the last couple of weeks about Christmas cards, since cards are a big Christmas planning task.

If you've followed along you should now have your Christmas card list, written your family Christmas letter, taken your family Christmas photo, and have ordered, and most likely received back, your Christmas cards by now.

(If not, no need to panic. You still have plenty of time to order photo Christmas cards from places like Tiny Prints if you go ahead and do it in the next week or two.)

Once you have those cards now comes the hard part, actually addressing and stamping them, and writing little notes on each one. Depending on the size of your list this can seem like a daunting task.

Don't let it become overwhelming.

Try to figure out your goal date to mail them all off. I suggest about two weeks from now, which is still way before Christmas. Then, just figure out how many you should address each day, or week, to get that job accomplished and do a couple each day.

Just like buying Christmas gifts and wrapping them, which I suggest you should be doing continuously, little by little, during this part of the season, doing little baby steps gets the project of Christmas cards done without stress and makes the process more enjoyable.

Good luck with your Christmas planning and preparations this week! Remember, I'm doing all this stuff too, right along with you.

Tell Me How This Week's Christmas Planning Tasks Are Going For You

Stress Free Holidays Week 10

I'd love to hear how this week's challenge is going for you, so please share your accomplishments in the comments below. I'd love to cheer you on and celebrate with you as you make your holidays this year more meaningful and less stressful.

In addition, I thought some of you might want to know briefly what we'll be working on next week, so I'll tell you:

  • Put up Christmas decorations
  • Finish Up Christmas shopping, gift making and shipping

Previous Parts Of The Stress Free Holiday Series

If you missed the previous parts of this series, you can still jump in. There is always time to start.

Here are the previous challenges:

If You're Reporting On Your Progress For This Challenge On Your Own Blog Grab This Button!

If you have your own blog, and report on your experience or success with Christmas planning this year or with other tasks this week I would love it if you grabbed my button to place on your posts so everyone can participate!

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