Getting organised for Christmas – 3 weeks to go

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Christmas is a time for family, friends, festivities and R & R.  Too often, we get close to Christmas having had great plans of being organised only to find either we’ve forgotten things or time has gotten away from us.  It is easy to end up with a jumble of gift ideas, grocery lists and party dates scrawled across bits of paper.  Followed by that dreaded overwhelming feeling of  how will we get everything done and what might be forgotten.

With only three weeks to Christmas, it’s not too late to get organised this year.   Over the next 3 posts, I will share with you tips on how to break the tasks down into manageable weekly steps…

Rather than have things dotted around the place, the best way to get organised is to have one reference place to store all your Christmas information.

This week is all about planning, making lists and collating information into one location – an easy to use Christmas Organiser.

There are many different ways of storing the information and it is important to think about which format would work for you…

  • A lever arch folder with dividers for each section
  • A note pad with dividers for each section (you can buy note pads with dividers already built into the pad)
  • On your computer (under one central Christmas folder)
  • A concertina folder
  • A set of index cards
  • Drop down folders in your filing cabinet
  • Kikki K Christmas notes

Maybe you already have something in your home that would work perfectly.

To help make the decision, first let’s look at what you will be putting in your Christmas Organiser.  You want to look at the Organiser as the central place to keep all the information you need to run Christmas smoothly.   Everyone celebrates Christmas differently and the information you want to keep in your Christmas Organiser will depend on your family, and your traditions.

If you want help getting started and would like a Christmas Organiser template – contact me at sara.hall@finer.e-improvement.com.au and I will email you our templates.

Once you have decided where you will be storing your Christmas information, label the Organiser and make it easy to identify…Why not make the Organiser more festive by decorating (great for kids to get involved with) it.

Tip:  If the Organiser is not portable.  Have a small designated (labelled) notepad to keep with you and make any notes while you are out and about.  Remember to add any new information straight on to your Organiser as soon as you get home or you could end up confusing the system and getting in a muddle.  Also have a pencil case with pen, pencil, eraser, sharpener, highlighter and post it flags.

Next,  gather any information you already have and collate it into your Christmas Organiser, so find those scraps of papers, and reminders.  Look for any gifts that have already been bought, and record them in your Organiser.

Find all your holiday commitment dates, calendars and transfer it into one central calendar.

Here are somethings to think about including in your Organiser:

Calendars – include things like children school holidays, public holidays, Australia Post deadlines, parties, where you will be for special meals, church services.   Schedule in when you will be baking items for Christmas so that it doesn’t all end up being done in a rush at the end – think about what can be cooked and frozen.  If you have visitors, diarise their stay.  Christmas is usually a time for over indulging so schedule in some fun physical activities to help keep healthy and don’t forget to schedule in R & R time and family fun, like home movie and game nights etc

 Budget – for meals, gifts (including wrapping paper, gift tags and any postage), entertainment etc- this will help you keep on track.

 

Guests– If you are having big family/friends gatherings over the festive season, have a tab for RSVPs

Chores – who will be doing which chores during the holidays and don’t forget the preparations – like cleaning out the fridge, freezer and pantry.  This could then be added to a calendar.  Share the cleaning tasks amongst everyone so that you don’t get lumbered with it all!  And spread the cleaning over the next three weeks – work backwards, for example schedule a date for decorating different areas and then schedule in the cleaning of that area before that.

Gift lists –  include family, friends, work and any kris kringles.  List all the occasions you want gifts for – don’t forget dinner pary host gifts.  Make a list of ideas for each person, especially if you are the ‘go to person’ for gift ideas (think about also having a column to add who is buying what so the gift reciever doesn’t end up with lots of the same thing).  This is a good place to also note dress or shoes sizes  if you are buying clothes, as well as favourite colours, animals etc.  It’s important not to forget yourself, how often do you think of things you would really like, but when you get asked the question, not one idea comes to mind!  Don’t forget stocking fillers.  Also think about getting a couple of extra gifts in, just in case an occasion occurs when you want to give a gift.  If you have gifts to send overseas, it’s a good idea to have a column to identify these as they will need to be sent earlier (like now!).  Would a Christmas Organiser be a good gift for someone….

Do you have a central hidey place to keep gifts?  This is great to make sure you don’t get double ups or end up finding gifts after Christmas!

If you haven’t already, make sure you post any oversea’s gifts or cards by this week – for more info  go to the Australia Post website

Christmas card list.  Do you have a list from last year or do you need to start one from scratch.  Go through your contact lists and start to jot down who you will be sending cards to.  Think about your Christmas cards – will it include a family update, photos, invitations? It’s a good idea to draft up a letter and recheck it in a couple of days before sending it out.    If you have cards to send overseas,  have a column to identify these as they will need to be sent earlier (…like now!).

As you receive Christmas cards from someone who wasn’t on your list – add them now, at least you won’t forget them next year!  If you get any ‘return to sender’ – make note to get the new address or remove them from your list.

Meals and Menus –Note where each festive meal will be held and start to plan your menus and have the family discussions of who is bringing which dish and note them in your Organiser.  Include recipes to try and family favourites (TIP: note where the recipes are kept if they are in a cookery book and can’t be kept in the Organiser).  Think about when you will be eating leftovers and include these in your plan.   Once you know your menu, check your pantry and note what ingredients you need to get in your shopping list. Do you need to bake anything for school or work Christmas parties?

Pre-order any seafood or poultry etc   If you are cooking something in your oven, make sure the size you order will fit in your oven.

If you make a Christmas fruit cake this usually needs to be made weeks in advance – if you haven’t already made it , do it this week.

Christmas groceries usually take up a lot of space in the fridge, freezer and pantry.  If this happens to you, start to prepare meals using up items to make room for Christmas foods and leftovers.

Shopping lists – include things like batteries/bulbs for any gifts or decorations that need them.  Also add stamps, Christmas cards if you don’t already have them and any gifts you have still need to get. As well as grocery shopping from your meals and menus…and edible delights!  Make sure you include staples and healthy snacks. This section will constantly change as things are bought and new things are thought of, so make sure you have a few lined pages behind this section all ready to start a new shopping list and rewrite any items that were not purchased from the previous list.

Entertainment – think about what games, music, movies to play.  If you have specific Christmas CD’s and DVD’s you might like to buy CD/DVD sleeves from somewhere like officeworks and keep the disks in the Organiser (or with your decorations).

Party planner – include any themes, food, decorations, entertainment, guest list and tracking RSVPs, send out a ‘save the date’ as soon as possible as Christmas calendars fill up quickly

Children’s activity ideas – note down a few different activities all ready for the kids to do on their own or the family together.

Personal section for each family member – you might find it easier to have a section for each family member.

Traditions – who are you celebrating with, are you a blended family with different traditions to remember.

Decorations – you could include ideas found in magazines, ideas for the table, if you have pictures of how to set up complicated Christmas displays, then keep it in your Organiser (or put them with the decorations).  List which decorations will be put in which room in your home and the outside area.

Create a simple system for recording gifts received by having a spreadsheet all ready.  That way on Christmas day, all you need to do is grab the spreadsheet and jot down gifts received and by whom to make sending thank you cards later easy.

 

Summary:

  1. Create your Christmas Organiser
  2. Collate information into the Organiser and complete lists and calendar
  3. Have one central place for gifts
  4. Draw any family Chris cringles
  5. Buy any gifts you still need to get
  6. Use up food in fridge, freezer and pantry to make room for Christmas food
  7. If you haven’t already…send your overseas cards and parcels
  8. Contact Finer Details if you live in the Perth area and need help

Read ‘2 weeks to Christmas’ tips

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