Ready and Set So You Can Enjoy the Holidays
By Bailee Howell
Do you ever feel as if the holidays are a bit overwhelming? Maybe you are finding the stress, and your time spent is unenjoyable because you have so much to do with so little time. The gift wrapping, food preparations, decorating, and shopping, start to consume all hours of the day. Well, what if I told you that following a simple step-by-step list of 12-holiday tasks, would help make the holidays more delightful and give you the opportunity to spend quality time with your family and friends? All right! Let’s get started!
On the 1st day of Holiday Prep:
(November 1st or earlier) HOSTING: Pick who is hosting all events (Christmas eve, Christmas morning, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve), or take the time to plan your holiday vacations!
On the 2nd day of Holiday Prep:
(October-November) DECLUTTER: This is the time to declutter your home, so you have space for new gifts and goodies. This includes getting rid of kid toys, old clothing, jewelry, and unused gifts from the year before.
On the 3rd day of Holiday Prep:
(November-December 1st) BUDGET: Decide on your budget, whether this be for gifts, holiday décor, wrapping essentials, food & dinnerware.
On the 4th day of Holiday Prep:
(November-December 1st) CALENDAR: Fill out your calendar. Get as detailed as you can to ensure that you don’t miss an important outing during this already stressful time of year. Examples- your child’s school performances, work holiday parties, and when to order and purchase certain food items.
On the 5th day of Holiday Prep:
(Mid-November) INVITES: Invite all guests to your holiday activities. Whether this is via text, email, or phone call, just do this with enough time to prepare for the special day!
On the 6th day of Holiday Prep:
(Mid-November) SHOPPING: Start gift/present shopping. Shopping early helps to get you ahead of the crowds and creates a stress-free shopping experience. I know I hate being completely behind schedule and forced to do “last-minute” gift shopping! It is never too early to get started, jump in and get ahead!
Pro tip: throughout the year if you see or hear about something that a loved one needs or wants, purchase it then, and store it away in a closet until it’s time for wrapping and placing it under the tree. Also, stay ahead of the supply chain issues and keep an eye on delivery times.
On the 7th day of Holiday Prep:
(Mid/End November) PHOTOS: Get family photos taken or start making your holiday stationery!
On the 8th day of Holiday Prep:
(November 1st– December 1st) DECORATE: This is the time to start decorating your home, both indoors and outdoors. Examples: holiday trees, lights, stockings, and candy canes!
Pro tip: Have this done by the first week of December to enjoy the decorations before the new year.
On the 9th day of Holiday Prep:
(First or Second week of December) CARDS: Send out holiday cards or the stationery you created in step seven. You want these items to arrive prior to Christmas day so check with your local Post Office on delivery schedules and times. Keep in mind that some cards may get returned if there are any issues.
On the 10th day of Holiday Prep:
(Second to week before) FOOD: Prepare as much food as possible. Preparation is key to providing you with a jump start on hosting. The more you prep, the more time you will have to enjoy your loved ones. The day of cooking will require some work, though the preparation beforehand lays a strong framework for the big day.
On the 11th day of Holiday Prep
(Second to Week Before) WRAPPING: Again, does anyone really want to spend the night before Christmas with the pressure to get all the gift wrapping done in a single night? Of course not! If you follow my steps and have purchased your gifts ahead of time two weeks prior should provide you with enough time to wrap gifts before it becomes a burden. Stay ahead of the hustle and bustle throughout the entire process.
On the 12th day of Holiday Prep:
(Day of) ENJOY: Since you worked on a plan and were ahead of schedule, you will be blessed with this time to spend with friends and family. Let the holidays be as intended and be stress-free, full of food, laughter, and lots of love.
Moms and Dads work hard, and you deserve to enjoy and make the most of your holiday season. I hope this to-do list will help you to properly prepare. However, sometimes there is just not enough time in your busy life. If that is the case, Living Precisely offers decorating services for all holidays (great way to free up your time). These services can help with bringing down stored holiday boxes, assist with decorating, shopping, and of course, the packing up and storage when you are ready for the festivities to come to an end! Whether you do it yourself or hire some help, just remember that organization and prep is the key to a peaceful holiday season!
Bailee Howell is a professional organizer and the founder of Living Precisely. Bailee graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s in dental hygiene. After many years of helping friends and family move, unpack and decorate their homes she decided to turn the passion of decluttering into a business. Living Precisely guarantees every client the opportunity to live a simplified life and offers services in all areas of the home, including pantries, closets, garages, offices, and more. The company can also help with organizing your daily and monthly to-do lists with the custom Living Precisely to-do list journal made by My Fit Journal. Connect with her at livingprecisely.com and follow her projects at on Instagram @livingprecisely and Facebook @LivingPrecisely