Without losing your mind. Zen thoughts, people.
If you’re anything like us, everyday life is stressful enough as is, without throwing in nightly punch-fueled “celebrations,” a credit card bill long enough to put our accountants into early retirement, and two days of solid family time with only the bathroom as sanctuary (never have we taken such time with our morning routines). But we are adults (so our driver’s licenses would have bartenders think) and thus it is time to reign in all holiday-related stress and simply plan. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that there are cards to be written and cookies to be baked (and eaten)—we mean, we only do it every year.
Herein is our handy-dandy week-by-week holiday planner. If you’re feeling really adult, print it out, check off each item one by one, feel wholly and completely satisfied, and enjoy those cookies stress-free (as well as all those other lovely moments that that holidays are actually about).
— 5 Weeks —
(BTW that’s this week!!! :running:)
:heavy_check_mark: Make a list of everyone you’re feeling generous towards this year (last night’s Tinder date does not make the cut). Then separate that list into three: cards (for acquaintances, colleagues and frequented service providers like estheticians and hair dressers); small presents (friends, bosses, distant, but still very much present, family); presents (all the important people).
:heavy_check_mark: Purchase holiday cards. Buy extras—you never know who might come walking into your life and desperately require Hallmark-ing.
:heavy_check_mark: Put together a calendar; gather invitations; write down appointments and leave space because more invitations are probably coming. And leave more space because on top of all the champagne bars that are just begging to be crashed there are important people to see like family and real friends. And that’s who the holidays are really about.
:heavy_check_mark: Create a budget and set a limit for yourself. We find it helpful to divide it further into categories like entertainment, gifts and personal, so you really know what you’re getting yourself into. And stick to it. (More on how not to go broke this holiday coming soon.)
— 4 Weeks —
:heavy_check_mark: Write your holiday cards. Mail them. There is little that is more satisfying in life than actually writing your down on paper and putting a stack of mail in the mailbox. Plus, it really shows you care. Holiday spirit guys!
:heavy_check_mark: Start sussing the sales. And the stores. Post Black Friday, there’s probably a lot left over; and if you have the patience, pick through it now. Or better yet, start creating a wish list on your favorite e-commerce sites (wish lists for gifts for other people, come on, guys).
:heavy_check_mark: Pick one or two “small gifts” (see Week 5) that you can give to close colleagues, your boss, friends, etc. A scented candle or a great bottle of Malbec will pretty much please everyone. Buy in bulk. Done and done.
:heavy_check_mark: Shop for yourself. Yes, this is when we advise that you stay true to your selfish impulses and buy yourself a party dress, a piece of jewelry (or four) and some shoes. But they should be versatile—the idea is that you actually wear them to your many holiday engagements and mix and match with what’s already in your wardrobe.
— 3 Weeks —
:heavy_check_mark: Get your holiday shopping at least halfway done. We say buy for the most important people first. Get one thing for each of them, buy for the, ahem, less important people, and then if you still have some $$$ left (remember that budget?) go back and get a little extra something for the person on the top of your list.
:heavy_check_mark: If you’re hosting any holiday shindigs big or small or attending a pot luck, figure out exactly what you’ll need that you don’t have already. Be resourceful: your friend (or your mom) probably has the candle stick/punch bowl/table cloth that you’re looking for.
:heavy_check_mark: Decorate. This is a moveable check depending on your level of personal commitment to the holiday season. At least put a wreath on your door, though.
— 2 Weeks —
:heavy_check_mark: Finish your shopping. We know, we know, the big day is still two weeks out, but if you can finish now, you’re pretty much Superwoman. And we salute you.
:heavy_check_mark: Are you cooking for the holidays like a real adult? (Kudos, though.) Sort through the recipes you’ve been pinning for the past six months and decide what you’re going to make (may we suggest these and these).
:heavy_check_mark: Hand out any outstanding, hand deliverable holiday cards to colleagues and all the important service men and women in your life (doormen, hair dresser, landlord… the list goes on). And don’t forget a healthy holiday tip for the latter.
— 1 Week —
:heavy_check_mark: Seriously, though. Finish your shopping.
:heavy_check_mark: If you’re making any baked goods this season, now is the time!
— 2 Days —
:heavy_check_mark: Buy any ingredients needed for the dish you’re contributing to your family meal. We called the punch this year, but that’s just us.
:heavy_check_mark: If there’s anything you’ve really left last minute, join the hoards at the mall or order pressies on Amazon or Net-A-Porter and run the risk of them arriving on Boxing Day. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
— 1 Day —
:heavy_check_mark: Nothing you can do now! Help the stress wash over you with an extra strong eggnog and start worrying about your New Years Eve plans.
Happy Holidays everyone!