World Kitchen | Pre-Holiday Holiday Planner: 6 Weeks to a Stress-Free Christmas
The 12 days of Christmas are a time of joy—and for some, a little bit of madness. If a merry and bright celebration is at the top of your wish list this year, we can deliver! World Kitchen has created a 2013 Holiday Planner, a guide packed with tools and tips on how to break down the holidays into simple, manageable tasks. By spreading out the work into bite-size pieces over 6 weeks, you’ll have less frenzy and more fun time to enjoy the holiday spirit.
Here are a few tips before you get started:
This comprehensive guide includes the steps for planning a Christmas celebration, but it can easily be customized to fit your own holiday traditions Check out all of our tools: (Download Includes)
- Gift Shopping List
- Grocery Lists
- Holiday Budget
- Holiday Card Address List
- Holiday Menu Planner
- Holiday Party Guest List
- Revise or remove steps to fit the date or needs of your holiday. For example, not sending Christmas cards? Cross that off the list! Tailor these tools to suit your own family traditions.
6 WEEKS BEFORE
- TOOL: Start your gift shopping list
- Brainstorm menu ideas. Dig up those family-favorite recipes and make photocopies so you have them all in one place. Pay attention to prep. Recipes that can be made ahead of time and reheated are real time-savers. Slow-cooker recipes are also a great choice. Check out this great list of Turkey Sidekicks.
- Premake cookie dough and freeze
- Deep clean bedrooms. Then, keep them organized and do a quick weekly sweep.
- TOOL: Build a holiday budget
- Schedule time for a holiday card photo shoot
- Compile holiday card address list
- If you write a family letter, now’s the time to draft, edit and complete it. Make enough copies for your address list.
5 WEEKS BEFORE
- Plan Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping lists. Look up Black Friday ads.
- Buy stamps, cards and wrapping supplies (paper, tape, ribbons)
- Deep clean the kitchen. This is when you want to clean backsplash, refrigerator and cupboards.
- TOOL: Plan your party guest list
4 WEEKS BEFORE
- Begin gift shopping. Plan on shopping weeknights, when stores are quieter.
- Start shopping online. Pay close attention to shipping dates.
- Pick out your tree or assemble your faux tree
- Decorate the house, inside and out
- Bake Christmas cookies. Store in Snapware® Snap ’N Stack® Cookie & Cupcake Carrier
- TOOL: Finalize your holiday menu
- Deep clean living, family and dining rooms
- Mail or e-mail guest invitations for holiday parties
3 WEEKS BEFORE
- Find out what grocery stores are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, just in case.
- TOOLS: Create a detailed shopping list. Carefully review all the recipes and break the list into three categories:
- List 1) Recipes for baked goods that can be made in advance and then frozen
- List 2) Recipes that can be prepared a day or two in advance and kept in the refrigerator
- List 3) Recipes that can only be prepared or cooked the day before or the day of your celebration
- Order a turkey, ham or specialty items that are part of your menu
- Deep clean bathrooms, paying attention to the spots that often go overlooked
- Mail holiday cards
- Set up a gift wrap station and wrap gifts as you buy them. The Snapware® Snap ’N Stack® Seasonal 6″ X 9″ Ribbon Dispenser helps to keep ribbons from becoming a tangled mess.
2 WEEKS BEFORE
- Grocery shop for items on List 1
- Ship gifts for on-time arrival
- Prepare recipes that can be frozen: casseroles, desserts, sides
- Finish deep cleaning remaining rooms of the house
- Send gifts to babysitters, newspaper carriers and any other service people. (Cash and gift cards in a personalized greeting card are universally appreciated!)
- Order fresh floral arrangement(s)
1 WEEK BEFORE
- Shop for entertaining beverages (take advantage of those holiday specials!)
- Grocery shop for items on List 2
- Ship any last-minute gifts, ensuring on-time arrival
6 DAYS BEFORE
- Clean out the refrigerator and freezer, toss what’s old and use any perishable items
- Make sure your knives are sharp—especially your Chicago Cutlery® carving knife—dull knives not only slow you down, but they are also more likely to cut you
- Make end-of-year donations to charitable groups. For that impossible-to-shop-for person, consider making a donation in their name.
5 DAYS BEFORE
- Wash all the serving ware, dinnerware, flatware and glassware
- Wash all table linens
- Iron all the freshly laundered linens. To keep them from wrinkling, roll them around wrapping paper tubes and tuck them away in a safe spot.
- Gather food storage containers, or pick up a fresh set of Snapware® 42-Pc Airtight Food Storage Containers, making sure each has a matching lid. If you plan to use them to send leftovers home with guests, label each container and lid with your name. Here are more great tips for How to Store Holiday Leftovers
- Finish wrapping gifts (Now doesn’t that feel great!)
4 DAYS BEFORE
- Start thawing frozen turkey in your refrigerator. It generally takes about one day to thaw every 5 pounds. To safely defrost the bird, put it on a rimmed Baker’s Secret® baking sheet and place it in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
- Arrange the furniture to accommodate guests. Set up table and chairs for dining.
3 DAYS BEFORE
- Put frozen cookie and pie dough in the refrigerator to thaw
- Bake cookies from previously frozen dough on a Baker’s Secret® 17 1/4″ X 11 1/4″ Cookie Sheet
- Review your recipes and create a detailed cooking time line, taking into consideration oven temperatures, prep time and cook/bake times
2 DAYS BEFORE
- Bake pie crust using previously frozen dough in a Pyrex® 9 1/2″ Easy Grab™ Pie Plate
- Vacuum and sweep floors
- Tidy house, put away clutter
- Drop extra kitchen garbage bags into the bottom of the can. When one bag is full, another is immediately ready below it.
- Wrap any last-minute gifts (You know there will always be a few)
- Stock the bathrooms with fresh towels, toilet paper and hand soap
- Plan specific tasks or recipes that can be delegated to guests or family members asking how they can help
- Set the dining room table(s). Need inspiration for making the table look stunning? Check out these Essentials for a Holiday Table.
- Set up the bar
1 DAY BEFORE
- Grocery shop for items on List 3
- Buy ice
- Pick up fresh flowers. Better yet, have them delivered.
- Assemble pies and bake them
- Begin preparing your turkey
- Wash and prep all greens and vegetables. Store them in Pyrex® No Leak Lids® in containers, opening the vent to keep them fresh, in the refrigerator.
- Give the house a once-over, and wipe down bathrooms and the kitchen with disposable disinfecting wipes
- Fill coolers with ice and beverages that should be served cold
- Set out your serving dishes and use a sticky note to label what menu item each dish will hold
DAY TO CELEBRATE!
- Remove turkey from refrigerator and bring to room temp before cooking it
- Begin cooking all dishes based on your cooking time line
- Clean as you go. Wash dishes, pots and pans as they are used so you’ll have less to tackle after dinner. To cut down on the number of dishes you use, bake and serve with Corningware® French White® Baking Set. Also, make sure the dishwasher is empty before the meal is served so it will be ready for all the dirty dishes.
- Finally … ENJOY! Happy holidays to you and your family!
YOUR TURN. Tell us your tips and tricks to make the holiday season less stressful.