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8 Things to Do Before December 1

Holidays. Already. Oh my. Why. (Already? Why?!?)

Now that Halloween is over, we're all on the inescapable super-slide into Christmas. If you're feelin' the holiday rush like me ... panic! Just kidding. Don't panic. (My heart has already started palpitating a bit as I write this.) Once December hits, it's all over.

Let me tell you: I am not one to shop for holiday gifts before December 1. Never have, never will. Because if I start buying my kids any kind of gifts ahead of time, chances are they're going to change their fickle little 3- and 5-year-old minds about what's cool. Then I'm back to square one with a whole lot of crap to take back to the store.

Thing is, us moms know what's coming. We know what we must do and how much time we have to do it. So why not get a jump start on the holiday to-do's that we know (most likely) won't change? Here are my Top 8 things to do before December 1.

And yes, I'm sharing them here to hold myself accountable.

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1. Buy gifts for hosts and teachers

We all know how many teachers our kids have, and we all know when the last day of school is. Get the candy boxes, the coffee shop gift cards and/or the bottles of wine NOW. Wrap them up now, with bows and everything. My bonus suggestion? Opt for items that you enjoy (i.e.: your favorite wine, your favorite chocolates) just in case there aren't as many parties as you thought or your kids' class decides to do something different for their favorite teacher this year. Any extra gifts at the end of the season then belong to you.

2. Get holiday outfits organized

I hate rummaging around in drawers looking for size 3T tights, only to find that the one pair we've got has a hole in the knee.

Buy your daughter's dresses and tights. Find that perfect tie for your little man. Nab yourself a go-to sparkly top. Make sure your husband's fancy pants are dry cleaned. Dressing for the holidays is one of my favorite things to do, but it's always the thing that I don't deal with until the last minute, and I hate rummaging around in drawers looking for size 3T tights, only to find that the one pair we've got has a hole in the knee.

3. Get your spouse's gift over with

Thanks to always trying to get kids' gifts out of the way first, I'm notorious for wracking my brain about what my husband would like literally four days before Christmas. Not gonna happen this year.

4. Clean/organize main rooms in your house

Toss the extra magazines. Clean the blankets and throws on the couch. Try to peel that My Little Pony sticker off your front window once and for all. Throw away all those extra papers in the kitchen. A clear room is a clear mind, which makes for a better holiday season.

5. Donate outgrown toys and clothes

This goes for kids and parents. Not only are you making room for the new stuff you're inevitably going to get, but you're also providing goods for others who need it, which always makes me feel that much more fulfilled from the inside-out, especially during the holidays. And your kids learn to give during this season of giving, too.

6. Buy non-perishables items for special holiday food you might make

(This is one of my go-to Thanksgiving tips.) We've all got those family traditions and recipes that we make every single year without question. Buy the canned green beans for that casserole now. Pick up the cartons of chicken broth you need for that rice dish. It doesn't matter that you won't be cooking any of it until December. Those items keep well, and you'll have less things to remember to pick up in a few weeks.

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7. Put up outdoor holiday lights

It doesn't mean you have to start turning them on yet. Why not just do it now, before the weather gets unbearable and has you cursing, "It's too cold to be putting lights up outside!"

8. Get gift wrap, ribbon and/or cards

You know you're going to need them.

And Happy Holidays! (Yes, might as well start saying it now ... one less thing to do later, right?)

Photograph by: Jill Simonian

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