The work is never done for getting ready for Christmas when you are a working parent. This list represents the things that are easily forgotten, and make you feel like a total slacker. Of course you can wait on these tasks, but it’s sure to cause you stress and cost you money to do them later.
- The Holiday Card – are you sending cards this year? If so, this is one of those things that helps if you give it some thought right now. Are you thinking greeting card or picture card? If you are thinking about a picture card, do you need to get pictures together of the family? Just taking the family photo can take you a week. The technology is great for picture cards these days, you can upload to Walmart and have them in your hands by the next day, but trust me when I say that this is a task where you think you are going to sit down and have it done in an hour, and three weeks later you still haven’t ordered the cards . . . .
- Speaking of pictures, do you give any photo gifts? Make calendars or photo books? Now is the time to upload all the pictures that have been sitting in your phone or on your computer to a photo site. I’ve recommended trying to keep up with uploading throughout the year, but there’s always some time periods that I’ve missed or culling that has to be done. This can take hours and hours. I always wish I had started it sooner.
- Request time off. I know some people put in for their holiday time off the year before, but if you are a little less organized than that, you should think about putting in for some vacation time. Think about a few days throughout the month of December – the weekends are just not enough time to get all the shopping, decorating, wrapping, and cooking done. I rather take a day or two before Christmas than time after Christmas.
- The Advent Calendar. I have one of those reusable Advent calendars where there are pockets for you to put in a treat. There have been at least three years where we didn’t start the Advent calendar until well into December because I couldn’t remember where it was packed away, hadn’t bought the treats, etc.
- Ask for Wishlists. Are you a wishlist family? I know some people don’t like to use wishlists because it seems like your giving a shopping list, but in my family we grew up making list – I mean, what did you send to Santa, right? Wishlists are crucial to planning out the shopping. I’ve had to bug my kids to make them – I don’t know about others – but I’ve had to plan on helping them with this. It’s also not too early to ask for wishlists from the other members of the family. They may not have one yet, but at least it gets them thinking about it, and you may have one by Thanksgiving. I’ll be sharing my favorite wishlist apps in a later post, but it still helps to start with paper.
That’s the top five! Of course there are more things to think about for planning for the holidays, but they are not as likely to cause you more stress if you wait a little while. There are a couple honorable mentions:
Outsourcing – if you’ve put off splurging on a cleaning lady or take out food for dinner, now is the time to re-think it. Look, your to-do list just doubled with holiday tasks – why not outsource something? Think of it as your early Christmas present to yourself – ho ho ho.
Teacher gifts – this is another one that can sneak up on you because before you know it, it’s the last day of school before the holiday. It’s worth thinking about how many (daycare, teachers, after school, etc.), and what (gift cards, donation to group gift, etc.)