Saturday, October 16, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

Christmas can easily become such a stressful time of year - too many events and not enough blank boxes on the calendar, too many people on the gift-giving list and not enough in the wallet. Too many expectations, real or perceived, and not enough hands to do it all. The idyllic holiday scene in your mind usually doesn’t match the living room scene. So even though we still have 10 weeks until Christmas, it’s not too early to get your busy calendar nailed down, and start the preparations. I find the lead up to Christmas can become very over whelming for the kids, so I try to stick to bedtimes and limit the number of events we attend in the evenings. Writing yourself a 10 week plan can help relieve some of the stress in the lead up to Christmas and make for more quality Christmas Time with the kids and family as a whole. Below is a 10 week outline of things to gradually get done in the lead up to the day:

10 Weeks To Go
  • Write a list of every person that you need to buy/make a gift for and decide on the amount you will spend. This way you can check out weekly specials in stores and compare prices online.
  • Start your name/address list for your Christmas Cards. One of the reasons I haven’t sent cards out in years is because all those addresses are located in various places…it’s time now to write them in your notebook so that when you are ready everything is right there for you in one place.

9 Weeks To Go

  • Start making Christmas cards. If you get personalised cards printed take/choose your picture and send away for cards to be printed.
  • If you plan on giving calendars as gifts organise photos you will use and upload and order.
8 Weeks To Go
  • Make contact with family members and decide on what needs to be organised for Christmas Day. If you are hosting it at your place have a list ready of what you need family members to make and contribute towards the day. If you are going to a family members house for the day, make contact with them or drop them an email to see what they need you to bring
  • Post any overseas Christmas Cards or presents.
7 Weeks To Go
  • Have a big sort through the kids toys and cull any that are broken or they no longer use, as we all know they will soon be replaced by new ones on Christmas Day!
  • Review Christmas Day food menu so that you can start buying things when they are on special.
6 Weeks To Go
  • Encourage your children to think about the community groups that make a difference in their lives by donating a few coins, or by doing a few jobs around the house in exchange for a donation to a group. Ask them to pin-point toys they have outgrown that they would like to contribute to a community group that works with children.
  • Buy an extra toy or present this Christmas and put it in the collection box at your local shopping centre, office or church. Many department stores, such as Kmart (under the Wishing Tree) collect presents to be distributed to disadvantaged groups by community organisations.
5 Weeks To Go
  • Finish Christmas tags and handmade gifts ready to wrap next week.
  • Get the kids to make wrapping paper - nothing cuter than paper with the kids hand prints on it!
4 Weeks To Go
  • Spend the week decorating the house inside and out with the children. Go out as a family to choose the Christmas Tree if you're having a real one.
  • Start your Advent Calendar.
  • Pick up any last minute gifts you need and wrap all your presents.
3 Weeks To Go
  • Order Christmas hams, turkey, chicken and seafood.
  • Check your list of gifts and make sure everyone is accounted for.
  • Make a Christmas craft as a family
2 Weeks To Go
  • Cooking Christmas treats such as decorating gingerbread man, white Christmas, rum balls.
  • Many schools and community groups hold concerts at this time of year - lend your support by going along and clapping loudly. You could also offer to help make costumes or sell tickets.
1 Week To Go
  • Spend time as a family visiting close friends and family members.
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights
  • Watch A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, Christmas Vacation, or The Nativity Story
  • Attend Christmas festivities that you have planned yourself or by the local community.
  • Do your food shopping early in the week to avoid being disappointed if what you want isn't available!
Christmas Day - relax and enjoy the day with your loved ones!
  • relax, laugh, and play games with extended family

My Number One Tip:
Save your receipts in one central location - I have a container that I keep them all in and put the person who the gift was purchased for on the back. You can guarantee someone will call you after Christmas looking for a receipt!

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