As of today, there are 7 (!) days until Christmas Eve! where has this year gone? not that I’m complaining since we are all looking forward to 2021.
In the meantime, I’ve complied a list of things that I like to tackle each day before Christmas. Even though this season looks different with less entertaining and large scale gatherings, I still want to feel prepared, rested and have more time for what really matters.
Planning is our friend, always! by doing one of these things each day, you will find yourself with more time on your hands to relax and enjoy the Holidays.
1. Organize the presents and get/make last minute gifts
Okay, how are you doing on the gifting front?
I keep separate lists (for family/friends/coworkers/essential workers) + gift ideas that I’ve gathered all throughout the year to make the process easy and smooth. Generally, I am all done (gifts are bought + wrapped) by the 1st of December. In the last week before Christmas, I bake my edible gifts.
Since all major carriers, in US at least, are experiencing major delays right now, putting something together yourself (if that is available to you, of course), might just be the most convenient thing to do.
For some super simple yet delicious edible gift ideas, check out my last week’s post.
Also, remember all the people that served you this year, in any capacity, and made your life easier and helped it run smoother: personal assistants, secretaries, postal and sanitation workers, teachers, nurses, seamstresses, house cleaners. A gift card and a heartfelt message can mean so much to show how grateful you are for their hard work.
2. Organize your pantry and clean your fridge and freezer
This might be the laaaaast thing you want to do right now, I know, but hear me out.
Sorting and organizing your pantry and fridge/freezer will make you aware of what you have, what needs to be consumed and maybe even spark some creative ideas for the Christmas dinner/breakfast.
It will ensure that you use first what you already have, thus spend less money and waste less food.
And, isn’t it nice to start the New Year with a clean fridge and an organized pantry? Kathryn from Do it on a dime has some excellent videos on this topic.
3. Make a shopping list and choose the Holiday menu
Since you’ve just looked through your pantry/fridge/freezer, this should give you a better idea of what needs be used first, purchased, prepped and baked ahead of time.
Then, choose your menu for the Christmas dinner and morning and the accompanying meals for the week. You could be as detailed as you’d like or leave some room for improvisation. Also, how about dessert? tackle that as well.
Ideas and suggestions to consider:
- save, bookmark or print the recipes you want to make
- check with your guests for any food sensitivities or diet restrictions
- meal prep over the weekend to save time later in the week
- choose at least 1 throw-in-the-oven-and-done kind of dish like a frozen pizza or a casserole
- gather the ingredients for a crock pot recipe – if you have family or friends visiting, you can throw everything together in the am and have it ready by pm
- make a large pot of soup over the weekend to have for a quick lunch or when you’re super hungry running errands
- if possible, make and freeze the dessert ahead of time
4. Choose one area to clean and make it ready
It could be your dining room, if you are hosting, your living room, or kitchen.
Whatever area you will be using to enjoy the celebratory feast or gather the family, make that a priority this weekend. Clean it, decorate it, make it festive, cozy and nice. Even if there is no one else coming over or visiting, do it for yourself.
Simple things like dusting, vacuuming, putting things away, buying some fresh greenery, can mean so much in uplifting our spirits and getting us in a joyful mood.
5. Clean your bathroom and change your sheets
For me, there is nothing quite like a fresh, sparkling clean bathroom to make me feel relaxed, and there’s definitely nothing like the smell of freshly laundered sheets to make me feel cozy and safe. I also sleep better.
Do this especially if you have some guests or family staying with you.
6. Set some time for self-care
Even though that this holiday season is much different than previous ones, it can still get stressful, especially if we need to work during or around Christmas/New Years.
Therefore, set some time, whenever is convenient to you, for some self-pampering.
Some ideas to inspire you:
- a walk by yourself if alone time is a scarce commodity
- take a relaxing bath, if possible, with a handful of some epsom salts thrown in to help you relax
- do a face mask, trim your nails, a little bit of grooming goes a long way
- order online and pick up your favorite coffee/drink from your favorite coffee shop
- order/purchase some seasonal greenery for your home
- read! there is nothing like an engaging book to transport us to a different time, place, and feeling
- listen to a podcast or a Christmas playlist while you bake and prep for the week ahead
- watch a Christmas concert
- choose and set aside your festive outfit/s and accessories
7. Set the table the night before
This has made such a difference every time I hosted! With the table set, I could focus solely on cooking and baking the day of and it was one less thing to worry about. Plus, it is so nice to keep looking at a nicely set table!
On my list the day before:
- clean the table and chairs
- clean/polish the cutlery
- select and place the table mats/table cloth and napkins
- choose and set the table decor/greenery
- fill the water carafes with filtered water and set in the fridge
- check the glassware and clean it if necessary
- set aside the drinks if I will be serving any
- choose and set aside activities for the little ones while the adults are conversing
- select my outfit for the next day + underwear
I truly hope these organizational ideas will inspire your planning and help you make the most of the Holiday season. There is still so much to be grateful for, in spite of this year being as hard as it’s been.
And if you are in a position of privilege and abundance, please take care and look out for the others in your community that have been hit hard, that are less fortunate and in need.
Here is a great guide to help you put together kits for the homeless in your community.
The physical isolation is tough on our mental health and I worry for those of us who are especially vulnerable this time of year, who have lost someone dear, who are alone and isolated. Reach out in any way that you can, call, text, send a letter, bake them something, and donate to your local food bank. If you have more than enough for yourself, extend your table!
Much love to you all,