Week of September 7th- 13th
- Finish up any lists you weren't able to- Sometimes you need the input of others to make final decisions regarding menus and gift lists. Do the best you can. If you receive smirks and eye rolls when you broach the subject of Christmas in September, like I have, it's okay to wait until a more publicly acceptable time to discuss it with friends and family. Jot something down, but be sure to use pencil so you can make necessary adjustments later. Remember, that not everyone is as organized and proactive as you are. :-)
- Make a long-term shopping list for your holiday meals if you didn't get around to it. This list is extremely important. Keep it in your wallet or use an app on your smartphone to create it so that it is always with you. Each week you will buy 1 or two canned items from this list. This helps to cut down the outrageous grocery bills you will encounter in November and December. If you have a chance, you can add your freezer meal ingredients to this list. Remember, canned foods don't have to be in a can. Feel free to stock up on boxed and packaged items such as pasta or dip mixes (while you can find them). I keep my master list on the inside of my pantry door so that when it comes time to head to the grocery store, I can see right away what I need to pick up. Those items get added to my weekly list before I head out to do shopping.
- Buy extra flour, sugar, butter (which freezes beautifully). Don't forget more obscure baking essentials. Check your inventory of baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, yeast, shortening, vegetable oil, and spices. Also, invest in some plastic containers and heavy duty tin foil to store and freeze your holiday goodies. The dollar store is a great source for plastic containers!
- Make one freezer meal- Consider doubling the recipe for a meal on your weekly menu. Meatloaf freezes really well! Pinterest and Allrecipes are helpful resources if you're short on freezer meal ideas.
- Develop ideas for gifts/décor- This is your chance to be creative. If there is a craft you are anxious to try or make as a gift idea, you now have time to make it a reality. Also, begin considering what you might purchase for others. If you are stuck, consider searching for a phrase like "gifts for brothers" online. You'll be surprised at what you find. Do as much exploring online as you can. It will save you hours of traipsing around the mall later. Keep a master gift list, a list of online orders, and a list of gift ideas. As you make purchases, continue listing what you have purchased on your master gift list.
- Order Christmas cards- It may seem too early to do this, but I can't even begin to express how relieved you will be to have this piece over and done with. If you like to order photo cards, consider using a photo from your summer vacation rather than a holiday picture. Or, don't be afraid to turn your air conditioner down, throw on a sweater and have someone snap a shot of your family in winter attire now. Since cards are something you don't usually get a smoking deal on, rejoice in the fact that the task and expense are behind you.