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Between the holiday cooking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping, traveling and party attending, there’s barely a moment to breathe in the fruitcake and faux-pine potpourri. And it’s comin’ up faster than we can curse big-box retailers for throwing us into a panic. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. Here, a checklist of things to get out of the way before the insanity begins. 

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1. Clean out the pantry in preparation for holiday cooking and toss any expired foods. We’re looking at you, decade-old box of Wheat Thins. 

2. Restock staples (flour, sugar, bread crumbs) for the imminent onslaught of baked goods and turkey stuffing.

3. Go ahead and order any big-ticket meal items like your hams and turkeys. That’s why God invented deep freezers.

4. Then clear space in said freezer by eating your way through the frozen soups and casseroles and steaks that are taking up room.


5. Polish your nice silverware and dust off the serving dishes. Come game time, you’ll be ready to prep and plate with ease.

6. Start to de-clutter that workbench in your garage. You’re going to want to use it as a wrapping station soon enough.

7. Clean less-trafficked rooms, like the guest room and dining room, ASAP. They’ll stay clean the longest and will cut down on housework at crunch time.

8. Replace old and threadbare linens (especially in the guest room and bathroom) with new ones before your in-laws come by and drop passive-aggressive hints about the towels.


9. Make a master gift list. Everyone from the postman and the kids’ teachers to the ladies at book club. Thou shalt not forget a single soul this season. 

10. Buy favors in bulk, like candles, to offer to party hostesses and anyone you accidentally left off your master gift list. (Amazon Prime subscription, to the rescue.)

11. Clean out the fireplace and check the flue cover. Also: That stack of newspapers has been there for far too long. 

12. Take a nap. And jump on that opportunity every chance you get. You’ll need it.


13. Taking a holiday trip? Call the kennel and reserve Fido’s spot now. They book up fast. 

14. Submit a hold request for the mail and magazines that will come while you’re away. (You can do it online as early as 30 days in advance.)


15. While you’re on the USPS website, order plenty of stamps for your holiday cards. Don’t wait until mid-December to stand in line. Plan ahead and let the Postal Store mail them to you for a handling fee of $1.25.

16. OK, this one’s a doozy, but it’ll pay off big in the long run: Convert all of your address books to Excel for easy envelope-label printing and organizing.

17. Order a new planner, like, now. All the good ones will be sold out by the time you realize next week is 2017. 

18. And most important: Don’t panic. Seriously, book a massage, practice meditation—whatever you need to do to chill out. You’ll get through this holiday madness, even if it takes a few extra hard cider floats. We promise.

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