After all of the hustle and bustle, it’s time for the last minute Christmas checklist. Now is the time to get together everything we might have missed, forgotten, or just plain procrastinated on. Like anything else, some aspects of the holidays are glaringly obvious and hard to forget, but I’ve put together a little list of commonly overlooked details to help you out as well as some tips for time-saving during your festivities. Most of you have probably had your tree and decorations up for a while now, and gotten a good start on gift-wrapping, card-writing, etc. However, these few things might catch you off guard on Christmas morning.
1. CHARGE YOUR CAMERA/CAMCORDER
The days of having to remember to buy film are long gone, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t still get caught off guard by forgetfulness when it comes to family photos. We’ve come a long way with cellphone cameras, but there’s something special about taking photos with a real camera when the opportunity presents itself. I can’t express how many times we have turned on the camera during a festive moment or memorable experience only to find the battery blinking and beeping at us. It usually manages to save just enough battery to say, “Good job, you idiot!” before shutting itself down the rest of the way. Add a reminder to your Christmas checklist to plug that sucker in if you’re planning to use it!
2. BUY BATTERIES FOR CHILDREN’S TOYS/GIFTS
“Batteries Not Included”… We’ve all seen it a hundred times but I still find a way to overlook it. It’s a real bummer to watch your kid open the present that you’ve been hiding from them for two months and that they’ve so desperately wanted, only to realize that it needs batteries and there’s not a single one to be found. Make sure to add batteries to your Christmas checklist if any of your gifts call for them. My kids are little and patience isn’t their strongest skill, so I like to avoid present-opening chaos by “prepping” as much as I can before I wrap the gifts. Unbox whatever is going to be time-consuming, and have those batteries at the ready.
3. HIT THE GROCERY STORE
Grocery shopping (or any kind of shopping, for that matter) on Christmas Eve is an actual nightmare. If you need to finish your meal plan and get fresh produce, desserts, or even snacks & wine for your guests, do it before the mad rush. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress by getting to stay home while everyone else is standing in hour-long lines at the store. In our family, this one has been overlooked far too many times despite how much we dread shopping at the last minute. This is also a great time to pick up any last minute stocking stuffers and Christmas cards (though they may be late, it’s better late than never!).
4. CLEAN UP YOUR KITCHEN/GUEST BATHROOM
Cooking is a lot more pleasant when you’re not trying to prepare a really large meal in a kitchen that’s a mess. By clearing out dirty dishes and giving everything a good clean-up before Christmas, you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation on the day. You might find it easier to clean the holiday meal mess afterwards too, because your dishes won’t pile up. I’m the kind of cook who likes to start with an empty dishwasher and be able to pile things in as I go. You’ll want to spend the day with your loved ones, not having to spend twice as long in the kitchen because it’s a war zone. Speaking of loved ones, if you’re hosting at your home this year, give your bathroom a once over. Especially with messy kids in the house, it’s good to find any surprises/smells before your guests do.
5. MAKE A LIST & MEAL PREP
Depending on the size of your holiday meal, it’s not hard to find at the end of the day that you’ve missed out on all the festivities because you had so much prep work. I’ve been able to almost eliminate this problem by making myself a day-of Christmas checklist of what dishes I’m making and what time I need to start them. You won’t end up 15 minutes before serving time and realize you forgot to make the casserole, and you won’t be feeling the stress of having it all bouncing around in your mind all day. You can prep a lot of recipes in advance and then just pop them in the oven on Christmas. If your menu doesn’t allow for that, consider at least doing your chopping/peeling the night before.
Happiest of holidays to you and your loved ones. I hope that these tips can help save you some stress and maximize your enjoyment!