Santa does it, why don't you?
Make a list & check it twice!
The holiday season is filled with things to make lists for. Here are the ones I make each and every year.
1. Christmas cards
I start my list with the one from last year. I cross off anyone I no longer want to send a card to (such as relatives who are no longer with us or people I just don't keep in touch with anymore). And I quickly write down anyone new to add (new friends from playgroup). Next I do a quick look through my address book and make sure I haven't missed anyone.
I actually don't do this at the holidays. I usually do it in January so I can plan how much to move to my special Christmas savings account each month to meet my goal. But that total dollar amount is divided up into categories and within the categories, into individual pieces. My categories are: travel, tips, gifts for our kids, gifts for ourselves (my husband & I), gifts for family, shipping (our family lives out of town), and decorations. I need to add a category for food.
3. Gifts to Purchase
Once you have a budget you can have some idea of what kind of gifts you want to purchase. This list is best maintained throughout the year. When you think of someone on your list, jot it down here so you can come back to it in November or December. Write down the name of every person you plan to buy gifts for and next to their name your budgeted amount for them. As you purchase things. Write those down underneath their name and adjust your budget down.
4. Wish List
This is a fun list to make. What do you want? Write it down so when people ask you remember what to tell them and don't just say "oh, I don't need anything." They know you don't need anything but they want to get you something. And they want to get you something you'll like. So be kind and give them suggestions.
5. Decorating Planner
This is for your base decorations. The things you plan to put up and leave up. As you put things away this year, make a list of what you need to buy for next year's decorations.
6. Party/Event Menu
Hosting the family New Year's Eve party? Make your menu early and buy things while they are on sale.
7. Advent Activities Calendar
Many families like to celebrate the coming of Christmas by planning a unique activity for each day in the month of December. Write them down. Have your kids help make the list. This can also turn into a great craft if you (or the kids) want to make it something that can be interactive.
One great place to look for all the lists you didn't know you needed is List PlanIt. Their Holiday ePlanner is a great way to get started if you feel a little overwhelmed. At just $7 it is an inexpensive investment in your sanity!