You need a “Stress Less” rather than a “Stressful” Holiday Countdown Calendar for this Christmas Season
Are you ready for a holiday countdown that leaves you more equipped to handle the holidays and less stressed at the end of it? This holiday countdown is designed just for you!
The Stress Less Holiday Countdown is designed so that each day does one of the following:
- Save Money ($)
- Save Time (T)
- Plan Ahead for Less Stress (P)
- Make the Most of the Season (MM)
The holidays are a time of joy, but they can also be a source of stress. Use this helpful guide to enjoy the season without feeling overwhelmed.
Make sure and bookmark this page for later so you can save yourself even more time. And, check out the bottom of the post for a free printable calendar for the holiday and checklists!
How to do a Holiday Countdown
If you have never used a holiday checklist or countdown calendar before, you might think it will make it more overwhelming rather than less. This is not true. All the pre-planning and doing things a little bit at a time make your holiday season so much less stressed.
Having all the presents ready, the cleaning done, and having plenty of time to spend with your family is such a welcome relief when compared to stressing about getting everything done at the last minute. All you need to do is take a few minutes and print out the calendar checklist at the bottom of this post and you will be ready to go for this year – or any year to come.
If you really need some motivation to get moving, you can always check out this Christmas Countdown Timer that tells you how many days, minutes, and seconds you have until December 25th. However, I will warn you that this timer makes my blood pressure sky rocket and feel the opposite of what going through this list will do which is chill you out. (So, really you don’t need to use the doomsday scroll timer – unless you like that kind of thing.)
Holiday Countdown Calendar for November – (First, take a deep breath)
November 24 – (MM) – Thanksgiving! Give Thanks for the many blessings we know and the blessings we don’t know. Fully enjoy the day with your friends and/or family (and don’t bother to count calories).
November 25 – (P) – Black Friday – If you are planning on joining the nuttiness, prepare ahead by going through the ads and map out a store by store game plan. If you can take advantage of the sales from your home and avoid the stress of the crowds – brilliant! Check out BlackFriday.com for store by store breakdowns.
November 26 – (MM) – Small Business Saturday – Between special discounts and events held at your local stores, it might be worth your time to go out and check out the small businesses in your area on this Saturday. Some of the most unique gifts can be found at local stores and you will help out someone in your community.
November 28 – ($) – Cyber Monday – See if anything on your list can be bought from the comfort of your home. Have a list with your target shops bookmarked on your computer. See what you are able to snag at good deals before they run out of stock.
Countdown to Christmas Calendar for December – (And, take another deep breath)
December 1 – (MM) – Enlist your family to help you decorate your house unless you prefer to do it yourself. Maybe you are a perfectionist and your tree must be “just so” and if it brings you joy then go for it. But, if you can make it a family affair, they get to have fun too and it means less work for you! If you are stumped for ideas, check out Loveselfcare’s Pinterest Holiday board.
December 2 – (P) – Print out a copy of the Holiday Planner to make a plan that includes being less stressed by only focusing on the things that really bring you joy (and leaving the rest).
December 3 – ($) – Reduce the stress in January of overspending, by setting a Holiday budget now that you can live with. Use a program like EveryDollar to create and track your Christmas Budget.
December 4 – (MM) – Ask yourself what makes Christmas feel like Christmas to you. Go ahead and schedule these in the calendar. Consult your family now for the things that will make the holidays feel special to them and add these to your calendar.
If Christmas cards don’t make the list, oh well. See if there is anything you can reschedule until after the new year. Anything that is stressful, optional or guaranteed to make a huge mess (like home improvement plans that can wait) would be first on my list to reschedule.
December 5 – ($ and T) – Save money and time by using Hip2Save’s website or mobile app. Hip2Save is a deal compiler with a daily summary of what are some of the best deals in stores and on the internet. Personally, I have saved so much money using this app!
It’s Time for You to Rest and Regroup
December 6- (MM) – Que up the Hallmark Channels “Countdown to Christmas” and get in a festive mood! If you are looking for recommendations for what to watch with the family, check out “The Best Holiday Movies to Watch Every Year“ for Christmas movie suggestions or “The Best Holiday TV Shows to Watch Every Year“ for Christmas TV Shows.
December 7 – (T) – Invest a little time now to save time later by utilizing your slow cooker or other time saving methods. At Living Well Spending Less 10 Meals in an Hour, they have freezer meals down to a science and have the recipes to prep 10 meals in an hour.
December 8 – (T) – Create a spot for your Christmas wrapping supplies – Scissors, tape, name tags, bows, rolls of paper, gift bags, and boxes. Have this space fully stocked and ready to go. Then, if you have 30 minutes with nothing to do you can wrap a few things so you don’t have to do everything the day before.
December 9 – ($ and T) – Start looking for grocery deals for the big meals and baking. If you see butter go on sale, go ahead and buy it and save it for later, etc. If you are able to utilize a meal planning service like Emeals, use your phone to select the items from a grocery service and then just pick them up ready to go.
If you would like to know more on how to make this work for your family, see the article “Make Life Easier – Easy Meals“. You can save yourself easily about 2 hours per week (planning/shopping), not to mention saving money on the impulse shopping (and the stress of waiting in long lines during the holiday season!).
You are halfway there – You can do this!
December 10 – (MM) – If you are stumped for gift ideas for people, pick a theme for the year. Maybe this year, all the ones you are stuck on receive movies tailored to their interests, the next year you can give books, and so on. Here is a resource for when you are stumped for gift ideas for you or other hard to buy women in your life.
December 11 – (P) – Have a “mobile” Christmas unit ready of things you can do in the car while you are waiting in the pick up lines that will help you get ahead. Include a cookbook for meal planning, catalogs to shop from, seasonal magazines for inspiration, Christmas Cards, etc.
Have extra time while waiting at an appointment or in line? Have web sites queued up on your phone and research the best prices for the items on your list.
December 12 – (P) – Pick out a “go to” outfit for special dinners and events now. Have it ready to go in your closet – either the basic black dress with a fancier necklace and heels or the more casual route of pants, solid blouse, fancier necklace and dress boots.
December 13 – (P) – Schedule some down time to do those things that recharge you. For some inspiration try “25 Sure Fire Ways to Recharge Your Batteries” if you are feeling low on energy. If you love to read, here are some “Holiday Romances to Keep You in the Holiday Spirit“.
This Christmas, you will be less stressed – so, take another deep breath
December 14 – (MM) – Brainstorm ways you can give back in your community if you are able to do so. (I love the idea of leaving gifts for a family experiencing a rough time at their door.)
December 15 – (P) – Give yourself permission to say no to anything you don’t really want to do.
December 16 – (P) – While you can, stock up on the basic household stuff you know you will need over the holiday – Paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, paper plates, napkins, cups, laundry detergent, etc. This way you don’t have to make multiple trips to the store and save time later.
December 17 – (P) – Pre-wrap, sort, pay, clean, etc. anything that you can (you may see a theme here). Preparation and planning really do make your life easier!
December 18 – (T) – Keep a list on your phone of those items you still need to purchase in the Notes section and check them off when they are done.
December 19 – (P) – Make sure your meal planning for the day before a big meal is something easy (or fast food to go). Cleaning for the big day – Again, I hope you aren’t the only one doing the cleaning. Please enlist help so you aren’t as grumpy as Scrooge when you are done!
The Timer is Ticking and You are So Close, You are Almost There!
December 20 – (P) – Travel – If you must travel around the holidays, remember to pack light. Here is some great advice from Travel and Leisure on how to fit your belongings into one of the small, carry on suitcases. (I am always working on this one to be honest.) Maybe you will even have room for some gifts!
December 21 – (MM) – Put forth your best self-care practices while you are in the final stretch. As tempting as it might be, now is not the time to skimp on them. You will regret it later. Read “How to Find Time to Relax When You Feel Overwhelmed” for inspiration.
December 22 – (P) – If you are hosting events like Christmas Dinner or Lunch, make sure to enlist help ahead of time and set expectations. This may help alleviate the “everyone else is in a food coma on the couch, while you are doing dishes alone” nightmare.
December 23 – (P) – Hopefully your pre-planning has paid off! You should have all of the presents bought (and hopefully wrapped). You’ve cleaned, and you have the big meals planned and shopped for, right? If not, today is the day to finish it up so you can enjoy tomorrow.
December 24 – (MM) – Christmas Eve – My wish for you today is to enjoy it! Put on some Christmas music you love, take a nice bath, relish whatever traditions you like to do for Christmas Eve and get a decent night’s sleep.
You Made It! Your Holiday Countdown Calendar for the Rest of the Year
December 25 – (MM) – Merry Christmas!! Have fun and experience the best of what makes this season great. If you are religious, enjoy the reason for the season.
December 26 – ($) – After Christmas Sales – If you have any returns or gift cards, the days after Christmas are a great time to grab some deals. Winter clothes, slippers, robes, and anything related to Christmas will be priced to move.
December 27 – (MM) – Explore Your City – If your kids are off on break or if you have family in town, going off to explore a new (or old) favorite is a great way to make memories. See what is new at your local zoo, museums, etc.
December 28 – (MM) – Bundle Up and Get Outside – Even if it is cold out, a long walk can do you good after all of those extra calories and time of sitting around. Go experience the beautiful world and savor the quiet.
December 29 – (MM) Take a well deserved break and do nothing!
December 30 – (P) Plan some quiet activities – puzzles, board games and hot cocoa will entertain for hours.
December 31 – (MM) New Year’s Eve – Unless you are headed out to celebrate, you might relish a night in with the family. If you want to make it fun for the kids and give them something to keep them busy, check out the Dating Divas website for fun New Year’s countdown bags.
A New Year – January 2023!
January 1 – (MM) New Year’s Day – Hard to believe another year is here. If you are a New Year’s resolutions kind of person, good luck! If you are not sure what you want to work on for the new year, if anything, please see “New Year, New Resolutions?“.
And, if you have more self-care for you on your bucket list for the new year – check out the “My Self-Care Planner” which is undated and available to use at any time.
You did it!
My hat is off to you. I hope you enjoyed this holiday countdown. If you would like to join my newsletter and receive a weekly positive news update, please sign up here and receive a FREE printable on ways to recharge today. Here’s to a great New Year to come!
Free Printable – Countdown to Christmas Checklist for you to keep track of your progress.
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While you are here, make sure you grab your copy of the "Self-Care Mini-Guide" to help you figure out how to add self-care to your daily life. Just click the link Loveselfcare Self-Care Mini-Guide to download your guide!