Amanda Amanda is a married 30-something with three kids. She previously worked full-time as a clinical social worker in a homeless shelter for young mothers. She earned her masters degree while commuting to school and learned to share parenting and conflicting parenting styles with her husband. Now she is learning to manage her career, marriage, kids, and personal time. Amanda is also a writer, a continuously-trying-to-start-again runner, reader, cook, novice pianist, terrible housekeeper, and amateur juggler. She hates laundry. Contact Amanda by emailing

One major holiday, some may say the biggest of the holidays, just happened. Were you ready for it? Was your home decked out in spooky holiday cheer?

What about the rest of the season? Are you ready for the most wonderful (and chaotic) time of the year??

I’ve written before about getting your home back-to-school ready — now I’m going to take a look at the last two months of the year. Here is an easy-to-follow checklist for you to get ready and be fully prepared for the holiday season, no matter how you celebrate. Consider these categories:

Budget. Look at what you have stocked away for the holidays and what you expect to spend. Entertaining, cards, gifts, and food all add up quickly. If possible, examine spending in previous years and see where you want to be/can be this year to help develop your budget. This may mean editing your gifts list and talking to friends. Sometimes sending a thoughtful card with a personal note can mean more than any amount of money you could spend. If things are really tight, talk to your partner, siblings, and parents about how to make this a more frugal holiday season.

Utilize a cleaning calendar to help get your home ready for the holidays. If you start now, your house can be tip-top with plenty of time left over. And then you just need to maintain it (hahahahahaha! Maintain a clean home with kids, I know, I’m funny). I wrote an article on getting your home ready for the holiday season at The Rooner Post, feel free to check it out for ideas. Chances are, however, the problem isn’t getting your home clean for the holidays, it’s keeping your house clean. In which case I recommend letting go. One day our homes will be spotless for days on end, with nary a child’s toy, candy wrapper, or pile of laundry in sight. I’ve been told those days of a clean home will make use long for these dirty, disheveled, and cluttered homes we currently have.

Gifts Lists.
Create your lists of people you need to and would like to get a holiday gift for: teachers, hair stylists, friendly mailman, family members, and friends. Decide, based on your budget, what you will spend for each person and then create a list of possible gifts. Everyone appreciates gift cards but if you want to give something more personal, spend some time thinking about it. As I stated above, many times a thoughtful card and personalized note can mean more than anything we’ve bought at a store.

Halloween started the beginning of the BIG DECORATIONS season. Haul out those boxes from the basement, garage, and back of your closets and have fun with your kids putting up the themed decorations for each holiday! Some decorations, if planned and picked carefully, can carry over throughout the entire season!

School vacation plans/ideas. Are you a working parent who needs to find childcare? Are you a stay-at-home/work-at-home parent who needs ideas for keeping your kids busy for two weeks? Explore options and make plans now! If you’re a working parent, call up daycare providers, babysitters, local YMCAs for winter break camps, or friends to create childcare co-ops, and don’t let December’s break roll around without having made plans. If you stay-at-home look into opportunities to keep kids busy during break and tired at the end of the day. Be careful about overscheduling though. Some of the best days with my children have happened when we didn’t have any official plans.

One thing is for sure, the holidays will come and go; food we ate will tighten our pants, presents will be gifted and opened, and the New Year will be rung in with cheer, or slept through entirely. January will be here before we know it and however we prepare, we need to remember our holiday cheer and that the best part of the season is time spent with family and friends.

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While you are here, you may also enjoy these other posts:

Moms’ night out, on the cheap

Easy Thanksgiving craft for kids

Parenting styles: What matters behind the label

Category: Christmas

Tags: Amanda