Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The To-Do List: December

During the first week of December:
  • Do any online shopping. Order gifts now so you have lots of time to wrap them once they arrive.
  • Wrap gifts as you buy them. It will save you time the night before.
  • Write your holiday cards. It can take a while, depending on how long your list is. 
  • Buy tickets to seasonal events. Create a master schedule for the season and place it on the fridge or another communal area where everyone can view. Save money by checking your local listings for free community events.
  • Buy a small, live tree if you celebrate Christmas. It will stay fresh and retain its needles through Christmas. A Christmas-tree shaped rosemary plant is pretty, fragrant, and won't grow into a giant redwood over the course of the next few years. 

Daily To-Do's:
  • 1 Deep clean in preparation for decorating. Today is the first day of Channukah (2010). Even if you don't celebrate this holiday, latkes are delicious.
  • 2 Edit and update the budget you created last month (remember?) for the festive season. Keep an envelope in your bag or purse to store all your holiday receipts in one place. This will help you keep track of your actual spending.
  • 3  Decorate! Unpack decorations and ornaments. See if anything is broken and needs to be replaced. Make sure you take the proper safety precautions when putting up lights.
  • 4 Make sure out-of-town presents are mailed. If you don’t get to it today, make sure they’re in the mail by December 10.
  • 5 Clean and spruce up your bathroom with seasonal hand towels & soaps. 
  • 6 Order a turkey or ham if you'll be cooking one this season. Check and make a note of local store opening and closing hours for the holiday season 
  • 7 Make a holiday recipe binder. It will make grocery shopping and drawing up a cooking timeline much easier.
  • 8 Shop for nonperishable items. That is, unless you are doing the No-Shop Challenge! Buy alcohol, canned goods and pantry staples you’ll need. Pick up a few extra bottles of wine as hostess gifts.
  • 9 Are you driving anywhere this holiday season? Have your car serviced before your trip.
  • 10 Send any out of town gifts that haven’t been sent yet. The last posting date for parcels depends on weight.
  • 11 Make sure you have enough note cards to write your thank-you notes. 
  • 12 Poinsettia Day – Pick one up as a handy last-minute hostess gift. Note: they are poisonous to cats. 
  • 13 Do you have enough dishes to last you through the festive season?
  • 14 Have plans for New Years? 
  • 15 Finalize menus if you’ll be serving the holiday meal. Make sure you know what you’ll be cooking and what other people will be bringing. Start a master grocery list.
  • 16 De-clutter and clear all tabletop surfaces in the dining room, entrance, kitchen and living rooms. Clear spaces make rooms look calmer, more spacious and inviting. 
  • 17 Winter officially begins next week. Make a date with your sweetie to enjoy some time outdoors with each other.
  • 18 Rent, borrow, or record one your favorite holiday movies to enjoy with your sweetie.
  • 19 Get out the vacuum and put on the attachment for vacuuming corners and crevices. Go along all the walls in your house. 
  • 20 Shop for fresh ingredients. 
  • 21 Wash your serving trays and platters. Put a sticky note on each platter that states what dish you plan to serve on it so it doesn't get used until then.
  • 22 Buy fresh flowers. Whether they are for a party or an intimate meal, fresh flowers should be purchased two or three days in advance. Blooms have time to open up, and they’ll still be lush and fragrant. 
  • 23 Start cooking. Maybe you've put some things in the freezer already, but now’s the time to prep main courses and make anything that can sit for a couple of days. Don’t forget to start defrosting your turkey in advance (allow 24 hours per 5 pounds). 
  • 24 Finish last-minute wrapping, then bundle up and take a drive with your sweetie to enjoy the holiday lights in your area. 
  • 25 Sit back and relax. Enjoy your sweetheart and friends and relish the traditions you share.
  • 26 Kwanzaa begins today - a celebration of pride and heritage. Try a new cultural dish. Bonus points if you include leftovers from yesterday! 
  • Write your thank-you notes now before work starts up again.
  • 27 Today is Visit a Zoo Day. This is a great activity for couples. 
  • 28 Write down ideas and things you would do differently next holiday season while the experience is still current. 
  • 29 Did you receive unwanted or duplicate gifts? Decide which you will be donating or exchanging with friends or credit at the store of purchase.  
  • 30 Put your New Year’s champagne in the fridge. 
  • 31 Today is New Years Eve. Bust out the noisemakers and party hats to celebrate the New Year. Take a few moments to pamper yourself by having satiny smooth and kissable lips for the midnight kiss: mix a little olive oil and sugar and gently rub against your lips.

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