Do you ever find yourself with slightly mixed emotions about the holiday season as it inches closer and closer? On one hand, you love absolutely everything about it – yet, on the other, you’re nervously bracing for your busiest time of the year. We’ve been there, and we’re here to tell you that there’s a solution that works time and time again: Planning Ahead.

All year long, we talk about planning – planning your year, your month, your week, and ultimately your day – but, just when we think we’ve got all of that down, the holiday season comes along and throws us a curveball!

This year, we encourage you (starting today!) to combat this feeling by planning ahead. We’ve rounded up our favorite holiday tasks that you can tackle in November to create a season filled with less stress, more joy, and plenty of time for family, friends, and YOU!

1. Set dates with family and friends

Reach out to family and friends to start the conversation about what the plans will be. Before calendars start to fill up, figure out the dates, times, and places. Decide who is hosting and who is coming. Bonus: Your guests will appreciate the advance notice, too!

2. Map out commitments in your planner

Start filling in your plans in your planner to see how everything lays out. Add festive activities, spiritual events, parties, time off work, school holidays, and more! There’s nothing like visualizing your entire month on the spacious monthly pages in your planner – bringing a sense of calm as you go about your season!

3. Create a holiday budget

Consider how much you’ll be able to allocate for gifts, holiday decorations, entertaining expenses, holiday cards, and charity this season. Keep a copy of your budget in the front pocket of your planner for easy reference!

4. Update your mailing list

If you’re sending holiday cards in the mail this year, clean up your list ahead of time. Decide who gets a card and update new addresses. When the time comes to address envelopes, you’ll thank yourself!

Sending a digital card instead? You can still prepare in advance by deciding who you’ll send it to and gathering their contact information into one central place.

5. Check some gifts off your list

Create a gifting list and start shopping early for fewer crowds, best selection, and plenty of time for shipping!

Resource you’ll love: Our Holiday Gift Ideas printable.

6. Choose a charity to support

Supporting those in need is hard to remember when you’re in the thick of the season! Talk with your family in advance about how you can brighten the season of someone less fortunate. Make a plan and add these tasks to your planner.

7. Take photo, order cards, get stamps

Procrastinating on holiday cards never ends well! Take your photo this weekend and order your cards as soon as possible. Make a quick stop for stamps this week – and block off time in your planner for stuffing and addressing envelopes when your cards arrive!

8. Plan holiday menus

Map out your menus for each occasion and gather all nonperishables this month! That prepared feeling now will translate into a smooth event later.

Resource you’ll love: Our Holiday Menu Planner printable.

9. Get the house ready for overnight guests

If you’re hosting overnight guests (or even just dinner party guests!) this season, make a list of house tasks you can handle ahead of time and the ones that will have to wait until closer to the time of visit. Add these to your planner!

10. Organize gift wrap!

Take inventory of your holiday gift wrap supplies. What do you have? What do you need? Find a corner to set up a handy gift wrap station – and stock it with wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, ribbon, and gift tags. Don’t forget scissors, tape, and pens too!

• • •

Starting today on these ten tasks will pave the road for a smooth holiday season – one where you can truly enjoy the meaning of the season, quality time with family and friends, and a beautiful end to your year!

What did this blog post inspire you to start doing now for a less busy holiday season later? Let us know in the comments below.