holiday planningDo you get anxious every year as we approach the holiday season? Perhaps when you begin to see Christmas ads in your mailbox, or holiday displays in stores that you frequent. Retailers seem to start earlier and earlier every year, sometimes before Halloween.

It can be overwhelming, and a reminder that you better start your holiday planning so you will be ready for this festive time of year. It can be a stressful time.

There are gifts to make or purchase, some that may need to be sent to loved ones in another state or country. Possibly greeting cards to mail, or if you are hosting a get together, menu’s to plan, meals to prepare, decorations to put up and a house to clean.

So, how do you know where to start? Lists are a great place to begin your holiday planning, and the sooner the better. Use lists that you used last year and modify them for this year’s circumstances. As the days pass, things in our lives change and that affects our holiday planning and consequently, our lists. Below are some examples of lists you may need for your preparations.

• Gifts to purchase
• Greeting cards to send
• Events to attend
• Meals to prepare – shopping list for ingredients
• Decorations to put up – inside and outside
• Cleaning

Now that you have your lists prepared, the next step is to schedule activities to get everything done. Scheduling all these activities will ensure that with your busy schedule, everything gets done in time to enjoy the festivities and keep your stress level minimal.

There are different ways to create a schedule from your lists. One way is to use a paper calendar and mark the dates for each activity, based on when they need to complete. This way requires you to keep your paper calendar with you or hang it in a central location so you know what you need to do when.

In this age of all things electronic, another way is to schedule your activities on your phone, or other electronic device. The benefit to this is that you will get an audible alarm at the time you schedule an activity. So, use whatever tool that works best for you to get your lists created and scheduled so you can minimize your stress and enjoy the upcoming holidays!