How to be prepared for Christmas

Ok so just let me say that, the fact you are reading this post means that you are already one step ahead of a lot of people when it comes to getting organised for Christmas, so well done. Christmas is actually a big part of our year and does take energy and time from all of us, with shopping, eating , travel, cooking and so on. Let’s not under estimate the amount of work that is needed to get things ready for the festive season. Over the years I have really appreciated how much better I am prepared for Christmas when I have planned for it. If you are sick of feeling very chaotic at Christmas time because you are running around at the last minute, let me help you get more prepared. In this post I share how I go about planning for Christmas and hopefully you will find this valuable

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90 Day Planning Cycle

What’s a 90 day planning cycle got to do with Christmas? Well not a lot! Except it’s the best way to plan for Christmas or anything for that matter.

During my career in the corporate world, Business Plans, 90 day planning cycles and so on are a norm and a very effective tool to use to implementation actions to achieve your goals. Just because these are corporate practises, it doesn’t mean that you can not apply them at home. Which is exactly what I do for Christmas planning.

A 90 day planning cycle, is not complicated. Simply speaking it’s planning three months out, or over the year breaking it up into quarters , (3 months each) to achieve your goals. Each month you will break down the activities / actions that you need to do.

So for Christmas preparation you want to start 90 days out (3 months) which means kicking off your 90 day plan in October.

90 Day planner

90 Day planner

What to plan for

The first thing I do is decide what you actually want to achieve , i.e what is your goal? Are you having family and guests for Christmas? So your goal might be to have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas - or more simply put it, you want everything organised and done before the family and guests arrive. For me this Christmas, it is to have as a much relaxation time as possible.

Once you figure out what you want to achieve . i.e what your goal is, then just work through the main things that you will need to work on to achieve this. Using me as an example, my goal means that I really need to have everything done before Christmas so I can actual sit back and relax. To do this I listed out;

  • Food

  • Budget

  • Presents

  • Entertainment

  • Christmas decoration

  • Guest preparation

  • Home preparation - cleaning & tidying

  • Travel

  • Family plans

  • Holiday leave (Pete and I)

These are essentially your categories or topics and each will have a number of tasks. To help think about all the tasks, I do a brain dump.

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Brain Dump

Yep , just want it says , dump out everything that is in your brain on this matter and get it onto paper. This is a really helpful tool to free your mind up of all the things that you need to do.

For me I just take each topic and list everything out that I can think of, there is no need to prioritise at this stage, just get it all out. Lets take food as an example, I have just quickly written down some tasks;

  • Christmas baking - What and when

  • Create Christmas day menu

  • Shopping list for Christmas day menu

  • Work out Holiday meal plan

  • How many days to meal plan for

  • How many people are staying - Christmas and holiday

  • Place food orders - how and when

  • Fresh produce - when to buy

  • Clear out fridge and freezer space

  • When to do shopping

Repeating this for each of the topics. At first you may think that there is so much to do once you have listed it all out, trust me though it will make sense.

Timeframes

Using a 90 day plan means that you actually have 3 months to complete all those tasks that you have listed out. In other words you have plenty of time. The key is to get your timing right and somethings have to be done before another task can be completed.

In the end you don’t want to have to worry about what you have to do and not having enough time to do it, all you need to do is follow your plan and just do each task listed in the timeframe stated and you will get to your goal.

It is a simple process as you take the three months, October, November and December and spread out the tasks across these. Then each month you can plan then out over the weeks of the month.

Here is the approach I have taken with the my list of tasks for “Food”

  • Christmas baking- What and when - Oct

  • Create Christmas day menu - Nov

  • Shopping list for Christmas day menu - Nov

  • Work out Holiday meal plan - Nov

  • How many days to meal plan for - Oct

  • How many people are staying - Christmas and holiday -Oct

  • Place food orders - how and when -Dec

  • Fresh produce - when to buy -Dec

  • Clear out fridge and freezer space -Dec

  • When to do shopping -Dec

As you will see, I have allocated most of the “planning” tasks out to complete in October. It’s always important to do as many of the planning task first as they lead to your next steps. By spreading out my task over the 3 months, I don’t need to rush around in December trying to do all 10 things on my list.

When I do my monthly planning I can then task these out over the weeks in the month.

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getting it done

The planning is actually the easy part, it’s not a hard job to take 5-10 mins to list out all your topics and tasks and plan them out over the 3 months. The challenge is to “do” them……in other words implementing your plan. Couple of tips to help;

  • Be clear with what the specific task is. i.e what is the exact next step you have to do so its really clear.

  • Be realistic with the allocating the task to certain weeks/days. Think about what else you have on and what is the chance of actually getting that task done on that day.

Remember to always focus on the next tasks only. If you think about all that has to be done rather than the just the next step, you can easily get overwhelmed. Before you know it, it will be Christmas and you will be all sorted and can sit back and enjoy the experience of Christmas and relax !!

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Planning 101

Let’s reflect on what you have just learnt here, what I would call Planning 101. There is actually nothing about this planning that is specific to Christmas which means that you can apply this 90 planning cycle to any goal, you don’t even need to stick to the 90 day cycle. Just follow the principles that I covered off above, which are summarised below;

  • Identify your goal

  • Work out your timeframe

  • What do you need to do

  • Break down the specific task

  • Allocate them over the timeframe

  • Do the task , one at a time

To help you with your planning I have created a simple and easy to use Christmas Planner. Just grab the FREE printable below

FREE Christmas Planner

Get prepared for Christmas with this FREE simple and easy to use Planner

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    Happy Planning my tidies and look forward to having a restful and relaxing Christmas

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    Make sure that you follow me on social media, to get even more great ideas and organising tips, just click on the links below,

    5 low waste Christmas gift ideas for the home

    To be honest I was not planning on doing a Christmas gift guide as cleaning and organising products are not something that most people would think to give for Christmas presents. However there are a lot of people out there that are starting to think about their environmental foot print and how they can reduce their waste. So I thought that Christmas time is actually the perfect time to encourage this by giving gifts that may start someone on that reduce waste journey. I have identified 5 kits for the home that you can actually easily make and give as awesome gifts for Christmas.

    • DIY Natural cleaning kit

    • Kitchen Kit

    • Laundry Kit

    • Bathroom Kit

    • Home scent kit

    DIY Natural cleaning kit

    home made cleaner in glass jar and baking soda in glass jar

    I recently took part in our work place night market and had to come up with some gifts to sell for fundraising. I decided to make some DIY Natural cleaning kits, and they were a hit, so I thought that these would make great Christmas presents. In my kit I had;

    • General cleaner

    • Scrubber

    • Cleaning cloth

    • Sample of essential oil

    • Jute bag

    They were really easy to make and most items can be found around the home or could be easily purchased from your local supermarket. To make the kit you will need;

    • White vinegar

    • Baking Soda

    • Small jar

    • Spray bottle (glass is preferable)

    General Cleaner - mix a 50/50 of white vinegar and water into the spray container and label it "General Cleaner”

    Scrubber - fill the small jar with baking soda and for extra special treat put a few drops of an essential oil and mix through. Then just label “Scrubber”.

    Don’t forget to provide instructions on how to use and refill so the person can continue to use after the ingredients run out. You can sign up to receive my free guide and recipe printable for the cleaning kits below;

    FREE DIY Natural Cleaning Kit

    Get your free guide on how to make your own all natural cleaning kit.

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    If you are not confident to make up these kits, however love the idea you can just order these fabulous starter kits from Figgy & Co

    Kitchen kit

    Handwash and dishwash in glass jar

    In this Kitchen Kit I have;

    • Cotton Dishcloth - washable

    • Hand wash dispensers - refillable

    • Dish wash dispensers - refillable

    The great thing with the Kitchen kits are that they are not only pretty kitchen accessories, they are also functional and totally reusable.

    To make these kits you just need some dispensers and buy or make the cotton dish cloths.

    If you want to make the dishcloths and don’t know how to crochet here is a great tutorial that will get you going. For those that don’t have the time and just want to buy some here are my fav’s in NZ;

    Don’t forget to check out Etsy which has a great selection of cotton dish cloths.

    cotton dish cloths

    For the dispensers you could just recycle some empty ones that you have around the home. I do have a preference for glass as they do last a lot longer, are easier to clean and good for recycling. There are a few places that stock refillable glass dispensers. I have recently come across this great online store , Packageless Pad that stocks a great selection of glass containers and these Classic Syrup bottles are perfect for using around the home.

    To add a bit of home decor it’s nice to place them on a tray and maybe add in a plant, so you could add these into your kit to jazz it up a bit.

    Lastly don’t forget to fill the dispensers with the soap, for the hands and the dishes. Ideally use a product that is chemical free and obtained from a refillery and or a eco-friendly product like Eco Store from the supermarket.

    Laundry Kit

    For the Laundry kit I just got a selection of jars that you can easily label Laundry powder and Soaker. You could also add in some wooden clothes pegs. Most of these items you can get at a supermarket or find around the home. I sourced my jars at the time from The Warehouse, there is still a good selection. The refillery GoodFor also has a good selection too . Also you could try Figgy & Co as you can get both the jars and laundry product. In fact they have The Laundry Pack which you can purchase.

    My laundry set up is below where I have the laundry powder, soaker and I have baking soda and a bottle of vinegar. Hint a wee mix of soda and vinegar in the wash, especially for towels helps fluff them up.

    laundry products in jars

    Bathroom kit

    One of the exciting things that I came across this year was recyclable toothbrushes and organic toothpaste. As well as better options for dental floss and cotton buds. Eco store has introduced a range which is available from most supermarkets or online. Go Bamboo is also worth checking out too as they have the cotton buds.

    Something else to think about for the bathroom kit is a sample pack for Hair and Face products that don’t come in plastic bottles. The fabulous products from Ethique would make a wonderful present. Oh and please check out Soaps by Roi a fabulous Kiwi making beautiful products based on Rongoa Maori (Maori medicine).

    Once again with the other kits you could put them into storage jars and gift them all set up. Example below is a Bathroom kit.

    Bathroom hand wash and soap kit.png

    Home scent kit

    Who loves walking into those lovely home stores with those gorgeous scents floating around the air, how lovely would it be to give a gift that can make someones home smell like that. All you need is some jute bags, cotton balls and essential oils and scented candles.

    The jute/hessian bags or cotton bags, I source from Spotlight of all places and the cotton balls can be sourced from the supermarket. For essential oils I source mine from doTERRA and an awesome place in Akaroa, NZ called Fire and Ice.

    Just place a drop of oil on each cotton ball and pop them into the bag and hang them in places around the home. I use mine in the wardrobes, linen closet, kitchen and bedrooms.

    Scented candles are the best, but make sure you get quality candles and ones made with Soy. I have been fortunate to have a lovely lady at work who makes the most wonderful soy candles. Also check out Soy Delights Nz as you can purchase from her Etsy store as well.

    Home scents kit.png

    So there you have it 5 Christmas gift kit ideas, which are easy to put together, budget friendly, reusable and produce very little waste and encourage more people to reduce their environmental foot print.

    Have a wonderful Christmas my dears, and enjoy your gift giving.

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