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Start Your Holiday Planning Now!

I know, it’s still October. However, the truth is that the holidays are right around the corner. Start your holiday preparations now to avoid stressing out during the holidays.

I asked Alexa to give me the numbers today (Sunday, October 20th). As of this date there are 11 days until Halloween, 39 days until Thanksgiving, 62 days until Hanukkah, and 66 days until Christmas.

Halloween is not officially a holiday but to me it feels like Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season.

I recommend beginning your planning now so that you set aside time to:

Plan Holiday Meals:

Plan these meals in advance and make different shopping lists. One for perishable ingredients and the other for dry ingredients. Buy the dry ingredients ahead of time or if they go on sale. If you have a separate freezer you can make some things ahead and freeze them. Can you order parts of the meal from a bakery or grocery store? If you can, remember to schedule time to pick up these items.

Make Your Gift List

What is your gift giving budget? Who are you giving to? Remember to include gifts or tips for your hairdresser, any delivery people or service people. Do you have to mail the gifts? When do they have to get to the Post Office to get to the person on time? Plot those dates in your calendar. Get a couple of hostess gifts so that you have them on hand if you’re invited to a party.

Wrapping Paper, Ribbon and Tags

Look through your gift wrap supplies. Do you have enough tape, wrapping paper and ribbon? Now is the time to get those supplies.

Holiday Cards

Do you plan to send out holiday cards? Are you creating a photo card? Do you have the picture? When can you take the picture, if you don’t have one?Otherwise, put buying cards on your shopping list. Do you have the addresses you need?  Do you write a personal message on each card? Start early to avoid the stress. Giving cards is not meant to be a stressful activity but it becomes one when you’re rushing to get it done.

Holiday Party

Do you want to give a Holiday Party?  If so, pick a date and send out invitations well in advance so the people you invite can mark their calendars. Then plan your menu. Can you delegate parts of the menu to your friends? Often people will ask: What can I bring? If you’ve planned your menu you can ask for specific items. This will help you out and make your friends feel helpful. A win/win for everyone!


I like to put up holiday decorations the day after Thanksgiving. This way I can donate out any decorations that I know I don’t want any more, but which are still in good enough shape for some one else to use. Some people put up their holiday lights and decorations as soon as the Halloween decorations come down. Do what works for you.

Special Events

Think about the special holiday events that happen in your town or city. Decide which ones you want to attend. Mark your calendar. Do you need to buy tickets to attend? If you have children or grandchildren, do you want to take them to see Santa at the mall? Do you need an appointment?

Personal Appointments

Speaking of appointments, my hairdresser always gets slammed during the holidays. Make your hair appointment or any other personal appointments well in advance so you get the day and time you want.


Look at your holiday or party clothes. Do you want to get anything cleaned or fixed? Do you want to get an accessory or two to update your holiday wear?


Relax! You will enjoy the holidays more if you take time for yourself. Get exercise, set realistic expectations, be flexible, and breathe.

The holidays are meant to be a time to gather with friends and family. A time to share meals and experiences. You can get caught up in the flurry of activities. Think about setting realistic expectations.  Do as much or as little as you want. As you go about planning for the upcoming holidays remember spending time and making memories with those you love are things to treasure.

If you get stuck in the planning process and want some guidance send me a message. I can help you create a plan which works for you!


  • Seana Turner says:

    I totally agree with yo on this, Diane! The secret to a smooth holiday season is October. Planning now and taking care of the tasks that are not time sensitive can make your celebrations so much nicer. Get everyone on the same page with dates and commitments, get the holiday cards ordered, and maybe even do some shopping. December is so much more fun when it doesn’t feel like an uphill marathon!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I start doing as many things as possible in advance so that I can be truly focused on mu family and friends during the holidays. Thanks for commenting, Seana.

  • I didn’t know that Alexa could give you that type of information. Wow! And that 39 days until Thanksgiving jumped out at me. We host each year, and while I know that all will be fine, we haven’t done anything yet to prepare (including inviting the guests.) It was on the list the past weekend for my husband and me to discuss the plans, but we had some unexpected things arise, and that conversation got postponed. Thank you for your post, which has lit the fire for me to “get to it!”

    The key takeaway here is that holidays are a time to enjoy being with family and friends. A little prep goes a long way in reducing stress and upping enjoyment.

  • I’ve been stuck more than once because I didn’t book a hair appointment far enough in advance. I would add restaurant reservations to this list. You may be having your family dinner at someone’s home, but we often get together with friends during the season, and it’s best not to be disappointed by not getting into your chosen spot!

  • October is the best time to start prepping for the holidays. This past weekend, I went through and decided on the Thanksgiving and Christmas menus. It’s a great month because some of the food staples are on sale in October. I found buying cookie baking stuff is usually on sale in October. Don’t expect to see that sale in November or December. Thanks for sharing your tips. It’s a great reminder, so we are not going crazy in November and December.

  • I agree that is important to start holiday planning now! There are so many tasks to be done, and the holidays will be here before we know it. I usually plan as much as I can by Halloween. Thank you for these great tips!