Tips and Guides

Your Ultimate Christmas Countdown Checklist

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Photography: Miguel Nacianceno

Stores are brimming with decorations and colorful lights; a familiar chill is in the air; and Christmas songs are taking over the airwaves—the most wonderful time of the year is definitely near.

While we're all looking forward to parties, reunions, and the spirit of giving, we have to admit that the coming weeks would be busy, too! There are tons of tasks waiting to be accomplished and without a handy guide, you might end up too stressed to enjoy the holidays. Don't let this happen! Make the most of coming days by having a list of things you need to do and items you need to prepare—especially if you're hosting a party. Let the guide below be your holiday buddy—and don't forget to save this page for future reference:

Week 1 and 2: November 1 to 15

Are you hosting a party with friends or a reunion with your extended family? Start getting in touch with everyone by calling to schedule the event. Send a text message or give them a call to inform them about it. Give them time to fix their schedules and let them know that you'll be calling back again to confirm their attendance. 

It's important to call everyone in advance so you can estimate the number of attendees. As much as possible, avoid calling them in December as they might have other plans, too.

Week 3: November 16 to 22

By the third week of November, start gathering pegs and inspiration for your Christmas get-together. Are you planning to work on a theme? Visit websites, spend hours on Pinterest, and see the charming setups you can work on. Take into consideration the time needed to accomplish the decor you would need. You may want to stick to a simple yet classy setup using pieces you may already have at home.

Plan the layout of your home, too! Will you be needing extra chairs? Are you adding an extra table in the garden? It's best to plan these things ahead as well.

Week 4: November 23 to 30

Make an inventory of the items you have on hand. Do you have enough plates, cutlery, glasses, and decor? Prepare a list of the things you need so you can make a shopping route when you go to the mall. Don't forget to check every cabinet or drawer to avoid buying too much of one item.

RL Tip: Maximize your shopping time by having a gift list, too! Stores announce sales early so you can prepare your budget and game plan beforehand.

Week 5: December 1 to 6

It's easy to spruce up the home with your favorite decor if it's clean and organized. Schedule a day for general cleaning and encourage the whole family to help. Make sure you leave each area spotless—from the living and dining area to the bathroom and outdoor nook. If you're expecting relatives from abroad, it's best to prepare their room, too. Once you've accomplished this task, bring out the tree, the trimmings, and have fun decorating!

Week 6: December 7 to 13

By this time, everything should be ready for the party. Spend a couple of hours wrapping gifts and making sure you got everyone a little something special for the holidays. Make it personal by writing sweet notes that your friends would surely appreciate.

The last week and a half before Christmas should be spent doing last-minute errands (if needed). Make sure you are relaxing, spending quality time with loved ones, and enjoying the holiday cheer!

Read the original article (Countdown to Christmas) in the November 2008 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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