Holiday Planning Timeline

Y’all. It’s here. The holiday season! I am SO, SO excited! I am one of those really strict people who chooses to ignore the Christmas decorations/music/lights in Target or on the homes of my neighbors until I see Santa rolling down the streets of NYC at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade… like, he’s giving the green light to move forward with Christmas… and yesterday around noon, I saw what I had been waiting for!

And even though, I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with the Christmas season, I am ALSO one of those people who is always so caught up in whatever I’m doing at the beginning of December (aka panicking over finals), that the holiday season totally catches me off guard every. single. year. You would think I would be more prepared because, you know, it literally happens annually on the same day. But I always end up being one of those people out searching frantically for something on December 23rd.

You, too? Oh, of course not. You probably have your life together like a normal person. But just in case you don’t… and we’re in this crazy love/hate relationship with the Christmas season together, here is a little holiday timeline that can keep us on track this year (maybe)!

November 28-30: Decorate for Christmas

Get your decorations out of storage (or the holiday aisle at Target) and decide where you want everything to go! Last year, we literally had no good place to put our tree. For whatever reason, whoever designed our living room felt the need to put something on every single wall so we had no choice to put the tree in a high-traffic area. This year, however, we have the perfect corner in our living area and I am SO happy about that! It’s just easier to decorate anything if you go in with a plan!

December 1-4: Finalize Gift Ideas

So, because you are SUCH a good daughter/friend/girlfriend/mom/wife, you’ve probably been thinking about what to get for all of the sweet people in your life while pinning a few thousand gift hints for them, right? Take the first few days in December to go over your Christmas gift budget and to finalize all of those gift ideas! Some people make it really easy by asking for super specific things (like my husband), while other people (mostly girls) are just happy with anything pretty and/or thoughtful!

December 5-7: Order Gifts Online

Every year, I vow to only do my Christmas shopping online. And every year, I end up fighting a Christmas-crazed crowd at the mall because I waited too long to order online gifts. However, this is the year for me to accomplish my 100% online shopping goal! I just know it! I feel like 20 days out is sufficient time to order something and not be sweating two days before Christmas, hoping that it arrives on time! Plus, if we do enough planning ahead of time, we can probably catch some awesome deals, too!

Most places ship pretty quickly around the holidays. They know that you’re busy. And they know that they’re busy. And they know that everyone wants what they ordered as soon as possible! Plus, sometimes that 3-day shipping is just worth the extra few dollars! Also, if you have a significant other who loves to snoop live in a place that’s difficult to deliver packages to (like an apartment or a dorm), consider having your deliveries sent to a friend/parent’s address and just pick them up when you’ll have time to wrap them!

(And if you already have all of your Christmas shopping finished… I can’t hear about it. I just can’t.)

December 8-11: Pick Up Remaining Gifts

If you have to physically pick something up from a store, use these days to do it! They are weekdays but school isn’t out yet (here, anyway), so the holiday-retail-chaos should be at a minimum. Also, pick up all of those little stocking-stuffers now, too! One less thing to do closer to Christmas! 

December 12-14: Wrap Gifts

I don’t know how the gift-wrapping process will work for us this year. At our old house, my husband and I would lock ourselves into our spare bedroom armed with a wide variety of wrapping paper and Pandora Christmas stations when it was time to wrap each other’s gifts. This year… living in a loft with no walls (and no doors) will be a little more of a challenge. If you’ll have to secure a secret location ahead of time (like I may have to), then go ahead and set that up now! Or maybe a gift-wrapping party would be a fun excuse to drink wine get together with girlfriends and finally try out some of those cute gift wrapping ideas you’ve been seeing on Pinterest all year long! 

December 15-18: Prep for Holiday Parties

Because this is the week of the weekend before Christmas, it is prime-holiday-party-time! So, be prepared! Even if you aren’t planning on doing anything, put together a couple of perfect holiday party outfits and stock up on a hostess gift or two… just in case! Best Case Scenario: You won’t show up to any party empty handed. Worst Case Scenario: You end up with a new outfit and some extra cookies/ flowers/ wine the week before Christmas. Hmm… whatever to do with that? 

December 19-21: Be Ready to Party

Hello! This is the weekend before Christmas! You will have friends in town! Or YOU will be the friend that’s in town! You don’t want to spend that time trying to finish your last minute errands or wrapping presents. You’ll want to have all of your “work” done so that you can celebrate stress-free!

December 22-25: Savor the Season

If you’ve read more than 2 posts on this blog, I’m sure you’ve seen me mention Happify. One of their 5 components to happiness (and that’s according to science) is savoring the random, regular, imperfect moments throughout your days! So even if you didn’t get every perfect gift for every person, or things didn’t turn out quite like Pinterest said they would, or you didn’t have time to complete everything on your to-do list… IT’S OKAY. 
Things are things and one day they’ll probably end up in a yard sale anyway. Beatifully wrapped presents are nice to look at but all that paper will eventually end up in a trash can (or in my family’s case, in the fireplace as I stand a safe distance away, cell phone in hand, ready to call 911). No one will judge you 10 years from now if you showed up to their party without a hostess gift (or if you drank all the wine you brought as your hostess gift. Guilty.). But they will remember how you acted, what you did, and most importantly: How you made them feel! 
Holidays are about spending time with who you love! So, put your phone away for a few hours and just do that! 🙂 
SO, what about you? What kind of timeline do you follow for the holiday season? Are you one of those people who has all of your shopping done by early September or are you a last-minute shopper? Are you going home for the holidays? If not, what are you doing instead? 

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