Well, we’re coming in on the home stretch, my friends. We don’t have much time left before this glorious holiday is on top of us. We all seem to have so much to do the last week for Christmas that we’re bound to forget and leave something off of the to-do list. That’s why I sat down this weekend, with pen in hand and wrote out my Last Minute Countdown To Christmas Checklist.
It’s a list of things that I have to complete, no ifs, ands or buts about it. I’m pretty sure this is a universal list of to-do’s, but sometimes, if we don’t put it down on paper in black and white, there’s a chance that something important may fall through the cracks. We all know if that happens, that’s what will start the panic and the stress to set in. Believe you me, I’ve been there, done that! It’s a horrible feeling.
So, here’s the checklist I’ve come up with. Maybe this one can help you, too!
Last Minute Countdown To Christmas Checklist:
Finish Christmas Shopping
This one is kinda obvious. The earlier you complete this task, the quicker your stress level will go down. I was able to buy almost all of my gifts online, using Amazon Prime. I can’t recommend this enough. You can order and have your gifts delivered within 2-3 days. If you’ve waited to complete your shopping and still need to do online ordering, I would make sure I have it done at least 5 days prior to Christmas.
If you prefer shopping at the stores, you can still get some really good deals. You will have to put up with traffic and crowds, though. Shop early and make sure you go armed with your list. Nothing will make you blow your budget like going shopping without having an idea of what your going to buy. That’s exactly when I’ve made my worst budget goofs! Wandering aimlessly around a store, not knowing what in the heck I was looking for! When you get desperate, you also get stupid. It will also make you overspend! Please don’t fall into this trap. Just try to plan ahead as much as you can.
Plan Your Christmas Menu
Many people have a tradition for Christmas dinner, much like many do for Thanksgiving. We don’t always have an iron clad plan for Christmas, though. My family usually doesn’t want the traditional Turkey dinner. While we love it, we usually opt for another type of main entree that is special and not something we would usually have. Beef tenderloin is a favorite, as it should be. This dinner can get pretty pricey, though, as beef tenderloin can be upwards of $20/lb.
If money is no object, that’s wonderful! But if your on a tight budget, check the store flyers the week before or the week of Christmas and see what’s on sale. My local grocery store currently has Ribeye roast or Ribeye steaks on sale for $4.47/lb. This is also a treat because we don’t usually buy ribeyes.
When you plan your menu, determine how many people you will be serving. You then need to figure up how many pounds of the main entree that you will need to buy. Rule of thumb is a half pound per person. Therefore, if you are serving 10 people, you will need at least 5 pounds of meat.
Next, write down all of your sides and desserts. Before you make your grocery list, decide if you’re going to make the whole meal or delegate some of them to your guest. This can save you a bundle if you let some of your guest help you. Most people like to contribute. If they ask what they can bring, be ready and let them help.
Don’t forget any items you may need for baking Christmas goodies and/or food gifts. There’s nothing worse than to start making your recipes and realize your missing ingredients.
Go Grocery Shopping
Make your grocery list with all the ingredients you need for your Christmas menu. If you need to have a meal plan for any other days leading up to Christmas, nows the time to do it. If you can meal plan for the week prior to Christmas, this will take a lot of stress of your shoulders. (This is also a perfect time to clean your fridge out, before you go grocery shopping.)
I have found that the best time of day to shop, the week of Christmas, is early…early…early! The stores begin to get very congested around 11:00am. Then, it’s all down hill from there.
Keep in mind that many people are off the week prior to Christmas. This may be good for our roadways, but not so good for shopping.
Time To Finish Up The Handmade Gifts!
Hopefully, you’re done with these or at least close to being finished.
There were many years where I was trying to do this a day or two before Christmas Eve. Talk about the stress!! I don’t recommend this to anyone. Now, I have a cut off. I aim to have these items done at least a week before.
There have also been times when I had the best of intentions, but I had to admit my limitations and opt for something else.
That doesn’t happen too often, though. I try to plan my homemade gifts in October and I give myself a to-do timeline.
Wrap ‘Em Up!
This is the time to begin your wrapping, if you haven’t already. Try wrapping a few each night, instead of trying to get them all done at one time. Gather up all your wrapping supplies and put them in a centralized location. I have a spare bedroom that I have made into my wrapping station.
When you have a few spare minutes, go and wrap one or two. If you do a little at a time, the task won’t seem so overwhelming.
Get Gifts In The Mail
We all know how taxed the United States Postal Service is this time of year, so if you need to mail gifts to out of town loved ones, the sooner the better. To ensure Christmas delivery, I’d give them at least a week.
Mail Christmas Cards
I always tend to put this task off until last. Not sure why, but I do. I have cut my list significantly, over the years, as I use to mail one to every one that I knew, but I don’t do this anymore. This can be costly. I mainly send to out of town friends and family that I don’t see very often.
Round Up Your Stocking Stuffers!
If you do stockings for your kids or grandkids, now’s the perfect time to get these together. I take a list to the store with me and I try to find 5-7 items to put in each stocking. Dollar Tree and Walmart are great places to go for these. Here are some great ideas, here, for under $5!
The week of Christmas is the perfect time to do your baking. If your planning on giving homemade cookies or candy, make sure you have the ingredients on hand. If not, be sure to add them to your grocery list. One of my favorite cookies to make, this time of year are my Melt in Your Mouth Sugar Cookies. The recipe makes a little over 5 dozen. That’s 4-5 gifts, right there! Dollar Tree has some adorable cookie tins that you can put them in. These cookies are soooo good, so be sure to keep a few for yourself!
Sometimes, this is the most overwhelming task of all. But, let me tell you…it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what you do:
Make sure that the first area your guests see is clean. That would be the front porch. Give it a good cleaning. Start at the top and work down. Get rid of cobwebs and any other type of debris that has accumulated. Shake out that welcome mat and dispose of any dead plants.
When your guests enter your home, make sure that area is vacuumed and clear of any dust bunnies, shoes, backpacks and any other items that may make it look cluttered. Be sure to give rugs a good shake out and vacuuming, as well.
Dust end tables, coffee tables and any other flat surfaces. Microfiber clothes work great for this. Fluff your couch pillows, fold and drape blankets over chairs and couches.
Head to the powder rooms/bathrooms and give them a good cleaning. Spray your sinks and toilets with scrubbing bubbles, (or whatever you use) and clean them well. Wipe down your countertops and put away everything that doesn’t belong. Makeup, hairsprays and lotions need a place to go. How about under the sink? Make sure to empty all trashcans, as well.
Head to the kitchen and make sure your sink is free of dirty dishes. Wipe off your counters and try to make them as free of unnecessary items as possible. Clean off your kitchen and dining room tables, if needed.
Lastly, run the vacuum in the living room, kitchen and any other spaces that your guest may see. If you have over night guest, be sure to have clean sheets on the bed and stock the bathroom with items that your guest may need, like toilet paper, bath soap, hand soap, clean bath and hand towels.
Give or Donate
Now is the time of year that you can donate to Toys for Tots, Samaritans Purse or any number of organizations that collect items and toys for the less fortunate. Many fire stations are collection drop off spots for toys as well.
Enjoy The Rest Of The Season
Take this last week to watch any Christmas movies you haven’t been able to see. Maybe go caroling and do a random act of kindness, like paying it forward. Maybe have some close friends or family over. There are so many ways to enjoy this Christmas season.
Try to relax and relish in the traditions that you all share. This time of year goes by in a flash and if we’re caught up in the craziness of the seasons, we’ll blink and it will all become a memory. Slow down and savor it.
How is your countdown to Christmas checklist coming along a week before Christmas? Are you ready or still have a long way to go? I’d love to read your comments below.
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