Holiday Countdown: Weeks Two to Four Article -
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Holiday Countdown: Weeks Two to Four

Tame the chaos of the holiday season and relax into December with this easy-to-follow holiday countdown.

Have you been following our "Holiday Countdown: Six Weeks to Sanity" plan? Use the following tips and make the most of the next three weeks.

Week 2: Planning and Organizing

  • Create a gift list, estimating prices to make sure you stay on budget. (Don’t forget wrapping and shipping add cost to each gift!) Divide the list into four categories:

  1. Gifts to be shipped
  2. Big-ticket or time-consuming gifts
  3. Gifts to be hand delivered
  4. Easy pick-ups

  • Talk with your family about your holiday card; choose a picture, theme, or style. Order or purchase supplies. If sending a letter, write a first draft and send it around the family for editing and revisions.
  • Take inventory of your holiday decorations. Does anything need to be replaced or updated?
  • Clean out closets and less used spaces like guest rooms.
  • Freeze two extra meals and make a few batches of cookie dough for the freezer.

Week 3: General Preparation

  • Start planning menus for holiday feasts and collect recipes. Make preparation schedules and grocery lists.
  • Begin working on the first group of gifts and pick up wrapping and packing supplies as needed. Pack gifts that are ready to ship, print labels and postage. (See side bar.)
  • Ship any gifts going internationally. (See side bar.)
  • Deep clean and organize high traffic areas.
  • Make and freeze two more batches of cookie dough and a few dinners.
  • Finalize the holiday card list and print labels or address envelopes. Finish and print letter, if using.

Week 4: Focus on Thanksgiving

  • Focus on preparing for Thanksgiving. Grocery shop early in the week and make as many dishes ahead of time as possible. For more great advice on planning for Thanksgiving, check out the Thanksgiving Planner: The Four Week Plan in our tips and advice section.
  • Polish silver, clean serving ware and china, if needed. Label each serving piece with its dish and place serving utensil with it. This will help others help you on the big day.
  • Use frozen meals on Tuesday and Wednesday to save time.
  • Relax and enjoy time with family and friends!
  • Complete any online ordering and catalog shopping for holiday gifts.
  • Make the best of Thanksgiving sales by shopping for big-ticket gifts.
  • After Thanksgiving, pack away your autumn decorations and bring out the holidays.

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