The Christmas countdown won't catch you off guard..

Use this Christmas checklist:

The Christmas countdown begins right after Thanksgiving. If you're like most people, this is when the Christmas stress s begins as well. Here's how to manage the holiday season and even find some joy.

The Christmas Checklist:
Four must-do's:

1. Get your house ready

Unless you are the rare person that has a spotless home ordinarily, keeping a clean house is especially difficult in December. Not only is there the normal housework to be done, but many families pull out boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations to add to the potential mess. After Christmas, once the dust settles from the explosion of presents, the clutter is often insurmountable. So what to do?

    • Clean your house as best as you can before you get out the Christmas decorations

    • Consider selling gently used toys on eBay to offset cost of Christmas buying
  • Express your preferences gently, and realize that you can't really control what they give. But you can at least get an idea of what is coming and request containers for any toys that need them.

    • Maintain your home as a sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the outside world,/li>

    2. Get your kids ready

    • Use Christmas as an opportunity to get your kids working to declutter and clean their bedrooms
    Kids are often more motivated to get rid of old toys when they are looking ahead to the prospect of getting more stuff. This is a sad truth. Use it to your advantage and enforce a zero net gain of material stuff-—before it comes in, stuff must go out.

    3. Get your family ready

    • Decide as a family the priorities of the season
    Protect the sanctity of the family unit and don't get pulled in different directions. Just say no! Remember that you are in control of what you do and don't do this month— Eliminate emotional obligations and focus on what you want to do.

    4. Get yourself ready

    The Christmas countdown is hardest on you. What recharges and relaxes you? You need to keep your sanity, so what do you need to go into this season calmly?

    • This of what do you need to stay calm and centered and then do it. Time alone? Time with the kids? Date time? Certain activities?
    • Request some early presents or gift to yourself something to pamper yourself, like a pedicure or a spa day.
    • Set a deadline for shopping and mailing so you can enjoy your holiday!

    So don't let the Christmas countdown intimidate you this year. Use this Christmas checklist as a starting point to turn the holiday around to suit your needs. No one is perfect, so you might as well eliminate stress and create the holiday YOU want with your family.

    Go to Simplify Christmas from Christmas Countdown