Column 49 – Counting the Days by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

Here we are, the countdown has started! OH MY GOODNESS!! What am I to do now? Where do I start? Do you feel like your head is about to blast off from your body? Don’t fret! I am going to help you put your head back in place and plant your feet firmly on the ground. I promise you can do this. There is still plenty of time if you will not let the panic of the day turn into a manic

Christmas Countdown. If you have finished your holiday preparations then you don’t have this pressure to deal with. You can sit back and enjoy the ride. Be thankful for the babysteps you used to get ready for the holiday celebrations. Now if you are feeling a bit queasy right now, I want you grab another cup of something warm and let’s do just a bit of planning before you run out into the day. This is only going to take a few minutes. We are not going to think this to death!

Here is the first thing I want you to do. Sit down with an old notebook that still has a few sheets of paper left in it. A little planning now is going to save you some money and time!

1. Who do you have left to buy for? Write down their names and then what you would like to get them and how much you would like to spend. If all else fails then think clutter free gifts like gift cards to their favorite stores or restaurants.

2. Are you cooking the holiday feast at your home or are you going to someone else’s home. Start a menu and a grocery list for this dinner. Keep it simple sweetie! Don’t try cooking things you have never fixed before; you will be setting yourself up for failure. We have a traditional turkey dinner and all its directions on our website in the holiday section of Pick a day to do your grocery shopping.

3. Are you attending any other parties that you will need to take a gift or a dish? Add them to your shopping lists.

4. Do you have enough wrapping paper, tape, bows, ribbon, gift cards, tissue paper or gift bags? When you are getting down to the final countdown, you may want to use the gift bag idea and tissue paper. This will save you a lot of time and help you to let go of your perfectionism or get the item wrapped when you purchase it. They always do a nice job but it may take time and extra money. Put the items you need on your list.

5. Do you have a holiday outfit to wear? Has it been picked up from the cleaners yet? Make sure you have hose and any other things you may need for your most festive occasion. Make sure the rest of the family has their clothing needs met.

6. Do you need a haircut, color or perm? Make your appointment today.

7. Have you put up any decorations yet? If not then don’t beat yourself up. Keep things simple again. Just the basic decorations; you don’t need to pull everything out of the closet. Pick an evening to do this right now. Put it on your calendar. Do it before you go shopping so you will have a place to put your packages under the tree.

8. Now you have to pick a day to do your power shopping. Believe it or not you can get this done in just a few hours if you will plan your route and not freeze up trying to think about what to buy and where to go next. Think about the stores you want to go to and list them in order of your stops. Think about it this way if you are headed to a mall or downtown. Watch your budget!

9. Are you traveling out of town for the holidays? Do you have laundry hanging over your head that is keeping you from packing? Start the laundry now and stay on top of it till it is time to leave. If you need help on what to pack then go to my website for a free Packing Control Journal.

10. Is your car ready to travel? Is it cleaned out and has it been serviced? You are going to need a clean car to put the packages in. Make an appointment today for this or get it done yourself.

I know you are feeling overwhelmed, but you can do this. It is up to you to set the tone for your home. Keep you sink clean and shiny and a smile on your face. Enjoy the process and don’t allow your perfectionism to ruin these wonderful memories you can be making with your family.

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