Planning for the holidays starts in August. Assign tasks to your calendar.How do people have the best holiday season possible? By planning!

If you are sick and tired of…

  • Flying by the seat of your pants
  • Running around frantically from store to store
  • Staying up until midnight (who needs sleep anyway before special family get- togethers where you make memories that last a lifetime??)
  • Stressing over everything from forgetting the cranberries to looking like a failure because your cards arrived after Christmas

Then NOW is the time to make some changes and get organized. It is never too early to start planning!

Related Content: Holiday Gift Ideas – Clutter-free gifts

Don’t try to be super woman this year! Say no.

If you are REALLY excited about setting up something tried and true and you love forms then you must get Cynthia Ewer’s Christmas Planner. You can download and print the entire thing for FREE here and put it all in a HOLIDAY binder (there is even a cover and tabs – all refill and page options can be found here) keeping your notes each year. You will get better and better at enjoying your holidays and being most efficient with your time and tasks.

If you know you won’t follow through with such a large project like putting together a Christmas Planner but would like to do better than last year and you think starting small would be a good idea then I have included a few simple tasks with dates to add to your calendar right now. Choose the ones that apply to you and write them in your calendar (change the date if needed to fit your schedule). If they are written on a date it will be easier for you to say no to extra things because your calendar is full – you have an appointment with yourself at that time!


  • Today – Write these on your calendar. Use an App like ListIt to keep track of gift ideas, budgets, menu ideas, etc.


  • 10 – Decide on Halloween costumes (order, add to grocery list, make, or gather together)
  • 17 – Add (and buy) the Halloween candy to give out (hide in a GOOD place so that you do not eat it all before the 31st!)
  • 24Plan a tradition you already do (pumpkin carving) or one that you want to start (inviting friends to your home after trick-or-treating) and buy/gather all supplies to carry that out! Charge camera battery.
  • 31Relax. Pour candy into bowl. Dress kids in costumes. Enjoy Kodak moments!


  • 1 – Decide on Thanksgiving plans. Start thinking of ideas – menu, decorations, traditions
  • 8Plan menu. Make grocery list.
  • 15 – Make Christmas list of people you need to by for. Start collecting ideas. Book photographer for Christmas photo (if you do that).
  • 17 – Decide on one tradition you will do this Thanksgiving. Be sure you have everything you need. Start food prep doing everything you can before the weekend is finished (use Martha Stewart’s checklists in the link I share below if you need to).
  • 18 – Plan Black Friday, brown Thursday and green Wednesday shopping strategies if you are into that.
  • 21Delegate. Create a list of who is in charge of each task – dress table, dress turkey, make gravy, greet guests, clean dishes, etc. If you are a good ‘delegator’ find a great chair to read a new book and assign yourself to that – but be sure to check in occasionally!
  • 22Enjoy the scent of thankfulness! Be grateful. Smile. Give hugs!
  • 25 – Put up Christmas decorations. Get rid of any fall decorations you did not use this year! Fill advent calendars and add to grocery list what you need for the activities.


  • 1Address Christmas/holiday cards (mail when you have the photo). Evaluate the reason for the season! Write in your calendar activities and traditions that will focus on this (Sunday afternoon – focus on advent with an activity, etc). Hire a cleaning crew to deep clean on the 21st if you are having company to your house!
  • 8Review gift list. What is left to purchase? When will you purchase it?
  • 15Plan menu. Make grocery list.
  • 22 Delegate. Create a list of who is in charge of each task –  dress table, light candles, peel potatoes, turn on Christmas music, make gravy, greet guests, clean dishes, etc. If you are a good ‘delegator’ find a great chair to read a new book and assign yourself to that – but be sure to check in occasionally!
  • 25 – Enjoy the music! Be grateful. Smile. Give hugs!
  • 29 – Put up Christmas decorations. Get rid of all Christmas decorations you did not use this year!

Whichever path you take know that by choosing to assign tasks to days in your actual calendar will help you be organized and prepared!

P.S. If you want more checklists, even a complete timeline for menu prep with details like “cut and cube stale bread now and set the cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet for your homemade stuffing” please visit Martha Stewart’s website here.

Remember, baby steps!

Yes, go get your calendar and write tasks on days…right now!

You might also enjoy: 4 Tips for a Healthy, Organized Holiday


Tracy Hoth