How Holiday Checklists Can Save Your Sanity

holiday checklist

Making a holiday checklist can save you time and worry (photo credit:

The holiday season is a whirlwind of activity filled with presents, wrapping paper, events, food, and lots of parties.  Start the season off on the right foot by doing a little pre-planning and creating a few holiday checklists to help keep your head above the fray as the holiday happenings begin.  Here are some tips for checklists that might be helpful, how to create your own checklists, and how to use them to maintain your sanity throughout the season.

Holiday Decorating

Nothing gets people in the holiday spirit faster than decking the halls and decorating the tree.  Make decorating this year (and every year after) a snap by creating a holiday decorating checklist.  This checklist can be used by everyone in the family to help get the decorating done.  Some things you might want to include on your Holiday Decorating Checklist:

Outdoor Decorations

  • Wreaths for the doors
  • Lights for the house
  • Lights for the yard
  • Inflatable or other figurines for the yard
  • Extension cords and light timer
  • Decorations for the mailbox

Indoor Decorations

  • Christmas tree including lights, garland, ornaments, and tree topper
  • Tree Skirt
  • Stockings
  • Poinsettias
  • Lights, garland, and other decorations for doorways and staircase banisters
  • Nativity scene
  • Holiday tableware
  • Other holiday decorations

Holiday Party Checklist

Whether you are hosting a formal sit down dinner or simply having friends and family drop by for a Holiday Open House, good planning can be the difference between a disaster and a delightful day.  Using timeframes to organize your checklist will help make sure you have enough lead time to get everything you need done ahead of time so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your guests.  Here are some ideas for organizing and populating your Holiday Party Checklist:

Two Weeks Prior to the Party

  • Pull out any special linens, tableware, dishes, and glasses you will be using and get them washed and ready to use.
  • Make a shopping list of everything you will need and buy anything non-perishable.
  • Begin making ahead any food items that can be frozen.

During the Week Leading Up to the Party

  • Clean the whole house.
  • Purchase any remaining food items.
  • Do any food prep that can be done ahead of time.
  • Set the table or set up the buffet.
  • Rearrange any furnishings necessary to create your party space.

On the Day Before the Party

  • Finish any remaining food prep.
  • Do any additional cleaning.
  • Finish setting up the party area including setting the table, setting up a bar area, or creating a coat area.

On the Day of the Party

  • Do a final walkthrough of the house, clean or touch up wherever necessary.
  • Get yourself ready.
  • Put out appetizers and hors d’oeuvres.
  • Have a glass of wine and get ready to greet your guests.

Christmas Countdown Checklist

While it is very likely that it is too late in the season for a Christmas Countdown Checklist to be helpful for this year, it is the perfect time to create one to use for next year.  Figuring out what worked and what didn’t and what you want to do better or differently next year is the easiest when you are in the midst of the meltdown caused by this year’s mistakes.  Take a few minutes to gather your thoughts and create a Christmas Countdown Checklist for next year that will smooth out your entire holiday season.

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