Plan It! Get Organized With Christmas Checklists

Plan It! Get Organized With Christmas Checklists Cynthia Ewer Fri, 01/25/2008 - 10:14

For many of us, having the tools, in the form of a Christmas planner, isn't enough. We need more: a road map to an organized Christmas. Enter Christmas planning checklists!

Christmas planning checklists help focus and zero in on holiday chores. Checking off each step of holiday preparations makes it easy to get organized for the holiday season.

Christmas planning checklists simplify the holidays by focusing preparations on one step at a time. Having a list-based road map makes it easier to delegate jobs to others, and seeing the visual reminder of the process prevents becoming sidetracked along the way.

Our Christmas checklists are adapted from the Christmas Countdown by Cynthia Townley Ewer. It's a six-week Christmas organizing plan designed to streamline holiday preparations and simplify your holidays.

Whether you use Christmas organizing plans like the Christmas Countdown or Holiday Grand Plan, or create a personalized plan of your own, use these Christmas planning checklists to simplify your holidays and celebrate the season:

Plan It!

Christmas Checklist: Organize Holiday Planning

Christmas Checklist: Organize Holiday Planning Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 13:31

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

Organize Holiday Planning

  • Make a Christmas planner for lists, receipts and recipes.
  • Post a family holiday calendar, and add a copy to the Christmas planner.
  • Decide whether you will travel during the holiday season. If so, make travel arrangements.
  • Make a master gift list.
  • Establish a holiday budget.
  • Start a holiday shopping list. Keep it with you to streamline errands during the holiday season.

Christmas Checklist: Send Christmas Cards

Christmas Checklist: Send Christmas Cards Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 13:29

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Review address book or Christmas card list and update addresses.
  • Decide on a Christmas card format: holiday cards, photo cards, holiday letter?
  • Draft holiday letter or notes for Christmas cards.
  • Schedule photo shoot, or select photo for cards.
  • Order holiday cards or photo cards.
  • Buy cards or holiday letter supplies: paper, envelopes, printer cartridges, address labels.
  • Print holiday letters and address labels.
  • Sign, stuff and assemble holiday cards or letters
  • Mail cards or letters by December 10 to ensure delivery before Christmas.
  • As cards arrive, update address book for next year. Note any "return to sender" addresses.

Christmas Checklist: Organize Holiday Gifts

Christmas Checklist: Organize Holiday Gifts Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 13:34

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Brainstorm holiday gift ideas. Use a gift ideas planner to record personal information.
  • Review holiday budget and master gift list. Establish spending limits for holiday gifts.
  • Plan any handmade gifts, and schedule gift-making sessions on the calendar
  • Place catalog or internet gift orders, and track packages as they're received.
  • Shop for any remaining gifts. Save receipts in case of returns.
  • Wrap gifts.
  • Package send-away gifts for shipping
  • Mail send-away gifts by December 10 to ensure delivery before Christmas.

Christmas Checklist: Set Up A Gift Closet

Christmas Checklist: Set Up A Gift Closet Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 13:36

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Find a storage location for gift storage. A closet, shelf, drawer or under-bed storage unit can all serve as a "gift closet".
  • Locate all saved gift items and place them in the gift closet.
  • Make an inventory of stored gifts.
  • As you add gifts to the gift closet, note new additions on the gift closet inventory.
  • Review the master gift list, and match gifts to recipients. Cross off "given" items.
  • Shop year-round to restock the gift closet.

Christmas Checklist: Stocking Stuffer Solutions

Christmas Checklist: Stocking Stuffer Solutions Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 14:31

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Brainstorm stocking stuffer ideas.
  • Check the gift closet inventory for potential stocking stuffers.
  • Make a stocking stuffer inventory list. Add items to the list as they are purchased.
  • Store stocking stuffers in shopping bags, hung on closet hangers; one bag per recipient.
  • If your family wraps stocking gifts, wrap stuffers.
  • Fill stockings.
  • Watch for stocking stuffer items year-round as you shop.

Christmas Checklist: Create A Wrap and Mail Center

Christmas Checklist: Create A Wrap and Mail Center Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 14:33

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Find a location for a wrap and mail center. Look for counter space, storage and privacy.
  • Locate all gift wrap supplies, and collect them at the wrap and mail center.
  • Assess storage needs. Purchase gift wrap organizers is needed.
  • Stock the wrap and mail center with tools: scissors, tape, postal scale, mailing tape.
  • Wrap gifts as purchased. Use numbers or nicknames ("Dasher", "Dancer", "Prancer") on gift tags to deter curious family members.
  • Replenish gift-wrap supplies during after-Christmas clearance sales.

Christmas Checklist: Plan Holiday Baking

Christmas Checklist: Plan Holiday Baking Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 16:22

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • List holiday baked goods to make and give. Estimate number of baked items needed for the season.
  • Review recipes and research new ones.
  • Use a baking planner form to list each recipe or item, ingredients needed and number of batches.
  • Check food storage or pantry for ingredients. Start a shopping list for needed items.
  • Purchase baking staples during the pre-Thanksgiving supermarket sales.
  • Schedule baking sessions on the holiday calendar.
  • Bake, bake, bake! Store completed items in the freezer where appropriate.
  • Wrap baked goods for giving, or assemble cookie trays.
  • After the season, note successes, failures and observations on the baking planner, to guide you next year.

Christmas Checklist: Menu Planning for Holiday Meals

Christmas Checklist: Menu Planning for Holiday Meals Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 16:26

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Consult with family members to plan holiday meal locations.
  • If you'll host a holiday meal, enter details on the family calendar.
  • Review recipes, or research new ones.
  • Print a holiday menu planner form for each holiday meal. Decide on main dishes, side dishes and desserts. Note location of recipes needed.
  • Contact family members to delegate menu items.
  • Make a list of ingredients needed on the holiday menu planner. Check the pantry or food storage, then make a shopping list for items to buy.
  • Order poultry or special roast needed for holiday meals.
  • Buy holiday meal staples during the pre-Thanksgiving supermarket sales.
  • If using a frozen turkey, defrost in refrigerator 3 to 4 days before needed.
  • Set the table 2 or 3 days ahead of time. Note contents of serving dishes on sticky notes.
  • Prepare the meal. Enjoy!

Christmas Checklist: Decorate For The Holiday Season

Christmas Checklist: Decorate For The Holiday Season Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 16:36

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Collect decor ideas and add them to the Christmas planner.
  • Plan holiday decorating--interior and exterior--and schedule decorating sessions on the holiday calendar.
  • Inspect and inventory holiday decorations. Add needed or replacement items to the shopping list.
  • If using live tree, order or shop for Christmas tree.
  • Decorate interior.
  • Decorate exterior.
  • Decorate Christmas tree.
  • After the season, take down decorations. Use decor storage inventory to record location of decor items in storage areas.
  • Stock up on replacement bulbs, light strands and decor items at post-holiday sales.

Christmas Checklist: Clean House for the Holidays

Christmas Checklist: Clean House for the Holidays Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 16:39

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Early in the fall, consider whether to join a holiday cleaning plan, such as the Houseworks Holiday Plan or the Holiday Grand Plan.
  • Circle the house, and make a master list of needed cleaning chores. Focus on public areas, rooms used by houseguests, and kitchen and food storage areas. Include special holiday tasks such as polishing silver and ironing table linens.
  • Call early to schedule carpet cleaning, window washing or other professional cleaning services. Add visits to the holiday calendar.
  • Each week, tackle one or two deep-cleaning chores from the master list.
  • Set up a plan for minimum maintenance to carry the household through the busy holiday season.
  • Create a household chore list and delegate routine cleaning chores to family members. Post the chore list for accountability.
  • Two weeks before Christmas, do a whole-house clean to prepare for the coming season. Resume minimum maintenance until the New Year.

Christmas Checklist: Plan A Holiday Party

Christmas Checklist: Plan A Holiday Party Cynthia Ewer Tue, 03/25/2008 - 16:44

Get organized for Christmas with this Christmas planning checklist based on the Christmas Countdown organizing plan by Cynthia Townley Ewer:

  • Using a party planner page, decide on the date, theme and focus of the holiday party. Add the date to the holiday calendar.
  • Set a party budget. Use a Party Budget planner to estimate costs.
  • Make a party guest list.
  • Invite guests. Track RSVPs on the guest list.
  • Review recipes for party food, and plan party menu. Use familiar recipes to avoid culinary surprises.
  • Plan decorations. Purchase or make any needed centerpieces or decorations, candles or linens.
  • Select music. Create playlists on a computer or media player for party use.
  • One week before the party, clean house. Focus on public areas, the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Two days before the party, begin preparing food. Decorate the house and set any tables ahead of time.
  • Block out several hours on the day of the party to relax and prepare. Enjoy your event!
  • Clean up after the party--and enjoy the "thank you!" phone calls from your guests.
  • After the party, debrief. Note successes and shortfalls on the party planner form. It'll guide your next event