Less than one week...
The official Christmas Countdown started weeks ago....
Well..... stop. Panicking will get you nowhere. This is time for serious crisis management. This is the time for serious planning to get you through.
*At this point, forget the cards and decorations and baking UNLESS you can have FUN pulling it together. If it is stressful - forget it. This is about FUN now - and whatever gives you the warm fuzzy feeling you are looking for :-)
*If you DO choose to do some of these things, give yourself a deadline and PLAN on just having fun. Let the PROCESS be the important thing here - NOT the result.
*Look at your calendar. Have you decided each event you and your family need to be prepared for? Write it down. Take a minute to decide what will be worn - this way you can get that laundry handled right away. If you are like me, it is all too common to try on 3 different things because of the way things fit today.... or because there is a run in the tights I WAS going to wear and now I have to start over.... or because the sweater I planned on wearing really wasn't in my closet where I thought it was..
*What food are you going to have to have in the next week?
What are you making on THE day?
What are you creating BEFORE THE day?
What are you eating until then?
Get all these items on your list right now. Segregate them so you know what you need right away and what can wait until later in the week.
*What mandatory chores need to happen in the next week?
cleaning, bill paying, yardwork, etc. Knowing what lies ahead makes it easier to budget your time - and THAT makes less stress :-)
*And that brings me to the part that scares us all the most - GIFTS: Who do you still need a gift for? Read: NEED
Close friends and family:
Gift cards are always good
*IF you choose a place that your recipient already frequents
*IF you plan an event you can do together (a lunch date?)
*IF you know that THEY can use the card
Plants - seasonal plants are inexpensive but pretty. And the men aren't buying them for us quite as often as they used to :-)
Groceries can be good - yes, you read that right - groceries!
*single shelf stable microwave meals or soups for a single person packaged in a recyclable bag
*favorite treats (one of my sons LOVES queso dip. One year each family member added a jar of it to their gift for his birthday and the QUESO is what he remembers about that particular birthday)
*fruit and nuts are a healthy alternative to the mountains of fudge we are faced with this time of year :-)
*foods that support a hobby (eg I like to bake bread - this year :-) and can always use and appreciate flour, yeast, sugar, etc.)
Gift Baskets are easy and impressive... (the word basket is a term - you don't have to use a basket)
*Take some of the groceries and package them with a related item.
(one of my daughters loves to drink tea. Tea is expensive so she doesn't usually have a selection. A fun gift for her is 2 or 3 kinds of tea in a pretty mug. Easy to wrap up with plastic wrap and attach a bow. DONE! *for more of a selection - if you are a tea drinker, get 2 or 3 bags of each kind YOU have and put them in a snack-size bag and add to it)
*Think of the person and what they like to do.
*work on cars: anything related to the cleaning or care of a car packaged up in a $1 bucket
* movie fanatic: microwave popcorn, $1 boxes of movie candy & a list of top movies http://www.afi.com/docs/100years/movies100.pdf
*handwork: ANY kind of supply related to their craft, Think creatively about the container you put it in
You are past the point where you can reasonably give gifts to everyone - so forget about it :-) A big smile and thank you is one of the best things you can have with you! (but failing that, I have added 3 quick, generic, fairly inexpensive things you can put together quickly and have available)
*Candy canes :-) carry them around. Batch 5 or 6 together and tie with a ribbon for special people ( I keep things like that around to hand to the UPS person or other service folks I didn't prepare for)
*Sign some Christmas cards with greetings from your family and have them ready to hand out
*Buy several bags of seasonal candy and bag it up in small white bags.... staple it shut and add a bit of ribbon. Voila!
Okay troops..... you have your plan.... you have a few more ideas to play with.... and your tea is probably cold by now... go play :-)