If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to get organised and start planning for the holiday period as there’s just over 10 weeks to go until Christmas.
Can you believe it’s nearly here again already? Where did this year go?
We know it can seem a daunting task to factor in yet another thing into an already busy schedule, but time will tick by regardless of how busy we are, so it’s better to get organised now.
Yes, there’s a lot to think about. There’s gift buying, card sending, menu planning, theme/colours/decorations, getting the house and garden ready and all the other little tasks that make Christmas crazy. Don’t panic! If you spend a little time planning now, you’ll have everything you need to do written down, scheduled, and then it’s just a matter of ticking off the boxes as you go. Ten weeks might fly by incredibly fast, but it’s plenty of time to spread things out over and achieve everything you need to.
So, let’s start by breaking down the main tasks into bite-size pieces.
This is where the budget can blow out big time. If you leave things until the last minute, you can panic and overspend. So, preparation is key!
Start by writing down everyone that you want to buy for. Include your partner, kids, workplace Secret Santa, your pets, kids’ teachers etc.
Next, set a realistic budget for each person on that list. If you don’t have a Christmas fund, then look at how many pays you have before Christmas, factor in household expenses and allocate a portion of any money leftover towards each gift. If pennies are tight, then get creative with your gifts. The internet is a fantastic resource and so many creative people love to share their creative, thrifty gift ideas with the world. Use their ideas to inspire you.
If you get started on your shopping now, then do lots of research online. You have plenty of time to shop for the best bargains and have them delivered to you in plenty of time before Christmas.
Whatever budget you set, make sure you stick to it! Don’t allow any guilt to creep in and tempt you to overspend or purchase gifts on credit. So many people get into horrible debt at Christmas, then start the new year financially behind. It really isn’t worth it. Remember, Christmas is about spending time with the people you love, not how many gifts are under the tree.
Food is another area where you can blow the budget and find yourself reaching for the credit card. But this area is something that can be organised well ahead of time with a little planning and thought.
In your planning, cover the following points:
- How many people are you catering for? Know your numbers to avoid under and over catering.
- What kind of gathering will you have? If it’s a small party, you may prefer a sit-down meal. If you’re catering for 50, a buffet or finger food might be more appropriate.
- What do you want to serve that’s in line with your budget? If you have a lot of people to feed, then a large Christmas ham and a variety of salads will be a thriftier option than prawn cocktails and lobsters.
- Don’t forget to include drinks and nibbles.
- Write down any baking you’d like to do.
- If you have guests staying with you, don’t forget to include this in your planning. You’ll need to plan extra meals and stock up on the toilet paper.
Next, break down the above into ingredients/items to buy and write them down on a shopping list. Looking at this list, you can then break it down further into 3 parts:
- Items you can add to your regular weekly/fortnightly shop.
- Items you can purchase now and make ahead of time.
- Items that need to be purchased a few days out from Christmas.
Spreading the cost of food over the next 10 weeks can make a huge difference. An extra $20 spent on items off your shopping list each week means you’ll have $200 worth of food packed away ready for Christmas.
If you’re able to plan your menu to include foods your able to make ahead of time and freeze, this will save you a tonne of time closer to the day. Let’s face it, it’s always hectic come December with Christmas parties and family dropping in. You’ll be glad you were so organised in October and November with food ready to heat and eat.
This has always been a huge time saver with me. I like to make sausage rolls and mini pies ahead of time and freeze. I whip up a batch now over the weekend, pop them in the freezer and then they’re ready to go when it gets busy in December. You can also do this with your baking. Homemade mince pies can be frozen, and pretty much any biscuit dough can be wrapped tightly and frozen. Just defrost and bake as normal. A fantastic go-to for when guests drop by.
We have so handy recipes and tips on what you can make ahead of time and freeze here.
No one likes having to do this but it has to be done – but let’s not go crazy here people. Your home does not have to be picture perfect. Remember, people you love are coming to see you and your family, not to look at your home.
If you do have larger cleaning tasks you like to have done before Christmas, then write down everything that you want to achieve. For example, cleaning the dishwasher, wiping out the fridge, organising the pantry etc. It’s a simple matter of then scheduling these tasks at least 2 weeks prior to Christmas. Don’t leave them until the last minute. Your dishwasher is not going to get super dirty in 3 weeks. Yes, your kids will probably find clean windows a challenge and will set about touching every pane with dirty fingers, but let’s face it – they’re small and the smudges will all be under 1.2m high.
All you then need to do is your regular weekly clean, with a final vaccum and bathroom wipe down the evening before your event.
Gardening is so easy to overlook until you step outside 3 days from Christmas and realise there’s a jungle taking over the backyard and now there’s nowhere to play bocce. But just like everything else – plan, schedule and execute.
Look at what you want to get done. Be realistic, you don’t need to completely landscape your backyard. Some things that can be done now are:
- de-cobweb the outdoor living area
- give the bbq a good clean and refill the gas bottle
- install some outdoor lighting
- give the area a general tidy up
- plant some potted colour
- top up the mulch in the garden beds
- fertilise your plants and give them a drink of Seasol
Then, a week before Christmas give your lawns a mow, trim the edges and your garden will look great.
So, this weekend sit down and start planning. Christmas can be busy and stressful, but you’ll feel relaxed and in control if you take the time now to get organised.
Tip. Make sure you take 5 minutes each week to check back over your list to ensure you’re on track. Life can be messy and unpredictable at the best of times so, it’s important to check to see how you’re going and adjust to suit what is happening in your life at the present moment. Doing this will ensure that you stay on top of your to-do list and keep your plan on track.
If you’re looking for some handy templates to help you get organised and plan for the holidays, check out our Organisation Template bundle in our online shop.