The real countdown to Christmas Day has begun.
Even if you didn’t get out on Black Friday with all of the other shopaholics, there is still plenty of time to get everything on that holiday shopping list and not let stress take over.
Speaking of a list, hopefully you have one or more of those going. As regular readers know, I’m a huge fan of keeping all holiday lists in a small notebook. That way, you can keep it in your purse, computer bag or car and refer to it often.
What sorts of lists should you have? First, make a list of things you need to purchase.
I like to begin by writing down the names of those I am going to be giving gifts to. If you are buying clothing, listing the sizes is also helpful.
This is also a good time to write down what you hope to order online. In fact, go ahead and order those gifts so you don’t have to worry about items going out of stock or delayed deliveries.
There are lots of “free shipping” offers out there, so take advantage of those.
Another list could be gifts you plan on making. Hopefully you saw some of my ideas for gifts from the kitchen in Friday’s edition of the Forsyth County News.
If you do plan on making gifts, this is a good place to write down what supplies and ingredients you’ll need. Also remember you will need containers, which can be found at any dollar store.
Other lists for the holiday season may include menus for special dinners and/or parties. Remember to pick up a few hostess gifts to bring along to gatherings. Some ideas include wine bottle stoppers, cute cocktail napkins, potted plants or fresh herbs.
This is also a good time to make a list of some special activities for the season. Also think about creating new traditions for the family, as well as holding on to those favorites.
One of our traditions was always making cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.
In my kitchen there is a photograph of our two daughters one year making the cookies. They are grinning from ear to ear, rolling out cookie dough and wearing matching outfits. They are probably 4 and 6.
The reason the picture always makes me smile is that I remember the story behind the photo. It had been a particularly chaotic day. (And what household isn’t crazy during the holidays?)
In addition to the girls, we also had 7-year and 18-month-old busy little boys, so you can imagine how exhausted I was by the time Christmas Eve rolled around.
That particular night, it was almost bath time and that magical hour of bed time. Of course, that meant our night was just going to be getting started.
Suddenly, one of the girls yelled, “We forgot to make cookies for Santa!” I tried to talk them into just setting out cookies that were store bought.
They would have none of that, reminding me how much Santa loved their cookies and always left an appreciative note. Thanks, honey.
So, tired as I was, I got out the butter, flour and sugar and began the always messy process of baking with little ones. Of course, no matter how tired you are, nothing warms your heart like a child’s love of Christmas. Even if it meant another few hours before the bedtime routine could begin.
I cherish that photo because their sweet smiles made it all worthwhile.
On with our list-making.
Once the lists are together, take a few minutes to look at the calendar. I like to make a note of what I want to have accomplished and by when. I even like to plan when I will wrap gifts.
If you’re buying for children and hiding the gifts, be sure to make a note of what you have and where you hid it. I used to always find a wrapped gift or two in the back of my closet months after Christmas.
To help keep stress in check, try not to procrastinate. Few things are more stressful than running out to the stores on Christmas Eve.
Make those lists now and plan accordingly. Enjoy the season!
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.