Holiday Interval, week 1: Make Your Lists

Interval planning is my strategy for keeping my head in the game and focused on what needs to be done.

And that’s exactly what we need during the Christmas season: To see what needs to be done and then do it, realizing it’s a short-term crazy-time that we can manage, and allowing ourselves a rest after it’s over.

I like to make my interval plans six weeks long, and so that means starting my holiday plans this week. Now, I’m not starting from scratch – I already have some lists, some ideas, and even a few gifts – but now that the holiday interval has begun, it’s time to go into the zone and make sure I have all of the lists, all of the gifts, and so on.


This first week, we focus on creating the lists.

Making Christmas Lists

Here are some of the lists I’ll be writing this week:

  • Who I need to give gifts to (including neighbors – get it all written down), and what I’ll give (the biggest and hardest list to create)
  • What supplies are needed for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, and for New Year’s Day
  • What food is needed for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, and for New Year’s Day
  • Are you hostessing a gathering, party, or other event? Get your plans in order.
  • Plans for family devotions or advent Circle Time put together
  • What’s needed for decorating, and cleaning beforehand and afterward
  • Ensure the calendar is up-to-date and add in any “buffer” or “margin” days for preparing for or recovering from events
  • Who’s on the Christmas letter list and what supplies are needed and actions required to make that happen

Our family is local, so we don’t travel for Christmas, but if you do, then you’ll also have travel-related lists to prepare and your timeline might need to be adjusted.

On the one hand, writing the lists is the easier part of the plan, because it’s not really doing anything or going anywhere. On the other hand, writing the lists is the harder part of the plan, because it’s the decision-making process. If we make these decisions now, the rest of the weeks will run more smoothly and effectively because we won’t be stymied by decisions to make at every turn.

Another thing to consider as you make these lists is where you will keep them to make them useful. A list is only useful if you look at it when you need it. Where can you keep your lists to keep them easy and convenient to access? I keep mine in Evernote, but a clipboard or binder might be a better choice for you. Think about what would work and set up your lists so their usefulness is maximized for you.

What other lists will you be making to prepare for the holidays?


Holiday Interval Plan

  1. Make the lists.
  2. Make purchases.
  3. Decorate, finish purchases.
  4. Bake & make.
  5. Wrap presents.
  6. Celebrate – it’s hard work.
  7. Rest!

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One Comment

  1. Okay, I admit that the idea of making lists this week seemed overwhelming. Then I thought, even if they were incomplete (which was the perfectionist excuse I was using–based on the realistic assumption that they wouldn’t be entirely finished), well, I would at least have a start. Imperfect progress but still…progress. So I made them imperfectly in my Ubiquitous Capture Notebook, and I’ve been adding to them all week. They’ve shaped up nicely, and hello? Progress!

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