It can be December 24th when we finally sit down and make our pre-holiday checklist. At that point, we are often paying for rush shipping, ordering prepared foods, and buying gift cards. Don’t let the weeks leading up to the holidays fly by without you noticing—get a head start this year! With Thanksgiving on the horizon, it will be December before we know it. After years of helping our clients during the holiday season, we are sharing our go-to checklist for this time of year.
- Make holiday travel arrangements. Whether you are making plans for yourself or for your family, holiday travel can be hectic. The longer you wait to purchase airfare or hotels, the more expensive they become. Book your flights early, plan transportation to and from the airport, and book accommodations if needed.
- Add special holiday events to your calendar. There’s so much to do this time of year. Between holiday parties, shopping markets, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and other fun outings, you don’t want to miss out on anything. Make sure to get organized and keep your calendar updated.
- Book tickets to holiday shows. The best days to see the Nutcracker, holiday movies at the theatre, or sporting events often sell-out early. That leaves you with Tuesdays at 2pm to enjoy the holiday events – not so convenient. Check out local event calendars and book tickets as soon as you can.
- Decorate! Choose a day to go pick out a Christmas tree and schedule an evening when the whole family can come together to decorate.
- Create your holiday card list. Whether you will handwrite addresses or order online, knowing your holiday card list will help you buy the right number of cards and stamps. No one wants to realize the week before Christmas they are short on cards!
- Write your holiday cards. Grab a few family members to help, turn on the holiday music, and start writing. If you are tech-savvy, you can send digital cards or order pre-printed cards and mail them online.
- Create your holiday shopping gift list. Instead of doing last minute shopping, know your list as you are out running errands or attending holiday markets. That way, if you see something perfect, you can buy it without any hesitation. We find holiday gift shopping is much more enjoyable and less stressful this way!
- Start shopping! We love supporting local businesses and often you can find holiday markets and other events where you can get all of your shopping done at once.
- Pick up holiday stamps and wrapping supplies. First, check what may be left over from last year. Then you can head to the Post Office and your favorite gift wrapping supply store and get everything left that you may need.
- Wrap presents. This is one of our favorite holiday to-do’s. Gather your supplies, clear the counter, turn on your favorite holiday playlist and start wrapping!
- Ship packages and mail cards. No one will care if you are early, but they will notice if you are late! Give yourself at least a week or two before Christmas to mail your cards and ship presents. With the long lines at the Post Office and other holiday chaos, you never know if something unexpected may delay you last minute.
- Plan holiday meals. Whether you are hosting family and planning larger meals, or just in need of buying travel snacks, you’ll want to plan ahead of time. This way you will get everything you want and reduce the prep time.
- Holiday clean-up. Make a plan of when you’ll be taking down the decorations, how you’ll dispose of the Christmas tree, and how you will politely return and exchange any unwanted gifts. Clean-up is less stressful and frustrating if you have an organized method (and help from family members)!
- Write thank you cards. You can never say thank you enough. People spend a lot of time, effort, and money buying the perfect gift and you want them to know you appreciate them! Spend an afternoon to write your thank-you cards and use any remaining holiday stamps. If you really planned ahead, you kept a list of who gifted each present to make the process easy.
- Book reservations for NYE. The earlier the better as most places will sell-out by mid-December.
What can Simplified help you with?
We have helped our clients with this pre-holiday checklist, or sometimes with everything else they still need to do. Either way, it’s important you make the most of the time with your family and friends. With our Holiday Services, you can let Simplified take care of what you need to get done so you can have a happy holiday season.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.