I’m a proponent of making short-term plans and goals – ones that can be tracked and kept top-of-mind easily. I call it ‘interval planning’ because I think it’s like interval training: Go all out for a short amount of time, then take a rest period, and you’ll progress more than if you just slog through at a consistent but slower rate.

The holidays provide a perfect example of and opportunity for an interval plan. Christmas is six weeks out, and then there’s a week afterward that is perfect for taking a break week.

Every Monday, from now to the end of the year, I’ll be posting about my holiday interval plan. You can join me and try out this concept of planning and executing in bursts. If you find it works for you, then you can start off the new year with a new planning strategy: perfect timing.


Here are the themes to the weeks of my holiday interval plan:

1. Make the lists.

Wrap your mind around what needs to be done, who you’ll be buying presents for, what activities you will participate in, etc. Make a list (or ten) and check it much more than twice.

Listen to this post!

SO005 | Interval Planning: An Example Holiday Plan

2. Make purchases.

If you know what you’re going to need for the holidays (because you already have made your lists), now is the time to buy them – maybe you can even get it done before Thanksgiving! More than presents, now is the time to round out your decor needs, gather your party supplies, and stock up on the non-perishables you need for holiday baking and cooking.

3. Decorate, finish purchases.

Advent begins and it’s time to make the house feel like Christmas. If you need to, finish crossing off your Christmas to-buy lists and keep an eye on that holiday calendar and what you need for each event you’re planning to attend or put on.

4. Bake & make.

I make some Christmas gifts and also bake some. This is the deadline week for getting those done – except for perishable made items which will have to wait for a few days before Christmas.

This is also the week I make sure the kids do any Christmas activities or crafts that I’d planned on. It’s easy to think, “Oh, we should do that,” and then it never happens because there is no time set aside for it. This is the week to make sure some of those things happen.

5. Wrap presents.

This always takes me multiple days, because the times where prying eyes and big mouths aren’t around are few and far between. So I dedicate this week to wrapping and to celebrating with lots of Christmas music.

6. Celebrate – it’s hard work.

The week of Christmas is bound to be intense. We think of holidays as times of rest and refreshment, but the truth is that celebrations are hard work to put on. Gear up and go in with the right mindset: Your job is to make Christmas special for those in your care.

7. Rest!

The week between Christmas and the New Year is the time I crash, wallow in the packaging and leftovers,

We don’t travel for Christmas. If you go out of town, your timeline would definitely look different if you need to be ready to go before the week of Christmas.

I hope you’ll join me in the coming weeks as we plan and execute a fun and sane Christmas celebration.


  1. I need this plan! Our holidays got crazy this year. We are traveling for Christmas and my brother in laws wedding. Over an ocean. With four children under seven. I will need a relentlessly positive attitude to avert disaster and a lot of lists. Thanks for the reminder of lists and celebration as a service to others.

  2. Wonderful! I have tried to follow the Fly Lady holiday plan in the past but it still felt overwhelming. This seems much more straight forward and doable. And with Fall in the air here in Montana, my thoughts are already turning to the Holidays, so this is exciting timing.

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