Christmas Timetable

When you wait until the last minute to shop for gifts, decorate the house, bake cookies, and send greeting cards — you are guaranteed to have a stressful holiday. But with a little planning and an early start, you can get it all done with plenty of time and energy to spare.

1 Year To 6 Months Before

Checkmark-Iconbegin developing a potential gift list — each family member’s wants, sizes, color preferences, etc.

Xmark-Iconshop ahead of time for gifts on sale throughout the year

Checkmark-Iconbookmark websites and cut pages from catalogs for gift ideas

Xmark-Iconstart looking for holiday travel ideas and deals on accommodations

August Or September

Checkmark-Iconset up a “gift center” — store wrap, tags, scissors, tape, and gifts all in one location

Xmark-Iconset up your address list on the computer to print labels for mailing gifts and cards

Checkmark-Iconfinalize your travel plans — have all tickets purchased, reservations made, itinerary laid out

By October

Xmark-Iconbuy holiday cards if you didn’t shop on sale after last Christmas

Checkmark-Iconif you are sending customized cards, design and order or print

Xmark-Iconorder copies of any photos you want to include with your cards

Early November

Checkmark-Iconset aside time to fill out holiday cards and write your annual letter

Xmark-Iconbuy stamps and other mailing supplies

Checkmark-Iconprint your address labels

Xmark-Iconplan menus for holiday meal and other parties

Checkmark-Iconcreate your supply lists for baking, entertaining, and special dinners

Late November

Xmark-Iconassemble and mail your cards — go to a coffee shop for the afternoon and make it fun

Checkmark-Iconfinish up any last-minute gift shopping and begin wrapping gifts

Xmark-Icondecide which holiday traditions you will skip this year — schedule in those activities that are a priority

Checkmark-Iconstart unpacking lights, ornaments, etc. — begin putting up household decorations

Xmark-Iconbegin shopping for baking, cooking, and entertaining supplies

Start Of December

Checkmark-Iconorganize your social calendar for the month

Xmark-Iconmail Christmas cards

Checkmark-Icondecorate the Christmas tree

Xmark-Iconfinish shopping for baking, cooking, and entertaining supplies

Checkmark-Iconmail gifts to out-of-town friends and family

Xmark-Iconbake cookies or other holiday goodies

Throughout The Holidays

Checkmark-Iconenjoy the season!

When Christmas Is Over

Xmark-Iconreview cards you received to update your address list

Checkmark-Iconpack up your decorations

Xmark-Iconmake note of recipes you particularly enjoyed this year

Checkmark-Iconreview what worked and what didn’t this holiday — make note of what you will change next year

Xmark-Iconshop for wrap, cards, decorations, and gifts for next year on sale

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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