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Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...Planning!

Rabbit, rabbit! Today is November 1. This morning I dropped The Bear off at nursery school and headed over to Target to check out the Halloween clearance and pick up a few necessary items (i.e. dishwasher detergent -- Target has the best price on my brand -- and a storage bin for all those adorable 12 to 18-month summer clothes that are on their way to my in-laws' attic. Thanks again for the storage space, dear parents of The Husband!)

As usual, The Doodles hates her costume.
Although I struggled with my desire for an outdoor light-up pumpkin, ultimately, I was able to resist all of Target's half-price Halloween decor -- even the dog costumes. (But wouldn't The Doodles just love to be a banana split next year...? No, she wouldn't. No, no, no!)

I'm not sure which it was: the Halloween clearance or the small army of Target employees unpacking holiday ornaments, but I started thinking about everything I need to do to prepare for the upcoming Holiday blitz, which is when I decided to share my checklist with you. After all, to plan to plan is to plan to succeed, right? Here's my first draft:

Scheduling: talk to family about dates and finalize. Get it all on the calendar! (This includes Thanksgiving, decorating the tree, and any group shopping days). Invite family to any special events now, so that they can plan, too. (For us, this includes Thanksgiving Mass and The Bear's Preschool Christmas program).

Gifting: Plan gift budget, start asking/brainstorming for gift ideas. Look for sales/coupons and begin shopping! (Later: start wrapping! Some people wrap as they go, but I prefer to pop White Christmas in the DVD player and have a wrapping marathon a little later in the season).

Housework: Clear the clutter and banish any dust bunnies...Now! Clean out closets, drawers, cabinets, etc. (This will help you keep a clear head and make space for gifts, guests, etc.) Also, do you need/want to purchase any decor for your home? If so, add items to your shopping list (seeking spousal approval first, if needed...ha, ha!) and then promise to stick to your list. (This last bit keeps me from losing my mind at Target and buying a bunch of junk I don't need!)

Clothes: Determine what you (and your spouse and children) will wear to all these holiday events/gatherings. Borrow and/or shop for what you don't already have. Make sure clothing is clean and pressed. Don't forget accessories.

Greetings: Update address book. Print mailing labels. Plan Christmas card. (For us this involves picking a setting, having The Husband take a picture of The Bear, and then having me design and order the card online at Order stamps online.

Food:  Consult schedule to determine what you need to bring where and when. Look online and through holiday recipe books to determine what you will bring where and when. Make shopping lists (divided into pantry and perishable ingredients). Be on the lookout for sales/coupons so that you might save money on your ingredients. Around December 1, purchase the pantry ingredients and store. (Also, if possible mix together any dry ingredients in advance. You can label them and store in pyrex bowls). In the meantime, since you will be busy, stock the freezer with easy weeknight meals and, while you're at it, go ahead and make some pie crusts to freeze. (I hope to elaborate on this later!)

Geez, typing this out made me tired! That's all I've got so far, but I intend to add anything else I find myself contemplating (or diving into without contemplating!).

Please comment and share what you are doing to get ready for the holidays!


P.S. I am going to store my plan in a word processing document, so that I can easily revise it over the next several weeks. And then, next November 1, I will be able to pull it out without reinventing the wheel!


  1. Thanks, Jaelithe. I was totally at ease with my typical procrastination approach to all things holiday. After reading your list I am now totally stressed out! BTW that is a great picture of you!

  2. Thanks for reminding me how behind I already am for the season - haha!

  3. Oh no! I didn't mean to stress you two out! I am the big time procrastinator, but every year I swear I'll be on top of it and, therefore, stress free...maybe this year will be THE know? It is the season of hope!

    Last night, after The Husband read this post he said, "Okay, so you basically posted your "to do" list...Really?"

  4. The holidays are going to be... interesting? for us this year! We're moving back to the US in late December, but in typical military style, the move starts waaaay beforehand.

    Our first, and primary, shipment of household goods is being packed up in two weeks, then about a month later, they'll take the rest of it. Two weeks after that, we fly back to Seattle. This basically leaves room for some creative planning for the holidays... whee!

    I'm still not really sure how we're going to work things - but as weird as it sounds, I'm looking forward to the craziness of a typical American holiday season next year - Bring on the shopping, cooking, visiting, caroling, dressing up, and wrapping up... it'll be fabulous!

    The holidays are still wonderful (after all, it's what you make of it, right?) but celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season is just not the same in Japan. With celebrations and mainstream religions being very different than those in the US, it's been exceptionally educational - but we always get a bit homesick around the holidays.

    Enjoy some extra Holiday Cheer for us, ok?!

  5. Jaime, I hope you are excited about moving back. How long have you been in Japan? 3 years? Maybe you can get a live tree and decorate with popcorn and cranberry strands? (If you can even get those things in Japan...but, I know, it's not the same! You all will have to go all out for New Years, MLK day, Valentines Day, and Mardi celebrate your return to the U.S.

    Good luck packing!