This is the ninth post in a year-long series all about taking baby steps to prepare for a stress-free Christmas. Here’s what to do in November to get ready for Christmas!
For most people, mid-November is probably what they consider the start of their Christmas season. As we all know, for a lot of us with a lot of little things to do during this time, starting all of your preparations in November can be a bit of a disaster. This is why we’ve been working all year to do a little at time to make this time of year a little less stressful. If you’ve been following along with me, you probably have quite a bit done already, but you may still be feeling like there’s a lot left on your list to do before December rolls around. We’re going to take a lot of those things off our plates this month. We’ll get to see all of our plans starting to come together and it’s going to be great. It will still be a busy month, but it will be more of a fun, high-energy kind of busy, rather than stressful and scary like you’ve maybe experienced in the past. So let’s get to it!
How This Works
Every month, I’ll share a short list of three to five actionable items. These will be little baby steps that you can take care of to get some of the tasks you might normally find yourself doing in December done well ahead of time. The goal here is to free you up to actually enjoy the holiday season as much as possible and to leave some time for things like spontaneous baking, winter walks with the family, fun decor projects, and things like that without making you feel stressed out about all the stuff you’re putting off doing, because all of the “have to do” stuff will already be done!
How I did in October
October was a good month for me, which was extra refreshing after missing entire months of progress earlier in the year with all of our lockdowns and whatnot. I did a pretty great job of getting ideas finalized for a lot of people on my list, and I even got quite a few things ordered for them, so some of my giftees are already completely taken care of. I started with my wrapping and even though I didn’t managed to get something wrapped every day, I have a handful of things already wrapped and I’ll definitely be thanking myself for that later. Every little bit helps during December chaos. I’m going to keep working on that one though, of course!
Baking ingredients have been purchased a little at a time with each grocery order, and when I see something on sale, I order extra. I have my pumpkin puree already for next year’s pumpkin pie for Canadian Thanksgiving in October! Another little benefit to this strategy that I’ve discovered is that sometimes my grocery store is out of a certain ingredient that I intend to buy one week. Since I’m buying things before I’ll actually need them, I’m able to just add something else from my baking list on to that order and try the out-of-stock ingredient the following week. If I was buying these things right as I needed them, I’d be forced to run all over town trying different stores to get what I needed, but that’s just not necessary this way because I have time to try again. Love it! 🙂
What to do in November to Prepare for Christmas
For us super prepared people :), November is what we’re going to count as our “last minute”. We’ll probably be tackling a lot of the things that you might have started thinking about previously in the final days just before Christmas. It’s going to feel good!
Plan Christmas Dinner and Start Buying Ingredients
In the name of efficiency, feel free to piggyback on any American Thanksgiving dinner plans that you’ve already made that you’re really excited about. There’s a good chance that no one will mind if you repeat a favourite side dish or two. Just buy double of any non-perishable ingredients and keep them in the house until Christmas dinner. For the rest of the meal, make a plan for what the meal is going to look like, as well as any other “special” meals you like to have like a Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas morning breakfast, and things like that. You might be surprised to see that this plan can come together in as little as 15 minutes once you sit down and actually start writing.
This year, why not consider doing your decorating a little at a time rather than burning yourself out and making a mess of your house by trying to do it all in one day? Start with the first layer: The garlands, wreaths, and the trees, and then layer everything else on a little at a time. If you don’t like to start decorating until the very end of the month, take some time to do a little decor planning and pick up a few new decor items if you need them (except for real trees and greenery) so you’ll have everything you need in the house when the time comes.
Start Baking and Freezing
Baking and freezing one recipe per week will get you a full freezer by the week of Christmas if you start now! Here’s my Christmas baking wishlist for this year, how I decided on what to bake, and how I plan to get it done without stress.
Put Together Your Advent Calendar
Double check everything you’ve picked up for any advent calendars you do and make sure you have what you need to fill it up. Pro tip: Co-ordinate with your elf’s plans to see if maybe he can help you out with a day here and there if he has any gifts he’d like to leave for the kids. Once you’re sure you’re all set, get everything wrapped (if needed) and placed in the pockets of your advent calendar. My gifts never fit in there, so I just make up a little card for each day with an Xmas symbol, then I draw the same symbol on that days gifts in a big basket so the kids can find they’re gift for that day. All of this is much easier when I buy everything ahead of time like I did this year because I don’t also need to run all over the place trying to decide what in the world I want to get for 48 tiny individual gifts.
This is the advent calendar we use and we absolutely love it. Pottery Barn Kids puts out a few different versions every year, but they always have at least one classic Christmas tree version similar to this. You can find this year’s here.
Do the Last of Your Shopping on Black Friday/Cyber Monday
I find it works really well if I try to have the biggest chunk of my shopping done by mid-November-ish and then just pick up a few remaining things during the sales at the end of the month. I find that if I don’t do any gift buying that weekend, then I kind of feel silly because there really are some good sales, especially for clothing items and things like that. Even with slower shipping times from higher sales volumes, I find everything still gets delivered in plenty of time for me to wrap up a few final packages before that last week before Christmas. So take advantage of a few sales, feel good about it, and just enjoy knowing that after that, you’ll be totally done.
MORE IDEAS LIKE THIS
- What to do in January to Prepare for Next Christmas
- What to do in October to Prepare for Next Christmas
- The Five Reasons Why Your Christmas Decor Doesn’t Look Quite Right
- My Top Ten Simple Christmas Decor Ideas Using Things You Already Have
- The Creek Line House Christmas Idea Archives
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