Making a List

planner lists

…and checking it twice. Fact: There are 121 days left until Christmas! Can you believe that?! That means you’ve let over half of the year slip by without planning for the longest (and largest) holiday season of the year. Okay, so maybe the situation isn’t quite as dire as I make it sound, but, as crazy as it may seam, it’s not too early to start marking things off your “Christmas to-do list”! I’ve been in a major list-making mode this past week and (as crazy and obsessive as it may sound) ventured to make a list of some things I want to get done over the next month to gear up for Christmas. Seeing as how I’m pretty positive there are some fellow serious list-makers out there, I thought it’d be fun to share my list of to-do’s to make our Christmas season a little more jolly…

10 Little Things to Do Now to Have a Jollier Christmas /

01 / Start shopping. Spacing out Christmas shopping over the next few months will be much easier on your wallet than buying everything between Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Buying even just 2 or 3 gifts every month will keep budgeting easy and cut down on the usual hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season. Every time you buy a gift, put them in a designated area (I keep ours in the guest room closet). If you tend to have a bad memory (like I sometimes do) stick a post-it on the item to remind yourself who it’s for.

02 / Wrap it up. Go ahead and wrap any presents you buy. Leave the bows off and add them when it’s time to put the gifts under the tree so they’ll look crisp and freshly wrapped. You can find Christmas wrapping paper around this time of year online – at some really great prices too. Pre-wrapping your presents will save you a ton of time as long as you’re diligent about labeling them as to who they go to and what they are. Otherwise, your presents might be as much a surprise to you as your friends and family.

03Start preparing the house now. We’re not talking about cleaning, necessarily; just minor repairs and enhancements. Focus on the rooms your guests will spend the most time in, like the guest bedroom(s), the living room and the kitchen. If you have dents, nicks, or scratches to fix, or even minor enhancements you’d like to make to these rooms, now is the time to get them done. Slowly but surely, you can get everything looking picture perfect before they arrive.

04Be the first to make travel arrangements. Ticket prices aren’t the only reason to make your plans for travel now rather than four months from now. As the holidays approach, you’re going to find it harder and harder to make plans that fit into everyone’s schedules. By scheduling now, you’re sure to be the first person on anybody’s calendar.

05Make your list. While I’m not typically a big fan of “Christmas lists”, sometimes it’s nice to be able to point to a place where your significant other can check out reasonably and a few not-so-reasonably-priced items (just for fun) on my Christmas wish list. We found when we were moving into our house. We had a lot of family members ask us what we wanted/needed for the house. It’s always kind of awkward — you know what I mean? My mom asked us to make a “wish list” and after a little Google search, we found And I have to say, it’s a pretty cool website. You can add items from any website and make notes about color, quantity, size, etc. or even where you plan on using it in the house. One major perk about is you can put a password on your list so you can share it with family members and close friends only. Greg and I have ended up making our own individual lists for each other to work off of – since I have dubbed him the “hardest person in the world to shop for”. It makes shopping a little easier and fun too.

06What’s Aunt Martha’s new address? This shouldn’t take too much time, but when the Christmas season hits, your time becomes even more valuable. Take a few minutes to make up a Christmas card list and talk to the people on that list to make sure you have their current address. If you’re a bit embarrassed to call your long-lost relatives and tell them you have no idea where they are now or how they got there, just call mom. She’s a mom and she’s bound to have the down low on where and why. Btw, I don’t have an Aunt Martha.

07Get the party started. On top of presents and travel, you need to think about Christmas parties! Let’s face it: Parties are expensive. By planning out your Christmas party now (or parties, if you’re a real party animal), you can be on the look out for things that will complete your party theme. Like I said before, you can make budgeting your Christmas season much easier by spreading out the cost of your party over the next 5-6 months. Like the Christmas presents, keep all of your party supplies in a designated area so you don’t loose track of them between now and then.

08 / Pick a family, any family. Along the same lines as travel, you might want to go ahead and start discussing with your significant other whose family you’re going to spend Christmas with. That way, when your family starts asking who you’re going to spend Christmas with, you’ll have an answer and explanation ready to go.

09 / Prepare to deck the halls! Take a little time to do an inventory of your decorations. The sooner you know what you have, the sooner you can start designing your tree and general decor. That way, when you see a cool decoration or ornament, you can grab it up, knowing it’s going to go great with your overall style. Also, while you’ve got a few of the Christmas boxes down from the attic, take a few minutes to make sure the lights work. There’s nothing worse than getting your whole tree or worse, your whole house, covered in lights, then realizing half of them don’t work. #beentheredonethat

10 / Create a savings plan. As a final tip, try your best to set aside a few dollars every paycheck as a Christmas fund. Vacations, presents, and parties, no matter how well you plan them, can still end up costing more than you’d expect. If you’ve set a few bucks aside, you’ll have less to worry about in the long run and have a credit-free Christmas.

Do you have any helpful tip to add to the list? Share it with us in the comment section…

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  • Reply
    August 25, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Boy do I miss your blog. It’s been awhile and reminding me how close it is to Christmas was not the way to start back blogging. But I do need to at least start thinking about it.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Amazingly, my wife has already begun about 5 of these things including shopping, wrapping, and making travel arrangements. Seems like she got started as soon as this past Christmas was over.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I was JUST thinking about making my Christmas gift list today so I can start looking out for things I need. Obviously this is a sign I should get going!

  • Reply
    August 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    It would be nice if you addressed your extensive hiatus from blogging, instead of just pretending no time has passed. This list is also pretty common sense and the topic is not timely. Don’t want to be a total troll, but I do want to express my disappointment with this blog recently. I hope things improve because I used to enjoy it.

    • Reply
      August 25, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      I’m sorry you feel that way. Truth is, there’s not much to tell. We’ve been working on other projects outside of “the world of 7th House” and aren’t ready to share much on those quite yet. Though, rest assured, everyone is happy and healthy.

    • Reply
      August 25, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      But in the meantime, we’re going to write articles geared towards SEO and whatever gets us search traffic!

      • Reply
        August 26, 2014 at 7:12 am

        Again, that’s not the case at all. I’m truly sorry you feel that way.

    • Reply
      JENNA J
      August 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      I’ll take me some 7HOL whenever I can get them! They make me happy:) Merry Christmas! And thanks for the Christmas tips!

    • Reply
      Santa Claus
      August 26, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Now, now, now, LM…I’d hate to have to leave some things off your list this Christmas. Ho! Ho! Ho!

    • Reply
      August 28, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Well, you not wanting to be a total troll.. FAILED..

      Love the blog..and love to read it whenever it comes in my email : )

  • Reply
    Lori H
    August 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Wow, negative comments, really?? I feel like bloggers are gifting me with their posts and only worry if I don’t see a post in a while. You have a life! OK, so fellow list-maker here – love this post. I need to start thinking about Christmas, especially since we throw a big party every year and last year, I was deer in the headlights when people started showing up (shudder, not prepared!). You’d think after throwing the big party (and up to 3 in one weekend some years, whew) I would have been prepared. Starting early this year! You mentioned good deals on wrapping paper – any favorite sites?

    • Reply
      August 25, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      Yes! Paper-Source is always a favorite go-to! Also be sure to check out Nashville Wraps.

  • Reply
    Lori H
    August 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    that was supposed to say “throwing the big party for the last 20+ years”

  • Reply
    Serena | Pretty Fluffy
    August 25, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    What a fabulous post Ashley! Too be honest by the time Nov/Dec rolls around and I start to see all these great Christmas DIYs and articles pop up, I’m usually too flat chat to do them.
    But this post has me thinking ahead which means I can do everything without being stressed at all.
    Welcome back! xx

  • Reply
    August 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I’ve missed your blog too Ashley! I can’t believe you’re already thinking about Christmas – that makes me kinda sad. I can’t imagine having a to do list for Christmas in August. :/

  • Reply
    Shaye T
    August 26, 2014 at 3:51 am

    LM, you’ve got to be kidding. 7th House doesn’t owe you or me an explanation as to why they have taken an “extensive hiatus”. It’s none of our business! If you haven’t noticed, there are thousands upon thousands of blogs out there. Go find another.

    Now, back to the subject at hand. I needed to be reminded how close Christmas is! I especially like your idea of wrapping the gifts and not putting the bows until it’s time to put them under the tree. As for lists, I find it easier to make a list of what I would like to buy my family and friends for Christmas before I head to the mall. I’m not good at deciding while walking through the stores. I get overwhelmed and feel I don’t make as good of choices when I do it that way. Also to note, I like buying personalized items and find it helpful to purchased those a couple of months in advance. I had all of my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving one year and it was WONDERFUL!!!!!!!! Going to shoot for that deadline again this year!

    • Reply
      September 5, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      With all due respect this whole mentality that people are not allowed to question bloggers and/or voice a differing opinion seems really ludicrous to me. 7th House on the Left is a business, with sponsors (Target no less!).

      They make money from their customers (in this case readers) so it is perfectly acceptable to accept feedback and if their complete lack of a posting schedule and addressing of the situation. Do you like every single store display that you see in a place you shop frequently? No, probably not. Have you ever filled out an online survey when emailed to you because you’re a regular shopper? Perhaps you have. Blogging is no different, as readers we do not have to like every single thing that a blogger posts and it is our choice to provide them with feedback (in this format that is their comments section).

      This isn’t specific to 7th House on the Left, but more and more I see bloggers and their readers behave as though they are doing everyone a favor providing posts and that “if we don’t agree take our reading elsewhere”. I absolutely do not see it like that, as a reader we provide bloggers an income (no matter how big or small) and we are more than allowed to express our opinion with their product.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2014 at 9:01 am

    These are truly some genius tips! Thanks for the great post Ashley!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Merry Christmas planning to you Ashley! It’s good to come out to a fellow enthusiast! While everyone is talking autumn, I’m thinking CHRISTMAS! Your list really helped me focus my daydreaming!
    Your blog is a treasure! Your posting schedule should always fit your lifestyle – and I will happily read and enjoy each one!

  • Reply
    Niki @ Village Cape Cod
    August 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    To be honest, I was relieved that other bloggers take breaks! Blogging is about having fun and sharing – not a job :). Please keep up the fun posts. I know I love them.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I bought my first Christmas gift on Saturday and was so excited! My husband thought I was crazy but he’ll be happy when December rolls around and I let him know the shopping is done. Thanks for posting more motivation to get the job done!

  • Reply
    Trisha Ann
    August 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    OMG! We had a Christmas light fiasco one year! I vowed I’d never wait to the last second to get the lights on the tree ever again and we haven’t!!!!!!!! Not fun! We now spend one night putting the lights on and a second night doing the ornaments. Much easier and not as much pressure. Makes for a happier husband too. Ha!

  • Reply
    Kristin Q
    August 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I am a crazy list person and every year think about starting Christmas planning earlier than I do. Thank you for the encouragement that it’s okay to start when it’s still 80 degrees outside! I like to take inventory of what wrapping supplies I have leftover from the year before and start looking for ones to fill in the gaps.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Just last night I was thinking about how this is the time of year when it all starts going really fast. First it’s Labor Day then you blink and it’s New Year’s Eve. I’m glad I’m not the only one already thinking about it!

    (Also, FWIW… your blog, your life, your posting schedule. You don’t owe anyone anything. I’ll be excited to see your posts here no matter how often they happen!)

  • Reply
    August 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I miss you! Come back and stay a bit.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Missed you. Glad you are back.

    I keep my Christmas lists in my “Our Groceries” app on my phone. This won’t work if you share the app with someone on your list because they will be able to see it. Thanks for the reminder to actually buy the item.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Love that idea, Barbara! My kids (who steal my phone ALL THE TIME) would never think to look on the grocery list!

    • Reply
      Anne B
      August 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Great idea!

  • Reply
    Miss Yoder
    August 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Wow, somebody needs some Christmas spirit (LM). Jingle bells, jingle bells…(Sadly, it sounds like someone whose own blog isn’t popular & feels the need to target those whose blog is wildly successful — 7TH HOUSE!) I agree with you, Shayne, bloggers don’t owe us anything — especially an explanation! Their blogs are little gifts to us, and Ashley is that “favorite relative” that always goes above and beyond with the fun gifts — & no underwear. You’re a class act, Ashley!

    Now, I have a little Christmas hint: Every year, my parents would have a huge open house Christmas party (100+ people, but you can do this for even a small Christmas dinner). It’s 2 days of FUN…

    First, long before Christmas, the women in my family (my mom, my sister, our daughters, and I) would get together to decide that year’s menu of amazing finger foods. Yes, we’d always have our tried & true recipes, but then we would all sit around with snacks, drinks and comfy clothes and pour through recipe books, Pinterest, etc. to find NEW recipes we wanted to try. There was a lot of “Oh my word! This sounds fabulous! Listen to this one…” As we decided which ones made the first cut, we created a master ingredient list.

    Well, obviously, you don’t try new recipes on guests so….

    Next, we’d plan a followup “Recipe Test Day!” Armed with all our recipes, ingredients, and some Bing Crosby Christmas music, we have an absolute BLAST spending the whole day in the kitchen cooking, laughing, and tasting all the hopeful recipes. No pressure. No deadlines. Some recipes made it to the final list & some made it straight to the trash can, but the memories we created were always the sweetest of all. Good times.

    (And by the way, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” taste a lot like warm sawdust!)

  • Reply
    September 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Ashley, I am glad you are back–not just for your wonderful posts (the selfish part), but because I was getting concerned! Yesterday when I tried to log onto your site to see if there was a new post, I got a “403” message, went to your Etsy site and saw you were on hiatus, and got WORRIED about the well-being of you and Greg and your respective families. LM truly is a Grinch if she hasn’t ascertained your character over the many posts that have informed, inspired and entertained your blog “family.” You DO NOT owe any of us an explanation. I hope your absence has been about rest, relaxation and/or ridiculous good fortune. Thanks for the nudge to start getting ready for Christmas to temper December madness. Your blogosphere family is just happy all is well in your world. We missed you.

    • Reply
      September 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks, Linda! I assure you all is well 🙂 The 403 message was due to the fact that we were having some issues with out server. We’re in the process of switching providers so that won’t happen again. The Etsy store is on hiatus because we needed to catch up on orders as well as add/remove products.

  • Reply
    Erin p.
    September 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Glad to see a new post, I too was getting concerned about your well-being. Funny how blog readers grow to care about people we’ve never met! Bloggers don’t owe anyone anything! They provide this content for free, and it should be at their leisure!

    I too, am a Christmas loving freak and started thinking about Christmas in july, when qvc had their Christmas in July shows! I’ve been making Christmas lists and planning. Once my little ones go back to school it always seems the fall and winter holidays fly by and I never get to do all I wanted to do, so it’s never too early to plan in my opinion!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Glad to see a post. Just get concerned when blogging “friends” go off the radar. Glad you are happy and healthy.

    I love the Christmas post though. I am a get it done early and ENJOY the Christmas season.


  • Reply
    September 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I love Christmas lists!
    Mine is almost ready

  • Reply
    Jo @ Let's Face the Music
    September 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    A month later I am seeing your Christmas post. With great enthusiasm I am ready to get started on the fun stuff of Christmas. I’m the church choir director so I start listening to Christmas music in August with the task of picking music for 2 Christmas cantatas and other seasonal events. During September I’m firming up my choices and writing the themes and narrations that tie the music together. We start rehearsals in October. This year, before it all gets too intense, I want to do the planning you’ve set out to make Christmas less drudgery and more joyfulness. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  • Reply
    Erin {Home Everyday}
    September 24, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I have a strict rule that there will be no fall decor before the solstice, but in the back of my mind I know holiday time is lingering. This is a great list of tips.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2014 at 5:34 am

    Every year, I tell myself I’ll get ready earlier, then I turn around and it’s December 20! On my version of this list, #8 would be a solid #1.

    Thanks for the great list!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I think planning or thinking about things early helps keep the stress out of Christmas. It shouldn’t be stressful anyways but can be since so much planning goes into this wonderful season! Yesterday I went through all of our Christmas decorations and tossed the bad and donated what wasn’t our style anymore. It feels so good knowing that stuff won’t even be there when it is time to decorate (and leaves a little extra space in the same boxes for new items without needed more boxes!!).

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