Christmas Countdown -- Your 30-day easy holiday planner
Christmas Countdown -- Tips to Prepare
Christmas doesn't have to be hectic and stressful if you: (1) Keep it simple, (2) Prepare properly, and (3) Get and stay organized.
The information provided on this page (30 Day Tips below) are my gift to you. Enjoy the season and make this your best Christmas ever for you and your family.
General Information --Advent & Christmas
Advent is the official Christmas Countdown. It is the term used for the 4 weeks (30 days) prior to the Christmas season to prepare. Notice I said Christmas "season." Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving and runs for 30 days up to Christmas Day. Christmas Day (December 25th) begins the "season" of Christmas.
Advent is a time to prepare yourself as well as your home. This year, try to simplify your celebration and take time to reflect on the meaning and the "reason for the season." You'll enjoy it more and stress less.
Remember the song "The 12 Days of Christmas?"
The Christmas season is not just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Christmas "season" officially begins on Christmas Day and runs for the 11 days that follow (a total of 12 days). The Christmas season ends after the 12th day (after the New Year begins).
Now you know!
30 Days Until ChristmasTips to Prepare
Many people start Christmas preparations far too early. Why? Typically because they do far too much. Try to simplify this year and you will have less stress and enjoy the season more.
Commercialism runs rampant at this time. TV, radio, magazines . . . all trying to get you to "spend, spend, spend." I'm not wanting to ruin merchant sales, but often we spend far more than is necessary.
Let's do a little planning . . . ready?
Christmas Countdown -- 30 Days Until Christmas -- Preparation Tips:
Christmas Countdown -- 4 Weeks Before Christmas:
- Calendaring Mark parties, concerts and tasks for the entire Advent and Christmas season for everyone on the family calendar. If you don't have a family calendar, make one now. Put it in a place where the entire family can see it. You won't miss a special event or party if everything is on the calendar.
Make sure to include in your planning time to clean, bake, wrap, decorate, and shop. Don't forget to reserve time to worship and spend time with your family.
- Cleaning If time and your schedule permits, do a more thorough cleaning than usual. Get everyone in the family to help. Don't forget about items such as ceiling fan blades. Wipe the walls down with an extended handle cleaning tool to get the dust bunnies off the walls. Don't forget to clean out your pantry, freezer and refrigerator.
- Gift Wrap Go through your gift wrap stash and take note of what you have on hand. Make a list of what you need to purchase. Throw away torn wrapping paper and bags. Get rid of crumpled bows. Purchase a gift wrap organizer to keep bags, wrap, bows, etc. neat and ready for use. Have everything all in one place and ready to go. It will help you breeze through the task with time to spare.
- Food & Recipes Plan what you will be cooking this holiday season. Get out your recipes. Check your pantry for ingredients you have on hand. Make a list of what you need to purchase. Purchase non-perishable items as far in advance as possible.
Get your baking pans and other cooking utensils out. Make sure they are clean and ready to use. Put them where they are easy to reach.
- Gifts Make your gift list and check it twice! Read advertising fliers. Search online for coupons. Shop early to get the best selections. If you purchase items online, make sure to do so far enough in advance to allow for slow delivery due to the holiday rush.
Purchase as much as possible in advance. Wrap gifts immediately. If your tree is already up, put the gifts under the tree. If not, be sure you put the gifts in a safe place (but remember where you put them)!
- Consider others In the spirit of Christmas, don't forget about those less fortunate. Get involved in an Angel Tree project for less fortunate children. Donate food to your local food bank. Make a thoughtful gift basket and visit an elderly neighbor who may be over-looked during the holidays. Make a cash donation to your favorite charity.
- Lights & Decorations Begin your decorating as soon as possible. Get out your decorations and sort through them. Get rid of lights that don't work. Throw away broken (non-sentimental) ornaments. Replace non-functioning bulbs on light strings. Replace the entire string with a fresh set, if necessary. Don't take chances! Many homes have been ruined by fire during the holidays by faulty lights and unattended candles.
Christmas Countdown -- 3 Weeks Before Christmas:
- Bake Ahead Many items can be baked and frozen ahead of time. Check freezer charts and freezer storage guidelines for help. Get out your recipes, ingredients and baking utensils. Make sure to have good quality freezer containers to store your baked goods in. Have plenty of aluminum foil, plastic zip bags and wax paper on hand. If frosting cookies, etc., make sure frosting is completely hard before stacking. Place wax paper between layers of cookies prior to freezing.
- Deck The Halls & Trim The Tree Get out those decorations. Put on some holiday music. Have hot chocolate or spiced cider on hand. Make it a family event. Get everyone involved . . . dad, mom, kids, grandparents, grandkids. Now deck those halls!
- Carry On Keep shopping and wrapping gifts, baking and freezing. Make sure to get plenty of help from family members. Don't forget to set aside time for special family events. Gathering around an Advent Wreath weekly to recall the events of Christmas and make beautiful memories for everyone.
Christmas Countdown -- 2 Weeks Before Christmas:
- Fill The Freezer Prepare as many "make-ahead" dishes as possible and freeze them. If unexpected company arrives, you'll be prepared.
- Fridge Follies Give your refrigerator another quick clean. Get rid of anything old and outdated. Wipe down the inside. Check out the tips on refrigerator cleaning for help.
- Grand Standing -- Make your front entryway special. Hang a wreath on the door. Sprays of greenery and bows make a pleasant display on fireplace mantels. Hang your up Christmas stockings. Put out some Poinsettias. Free up space in your hall closet for guest coats. Set out some Christmas scented potpourri. If using candles, don't leave them unattended.
Christmas Countdown -- 1 Week Before Christmas:
- Halt If you've planned ahead well, your shopping should be finished. Wrap those remaining gifts and set them under the tree.
- Finish Your deep cleaning chores. Complete your holiday baking.
- Complete Your holiday decorating.
Christmas Countdown -- 2 Days Before Christmas:
- Defrost If you've purchased your turkey or ham frozen, defrost now in the refrigerator. Don't defrost in the sink. See meat storage guidelines for tips on handling meat and defrosting.
- Caroling & Lights Go caroling with family, friends and church members. Take your family to see Christmas light displays.
- In the Mood Deliver charitable items to food bank, toy donation stations, etc. Play Christmas music along the way.
Christmas Countdown -- Christmas Eve Day:
You should be ready except for those last minute details:
- Last minute cleaning. Spray some air freshener. Light some candles.
- Have your Christmas music on hand to play in the background.
- Recheck packages for missing bows and tags -- replace if needed.
- Set the table tonight to save time tomorrow.
- If traveling to different houses for gift exchanges, divide the presents into areas by the locations they will be delivered to. Put the smaller items in tote bags so they won't be misplaced.
- Take out frozen baked goods to defrost. See freezer charts and freezer storage guidelines for more information.
- Attend Christmas Eve Services with your family.
Christmas Countdown -- Christmas Day
Your Christmas countdown is done, so . . .
If you didn't attend Church on Christmas Eve, worship with your family today. You're prepared, enjoy time with your family.
Consider adding some celebratory activities for the next 11 days and enjoy the "season" of Christmas.
Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!
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