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Christmas Planner: Step 2 (First Half of September)

Step 2 – Gifts and Glad Tidings
Let’s get everything in place for your gifts and cards. Here are some easy steps to make that happen…

Have you figured out your Weekly Gift Countdown Number?

Let me explain – a Weekly Gift Countdown Number is a super simple formula I have used for my gift list for several years. It always motivates me and keeps me on my pre-planning schedule year after year. Below are the easy steps to find your Weekly Gift Countdown Number.

In Step 1 we listed names on our gift list (and if you do stockings), names on our stocking stuffers list. Get this list out and choose a spot to write this formula – either on the back of your gift list, or in the corner on the front…

  1. Count the number of names you listed on your gift list (just names on your gift list, we will do stockings next) and write this number down. Notice I said the number of names on your gift list, not number of gifts to buy (more about this below). For example, on my gift list this year, I have 21 total names.
  2. Now subtract anyone you have already completed shopping or made gifts for, and record this number. For example, I currently have 2 names crossed off my list, so that brings my number down to 19.
  3. Now count how many weeks we have until Thanksgiving. Since our goal is to be totally prepared by Thanksgiving, divide your number by that many weeks.  For example, with 19 names left on my list – 19 names divided by 9 weeks until Thanksgiving is 2.1. I always round up to give myself extra time, so my Weekly Gift Countdown Number is 3.
  4. Draw a circle around your number.  This is how many names you need to cross off your list each week, beginning THIS week, to have all gifts together by Thanksgiving. Again, using myself as the example, I will need to have 3 people’s gifts purchased/made each week for the next 9 weeks.


To answer a question you probably have – Yes, I do have a few names on my list that I purchase more than one gift for (like my children). I have found it is much easier to set my number by names instead of number of gifts because I don’t always give the same number of gifts – depending on what I find, make, or decide to give in a particular year. I simply don’t cross their name off my list until all their gifts are together. If you prefer to figure your Weekly Gift Countdown Number by number of gifts, go ahead! Simply substitute the number of names with the number of gifts instead.  The plan that works best is the plan you customize to fit your own personal needs.

*Knowing my Weekly Gift Countdown Number always motivates me because I don’t want it to grow too large to handle in a stress-free way. If I miss a week, my number will grow to 4 and so on…I hope this simple formula serves as a motivation for you as well!

Add Jesus to your gift list!
Pray about something you can do within the month of December as a special gift to Jesus. Showing others our love by giving gifts is a wonderful way to put “love your neighbor” into practice. It also symbolizes the amazing gift Jesus is to each one of us, but don’t forget to give a special gift to the One we are celebrating!  This could be a donation you make, time you give, blessing someone that could really use some help…

If your family does stockings, we will apply the same formula there. Go back to step 1 above using the number of names you have on your stocking list, or if you prefer, the number of stocking stuffers you plan to purchase/make. Follow the steps to figure out your weekly stocking stuffer countdown number as well. Record this number on your stocking list and allow it to motivate you to cross that number off each week beginning THIS week.

Not everyone sends out Christmas cards, others have opted for the electronic method, so if you are not a snail mail card sender, feel free to skip this section. If you plan to post an e-card, skip to step 2.

  1. Get your envelopes. Even if you send photo cards and don’t have the photo yet, many big box companies will go ahead and let you have the envelopes. If you make your cards, go ahead and get your envelopes and any needed supplies. If you order your cards, go ahead and place the order this week. If you send the same kind of cards out each year it might be a good investment to go ahead and purchase an extra set of envelopes in the needed size. Then, when the envelopes come with the cards, you can use them for next year and can stay one year ahead.
  2. If you are taking a family picture, go ahead and schedule with your photographer  or call a friend to help with this THIS week. They will be getting really booked up, so make that call.  Decide on clothing theme, photo ideas…
  3. If you like to include a family newsletter, go ahead and jot down the main highlights you want to include. Keep this list with you and add to it as things come to mind. If you have a few minutes waiting for an appointment, in the car line…write a paragraph or two.
  4. E-card senders, decide on a design so you can simply import your picture when they are taken.
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