Unless you are someone who celebrates all year long, the Christmas decorations and CDs are most likely being boxed up until next December. Then, just a month or two before the big day, you'll start unpacking and making lists of all the things you need to do to make it the most of the magical holiday season. Sorry to remind you of all the planning and stress after you just barely made it out of the holiday season alive, but it's for a great cause.
You won't be able to completely plan next Christmas a year in advance, but if you do yourself a favor and complete these nine things right now,you'll make next holiday season much easier:
1. Update your Christmas card list
Did you get Christmas cards in the mail from people you didn't send a card to? Don't let that happen again next year. Make (or update) your address list for next year. Make a New Year's resolution to be diligent about updating addresses the second you find out someone has moved. Then print off your labels and pack them away until next November. That way, you won't have to unpack all your Christmas stuff to get your cards out on time.
2. Make an inventory
Give yourself the amazing gift of being prepared next Christmas. Run to the store to see if you can still hit an after-Christmas-sale to replace any empty rolls of tape, ripped tissue paper, Christmas gift bags and holiday wrapping paper. If you missed the sales, mark your calendar to remind you to hit the back-to-school sales for things like tape and scissors. Then you'll have everything you need to wrap presents the minute you buy them, which will save you from rushing out get wrapping paper the Christmas Eve for your marathon wrapping session.
3. Remind yourself to take pictures
Skip the stress in November when you realize you don't have a single family photo that would work as a Christmas card for this year. When you are on your family trip or getting together for a wedding, put in a reminder to take a great family photo to send to all your friends and family.
4. Get organized
It's tempting to shove the tinsel and holly into a box and leave it to your future self to untangle a mass of holiday decorations, but think before you do. Donate decorations you don't want or need anymore, carefully wrap Christmas lights around a board or empty wrapping paper tube to avoid tangles, and organize ornaments in empty egg cartons. Put all of the holiday decorations in the same spot so you don't have to hunt in the garage, the storage room, the attic and the downstairs closet just to find the wreaths and garland.
5. Make traditions
There are some Christmas traditions that never change through the years, but did you hear of a new tradition you'd love to try out next Christmas? Keep track of those ideas now because you won't remember in a year. Write yourself a note about any new Christmas traditions and leave it taped to the Christmas wreath you always put up right after Thanksgiving to remind yourself.
6. Revise your recipes
All this holiday spirit comes with some serious eating. Get the recipe now for Aunt Mae's spiced pound cake and put it with your other Christmas recipes so you don't forget.
7. Get a wrapping caddy
If you don't already have one, make or buy a gift wrapping caddy. This keeps all off your gift bags, tissue paper, wrapping paper, tape and scissors in one place. Things are organized and compact and mobile; you'll be able to move around your gift wrapping station in a snap next year with one of these. This DIY website has tons of ideas on how to keep your crafts and wrapping essentials organized.
8. Make a note
Keep track of who unexpectedly stopped by (and you didn't have a gift for) and update that on your gift list so the same awkward situation doesn't happen again. Plan on buying a couple extra soaps or making up a few extra "simmer bags" to wrap up and leave by the door for those surprise visits.
9. Buy new towels
Or sheets and pillows, and whatever else you didn't have enough of when overnight guests came to stay. Patch the hole on the leaky air mattress or replace it all together so you aren't scrambling when relatives come to stay.
Now, if only you could get the cooking, cleaning and wrapping to do themselves so you could sit back and enjoy the holidays.