I’m so excited to share 5 of My Top Holiday Planning Tips with you! And I’ve created the cutest FREE Christmas Planner to help us prepare with less stress! I hope you love it & are blessed by it too! By tackling just a few tasks daily, we can be sure our homes and hearts reflect the beauty and peace of the season! So grab your Free Christmas Planner Printables (it also includes Thanksgiving) & let’s talk Holiday Planning–I’ve got 5 Tips that really help me, and I hope will help you too!
Tip #1: “Cruising Through the Holidays”
When I discovered the FlyLady 20 years ago, I desperately needed help getting my home organized and establishing some housekeeping routines. She’s been instrumental in helping me get a handle on housework–and on how I view housework (and myself)! FLY–stands for Finally Loving Yourself…She knows what it’s like to get overwhelmed by a messy house and then beat yourself up over it…She’s been there, done that–and overcome! You can learn all about how I use the FlyLady system here! (Her system is free–and as much as I love her, I think her website can be a bit hard to navigate & she sends a lot of emails! Don’t let that stop you from exploring all that she has to offer! You won’t regret it!
Anyway–in addition to helping us build regular routines, the FlyLady knows how overwhelming the holidays can be–especially for moms! (And especially for procrastinating moms!!) She tackles the procrastination problem by starting holiday prep early…So every year in mid-October, she shares short daily missions that prepare us for the holidays by December 1st! She calls it “Cruising through the Holidays”… (Because we pretend that we’re all leaving for a lovely cruise on December 1st and all our Christmas prep must be done before we leave! She’s nothing if not fun!!)
And you may think it’s all a bit corny, but truly her mantras–like: “Nothing says I love you like clean underwear…” still make me smile while I’m sorting through the laundry!
How do the “Cruising Missions” help me?
You can find her Cruising through the Holiday Missions Here! I don’t follow them perfectly or every day–but I try my best! And they do get me in the mindset of preparing for Christmas NOW! (Versus procrastinating and panicking–my old standby!!)
Here are some examples:
- If I see baking supplies on sale–I grab them now. (Even if they aren’t on sale–I like to pick up a few things so I spread out the expenses!)
- I snag some tape when I walk by it at the store. (Instead of waiting to realize I don’t have any 3 nights before Christmas!!)
- If I see the perfect gift or stocking stuffer–I get it NOW.
- I’m checking to see what wrapping supplies I have left over from last Christmas.
- I begin planning my holiday menus.
I love working with the goal to be done with my shopping by December 1st! (Now–I need to be better about wrapping the gifts as they arrive! That’s my goal for this year!!)
My planner includes weekly planning pages so you can break down your holiday tasks:
Tip #2: Keep Your Holiday Recipes in One Place
One of the best tips the FlyLady gives in her “Cruising Through the Holidays” series is to put all your holiday recipes in one place–basically create your own Holiday Cookbook!
This has been a HUGE help to me over the years! I just print the recipes I love & use year after year, and stick them in a 3-Ring Binder. (I’ve got a few old ripped pages from cookbooks in there too!) I can’t imagine how much time and stress this has saved me over the years!
And now it’s become like a little time capsule–I store old menus and notes from past Thanksgivings & Christmases–and all our favorite holiday cookie recipes…I treasure my beat-up and well-loved Holiday Recipe Binder!
I’ve included Christmas & Thanksgiving Menu Pages in the planner:
Tip #3: Make a Cooking Schedule
This is super helpful for a few reasons…
First of all, you don’t have to keep running through the schedule in your mind–you figure it out once, and then you’re done. Secondly, it helps you to be sure that you can actually make all the dishes you want to make in the time and space you’ve got! (Our ovens only hold so many things and can only be set to one temperature at a time! Nothing like needing to roast Brussels sprouts at 425 degrees when you’re making sweet potato casserole at 350 degrees! )
Thinking through all the details beforehand gives such peace of mind!
I learned this trick from Ina Garten (LOVE her so much)…In her fabulous cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, she explains:
When I’m making a schedule, I work backward. If guests are arriving at 11:00 a.m. and I want to serve breakfast at 11:30, then the frittata has to come out of the oven at 11:25. Since it bakes for 50 minutes, I know it has to go into the oven at 10:35 and the oven has to go on at 10:15.
This is exactly the way I plan for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners–I work backward and plan out even when to turn on the oven!
You’ll find dinner plan/scheduling pages in the Free Christmas Planner Printables! (+Thanksgiving)
Tip #4: Prep in Advance as Much as Possible
I really want to be present and enjoy the holidays with my family–so I try to do as much prep work as possible in advance!
The day before Thanksgiving is my big cooking day!
Early Christmas Eve (or even the day before) I’m making side dishes so I’m not cooking on Christmas Day.
Many recipes will let you know if you can make it in advance–if so–do it!! Most side dishes can be prepped at least the night before–it really helps take some of the stress off!
In addition–setting the table early is incredibly helpful! It also helps me to see that I have enough plates, glasses, silverware, and even seats (we have a large crowd)! It also prevents me from dirtying up silverware & dishes while I’m cooking that I actually want to use for serving the meal…
Tips #5: Save Money (and frustration) & Spread Out the Expenses
When I’m in the mindset of preparing for Christmas, I get things I know I’ll need while I’m out doing my regular errands and shopping…I love it because I’m able to take advantage of sales–and get the gifts & decorations I want before they’re all picked over (or gone). But I also really appreciate that the expenses get spread out over a few months–and not all dumped into just a few weeks.
Simplify & Enjoy the Season
The surprising gift of planning and preparing for Christmas and the holidays early–is that it actually creates space for a simpler and calmer Christmas Season.
I’m sure to make time and space for activities and traditions we love–and also give myself grace and permission to say no to other things…
There’s so much fighting for our attention during the holidays–a little planning and early preparation has really helped me keep my focus on Jesus, my family, and the beauty of the season
Other Holiday Posts You May Enjoy:
Jesse Tree Christmas Tradition (My favorite way to celebrate Advent with my kids!)
FREE Christmas Copywork (multiple ages–scriptures and quotes from favorite Christmas stories)
Grab Your Free Christmas Planner Printables (+Thanksgiving) in My Free Subscriber Resource Library–and if you’re not a subscriber–I’d love to have you…
You can subscribe & get your Free Holiday Planner (26 Pages) HERE:
I hope you love the FREE Christmas Planner Printables–and that they’re a blessing to you over the next few months!
Wishing you a Joyful Christmas Season–filled with Love, Wonder, and Peace!
P.S. I love helping homeschool moms create plans that work for them! Don’t miss my Homeschool Lesson Planner!