Be determined to get organized ahead of the holiday season this year. We discuss 10 things you can do in November to reduce stress in December. Practical, unique, and clutter-free gift ideas; simple do-ahead recipes; tradition ideas; decor and more. Download our free printable calendars below to start charting your course toward a more meaningful and relaxed holiday. The definition of Christmas insanity is to wait until the last minute to prepare. Join Chelle in her quest for a sweat-free season of joy. 🙂 Your relatives will thank you. Listen now!
- Schedule a time to take a family photo. Don’t feel like you have to schedule a photo shoot with a professional. Make it casual.
- Choose outfits. Don’t get caught in outfit paralysis. Keep it simple. Choose your favorite sports team shirts or wear whatever you wore to church that morning.
Here is another card we found to inspire your creativity.
- Order cards from Sam’s Club, Shutterfly, Tiny Prints or Snapfish.
- Enter addresses in your computer in November. Printing address labels will be a snap!
- Or, decide NOT to send cards this year! It’s okay.
- Set your budget.
- Start making wish lists. Tape them inside a cabinet door in the kitchen or make a list on your phone.
- Check black Friday sales and take Cyber Monday off to shop. Do all of your shopping online!
- Focus on clutter free gifts. Check out our clutter free gift idea list.
- Use a photo to make a mouse pad, playing cards, a blanket, fridge magnets or an awkward family photo book. Chelle uses Shutterfly to order all of hers. Check out these ideas! Also trending are metal prints.
- Choose one area to spruce up this year (mantel, centerpiece, entry way). Search Pinterest and make a list of what you need to do.
- Choose to make one new decor item. Chelle loved these mason jars.
4. Baking/Cooking in advance
- Plan your holiday menu. What can you make in advance? Early in November make a few of your favorite entrees and triple them. Freeze a double portion for when company is in town.
- Ice cream balls: 1 cup crushed graham crackers, 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, 1 T sugar, 1/4 t cinnamon. Mix all ingredients. Use 1 Quart vanilla ice cream rolled in balls and rolled in mixture. Freeze balls individually in clear plastic cups. Serve topped with Grandma Penner’s hot fudge sauce.
- Peppernuts: Get recipe here. Every year Chelle’s mom makes this German traditional cookie dough ahead. She freezes the dough in long snakes. When the grand kids are together at Thanksgiving or Christmas they love cutting the snakes into small disks to place on a pan to bake. Chelle’s son is even cutting his with a cast on his right broken arm in the picture below.
- Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins:
- 1 can pumpkin, 1 box Spice Cake Mix, 1 cup water, 1 t vanilla, 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Mix on medium for an additional 2 minutes. Fill greased mini muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (or when toothpick comes out clean). Remove carefully and place on rack to cool completely. Serve frosted with cream cheese frosting. Keep refrigerated or freeze immediately.
- The Most Amazing Sugar Cookies Ever: Get recipe here. Make these sugar cookies ahead. Freeze them. Decorate with your family for great memories.
5. Plan one activity
- Make reservations this month or buy tickets to an event in December.
- Ideas: A Christmas Carol live performance (in Kansas City at the Missouri Repertory Theatre), dinner reservations at The Melting Pot or another special restaurant, concert tickets or a live Christmas Tree performance.
6. Prepare Your Home
- Clean one room a week.
- Schedule your carpet cleaning.
- Check your guest room supplies. Do you need new sheets? Towels? Body wash? Refer to Chelle’s, Top 10 Books You Own That Shouldn’t Be On Your Guest Bedroom Nightstand post before guests arrive. Yikes!
- Deep clean your refrigerator.
- Pick one tradition that you do and put it on your calendar.
- Or, pick a new one that you want to start, put it on your calendar, and get the supplies you need.
- Tracy’s Tip: Don’t start a tradition that will be draining and difficult for you (like making waffles and sausage and juice after you put the Christmas decorations up!)
- The Advent Calendar – 30 super simple activity ideas with free printables.
- Chelle’s family plays Tripoley. Check out our Top 10 Favorite Games for more ideas.
8. Holiday Outfit
- No, not a light up Christmas sweater. What will you wear Christmas eve? Do you have any parties you will need a cute outfit for? New PJs for the whole family for Christmas day?
9. Make a gift
Here are a few ideas.
- Refrigerator Deodorizers from Miss Information (Chelle found these on Pinterest while she was supposed to be cleaning her fridge!)
10. Print out a November & December calendar
Here are the FREE Printables
Start planning in November by making appointments for you to do the 9 tips above in November. Assign a date and time! Be specific. Fill in December with fun traditions, activities, and events for a more enjoyable holiday season.
We’d love to hear from you! What do you do in November to make your holiday season more enjoyable? And…what traditions do you love that require less “mom work” so we, moms can enjoy them along with the rest of our families?!