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Posts Tagged ‘checklist’

We have only 2 weeks left until Christmas. 2 WEEKS! Let’s face it, even if we are trying to be super organized, it’s easy to let things slip around this time of the year. The Christmas season is a challenge for those wanting to be on top of things, so that’s why it’s good to make a list.

Today I would like to offer a comprehensive Christmas to-do checklist to help you make sure you’ve got everything covered, every package wrapped, every card sent. Not every item on the list will be applicable to every person. Rather, my hope is that this checklist will trigger a reminder, “Oh ya, I didn’t do that yet!” So let’s not waste anymore time and get to our checklist—we don’t have time to waste!

christmas-ornament

Decorating

  • Do you have a Christmas tree up? Is it decorated?
  • Did you string lights outside?
  • Is the rest of your house decorated?
  • Is everything safe?

Check out my recent post, Eight tips to help you survive decorating your house for Christmas this year.

Gifts

  • Have you purchased all your gifts?
  • Is there enough time for you to still order gifts online and receive them on time?
  • Do you still need to make homemade gifts?christmas-presents-under-the-tree
  • Have purchased enough wrapping supplies? (wrapping paper, tape, labels, bows, etc.)
  • Have you wrapped your gifts?
  • Have you mailed the gifts you need to send to people?
  • Did you make and send out a wish list if people asked you to?

Check out my series, I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas for some last-minute gift ideas and also read my review of Kaboodle, a handy online Christmas wishlist.

Cards

  • Did you buy all the cards you need?
  • Did you write a newsletter?
  • Did you take a family Christmas photo?
  • Did you sign each card and address them correctly?
  • Do you have enough stamps?
  • Have you decided when to mail the cards so they arrive on time?

Special Events

  • Do you have all the special events you plan to attend marked on the calendar?
  • Have you purchased tickets?
  • Do you have a working camera or video recorder?
  • If you are participating in a special program, are you ready? Are your kids ready?
  • Did you find out the special times of your church service?
  • Do you have nice clothes picked out for each event?

Baking

  • Have you decided what you will bake this year?
  • Do you have the necessary ingredients on hand?decorating-cookies
  • Do you need to go shopping?
  • Do you have enough tins or containers to store your cookies & candy?
  • Do you have enough time to bake everything you have planned?

Houseguests

  • Is your house clean?
  • Do you have places for everyone to sleep?
  • Do you have enough food?
  • Have you planned meals?

Check out my post, Preparing for houseguests: a checklist, for more useful tips.

Travel

  • Have you purchased plane tickets or made any other necessary travel arrangements?
  • Have you booked hotel rooms?
  • Do you have driving directions?
  • Is your car ready and able to put on as many miles as are necessary?
  • Is your car prepared for driving in snowy conditions?
  • Are your houseplants watered?
  • Will your pets be taken care of?
  • Will you remember to take out the trash before leaving?
  • Is your Christmas tree watered and safe from any possible hazards while you are gone?
  • Have you packed?
  • Did you take time off work?
  • Did you pay any bills due while you will be away?
  • Did you hold your mail if you will be gone for long?

Reality Check

Have a seat. Relax a little. Stop rushing around for a moment. Don’t forget what Christmas is all about! Most of the things I listed above are ultimately what Christmas is NOT about, even if we do them year after year. Don’t let the little (or even the big) things you have to get done prevent you from enjoying the season and remembering the reason!!

Reader Reflection

Did I forget anything? Of course I did!! What would you add to my list?

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I am feeling excited this morning because some good friends of ours are staying with us for the weekend. I always enjoy visitors, but having guests over requires a lot of preparation. This has got me thinking about how I usually prepare my house for guests. So today I’d like to share some tips with you in the form of a handy checklist to help you organize a bit before your guests arrive, because you know with the holiday season rapidly approaching, you are bound to have visitors eventually!

Let’s start in the bedroom

No matter where you will have your guests sleep, whether it’s in an actual guestroom, in one of your kid’s bedrooms, or on an air mattress or couch in the living room, you will need to prepare the space to meet their needs. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you can’t provide a bed or bedding, don’t forget to let your guests know their options for sleeping arrangements and whether or not they have to bring their own sheets, blankets, and pillows.

  • If you have a bed for them, be sure that the sheets are clean and that there are sufficient blankets depending on the current season.
  • If you have special decorative quilts or pillows on the guest bed, it’s a nice practice to fold down the bed before it’s time to sleep so that your guests aren’t confused about which pillows or blankets they are supposed to use and which are just for decoration.
  • Consider the space in the room where they will be staying and be sure there is enough of an area for them to store their belongings. You want guests to feel comfortable and not at all like they are being stuffed into a cluttered room where there’s absolutely no place to set their suitcase.
  • Keep in mind that some people do not like to sleep with any kind of lights or noises. Do you keep any clocks in the guestroom that tick loudly? Are there any electronic devices that give off bright lights? Offer to remove these items if they will be a distraction.
  • Get creative and think about little accents you can add to the guest room to make it more accommodating. For example you could set out some reading material or even something as simple as a box of tissues.

Next let’s move on to the bathroom

Maybe your house only has one bathroom, or maybe your guests will be using a bathroom different from the one everyone else usually uses. Either way, you should make sure it’s stocked and ready with everything that your guests might need.

  • Be sure to have clean towels and wash cloths available. It’s also nice to lay a set out for each person so they don’t have to search around.
  • Speaking of towels, make sure there is an obvious (and clean) hand towel in the bathroom. If you have decorative towels that are separate from your hand towel, make sure the distinction is clear.
  • Check to make sure that the shower/tub is stocked with shampoo, conditioner, and soap.
  • Be sure your liquid hand soap isn’t empty, or if you use bar soap, that there will be enough to last the length of your guests’ stay.
  • Keep an extra roll of toilet paper in a visible location so your guests will not have to go searching through your cupboards to find one when it is most inconvenient. If you don’t like the sight of random rolls of toilet paper lying around, then consider storing them in a decorative basket
  • Empty your waste basket so there is no chance it will get too full while your guests will be using it.
  • Clean everything! Be sure to clean the toilet, sink, shower/tub, and floor. There’s nothing worse than a dirty bathroom.

Let’s head into the kitchen

We’ve taken care of the bedroom and bathroom, so that leaves us with one more area, the kitchen. This space isn’t as important as the other two, but there are still some things to consider in your preparations.

  • Give your guests a quick tour of where things are that they might need, like breakfast foods, beverages, ice, or snacks.
  • Be clear about your policies regarding what they can just take and what they should ask for. If you want your guests to understand the concept of “what’s mine is yours”, then tell them. Some people might be timid to just take without asking.
  • Find out about your guests’ special dietary needs or allergies. Do you they like something (e.g. coffee) that you don’t normally provide for yourself? Either be sure you have what they need or have them bring their own.
  • Save yourself some stress and plan ahead for meals. Do your grocery shopping ahead of time and get detailed with your menus.

Anything else?

Besides the obvious cleaning and straightening of the rest of your house, there will always be more things you can do to better prepare for guests depending on your unique situation. Here are just a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • Are your guests coming from a different climate? Be sure they know what’s best to wear in your weather.
  • Along the same lines, consider accommodating your guests’ temperature needs. Will they be hot if you do not run your air conditioner? Will they be cold if you keep your thermostat too low?
  • Are your guests bringing children or perhaps a baby? Do you have children of your own? There are always things to consider when adding little ones to the mix. If you don’t have kids, consider ways you can child-proof your house if necessary.
  • Will your guests bring their pet(s)? Do you have a pet? Consider allergies and the fact that some people are uncomfortable around animals. Also consider whether your house is animal-proof.

  • Do you know your guests’ sleeping schedule? Do they go to bed early or do they like to stay up late? When do they usually rise in the morning?
  • Do you go to church? Will your guests come along with you or will they stay at home?

I could go on forever here, but I think this is plenty to think about for now. There are lots of details to consider and you will just have to examine your own lifestyle to see if you have any more items to add to your checklist.

Um, aren’t some of these things a little obvious?

Have you been visited by the same people for years now? Of course you know what you need to do to prepare for them. This checklist is more meant for the uncommon or new guest, but it is certainly also a great tool to use on those days when you are running out of time and the doorbell is about to ring. Lists always help you to get your brain in order and can prevent you from forgetting something important.

Reader Reflection

Do you do anything special to prepare for guests? I’d love to hear some creative ideas!

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