Don't get lost in all the to-do's of the holidays. You can master this thing with our helpful countdown to Christmas guide.
It’s the most chaotic time of the year — isn’t that how the song goes? All kidding aside, we’ve got strategies to help you nail the season and still have time for a little merry making on the side! Ready, set, ho-ho-ho!
Break out the pen and paper or use your handy List App to make a shopping list. Start with your immediate family then make one for friends and extended family. Don’t overdo it. Keep the list simple. Now get started. Quick tips:
- Shop at “off” times when things aren’t so hectic.
- Shop safely online: Limit yourself to “secure” sites. A secure site starts with “https://” instead of “http://.” Secure sites also have a small lock icon in the lower right corner of the screen. To avoid data breaches, don’t store personal data on lots of sites.
Photos & Cards
If you haven’t already, book your family portrait session no later than Friday, Nov. 11 to get them back in time — don’t wait until it’s too late. That way, you can get them in the mail with your holiday cards (which you should also go get now while the pickin’s good). While you’re at it, go ahead and update your mailing list. If you have your cards and are just waiting on the pics, go ahead and add your personal message, address the envelopes and put a stamp on them — just don’t seal them. That way, all you have to do is insert the photo and off they go!
Wrap ‘Em & Hide ‘Em!
What are you going to do with all those gifts now? Plan a day for your children to hang out with friends or family — this is great for families because you can switch it out and watch each others’ kids — and wrap all those gifts while they’re gone. Be sure you’ve purchased two different kinds of wrapping paper for your gifts and Santa’s (if you plan on wrapping the Santa gifts because some opt not to and just put them out on Christmas Eve in plain sight). But … now what to do with the wrapped gifts?
Some good hiding spots include the shower in the extra bathroom, attic, your underwear drawer, a relative or friend’s house, and in the garage in totes marked as something they’d never touch. However, kids are keen to knowing where your usual hiding spots are, so avoid places like under the bed or in your closet, in the trunk of your car or even in the shed.
Mail Those Packages!
Herewith: The absolute last days to get your packages shipped:
Thursday, Dec. 15: USPS Retail Ground
Tuesday, Dec. 20: First-Class Mail
Wednesday, Dec. 21: Priority Mail
Friday, Dec. 23: Priority Mail Express
Monday, Dec. 12: FedEx SmartPost
Friday, Dec. 16: FedEx Ground & Home Delivery
Monday, Dec. 19: FedEx Express Saver
Wednesday, Dec. 21: FedEx 2Day A.M., FedEx 2Day
Thursday, Dec. 22: FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight and FedEx Priority Overnight
Friday, Dec. 23: FedEx SameDay City (standard)
Sunday, Dec. 25: FedEx SameDay City (priority) and FedEx SameDay
Monday, Dec. 19: UPS 3 Day Select
Wednesday, Dec. 21: UPS 2nd Day Air
Thursday, Dec. 22: UPS Next Day Air
Plan Your Party
You know you love to host the best of the best, so make sure your favorite friends will make YOUR party by getting invites out early (at least by Monday, Nov. 7). Now on to the menu! Plan what you’re having for your Christmas party by at least Monday, Nov. 28. Shelves will be restocked post Thanksgiving and you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. Be sure to have all your food and party ware purchased at least a week before the date of your party — in case something comes up that you forgot. That way, all you have to do is make and bake!
As for the decorations … make it a little easier on yourself by having all of what you need purchased by Sunday, Nov. 27 and start to put them up then. Have all your decor completely out and ready by Friday, Dec. 2 — which is not too early and not too late!
Flying with Baby?
Maybe you’ll be away from home during the holidays? If you’re flying with a baby, we’ve got tips:
• Generally, families with children younger than 2 are pre-boarded.
• Most airlines — not all — allow you to bring your stroller to the door of the plane. Consider using a very compact collapsible stroller for toddlers.
• Babies can cry or fuss during take off and landing because of cabin pressure hurting their ears. Feeding your baby during these times can help.
• Most airlines will warm up milk for you — ask for help with this before attendants get busy with cabin service.
• Choose a window seat for privacy while breastfeeding.
• If you need a plug for your pump or to charge a phone, many international airlines have in-seat sockets. Check with your airline first or bring along an external charging device.
• You can take more than 100 ml of milk/water on board with you in order to feed your baby (baby food and milk is exempt from the 100 ml liquid rule).
• Bring along a few toys for your baby if he’s wakeful and needs entertaining. Good suggestions include a soft cloth book, stacking cups, a small and quiet interactive toy, a plush animal with buckles, zippers, etc.
• Diaper-bag must-haves besides the usual: change of clothes for Baby, light blanket, burp cloths, bib, pacifiers, plastic bags.
• Be prepared for the small changing tables on an airplane — it gets cramped in there.