Ducks 'n a Row: Best Tips for Super Easy Holiday Prep + Saving Money

01 November 2016

Best Tips for Super Easy Holiday Prep + Saving Money

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CelebrateClean #CollectiveBias

holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, birthday parties, family fun

How well do you do when holiday prep time rolls around? Have you paced yourself so that when the big day arrives you have everything ready with plenty of energy left over for you? Have you ever experienced the exhaustion of trying to have at all "just-so" in a last-minute kind of way? Take it from me, the holidays will be a zillion times more enjoyable if you are well-planned, rested and ready! 

Another stress maker can be money-based. If you are unsure of just how much you can afford to spend while still making a great party, do what I did: go to Family Dollar and buy your supplies there. This week I purchased a 12 pack of Angel Soft® bath tissue and a 6 pack of Sparkle® paper towels at such a great price that I am well on the way! Saved money and got the best paper towels and bath tissues, too. What a perfect plan.

saving, coupons, deals

In addition to the already great price, when you buy Angel Soft® bath tissue and/or Sparkle® paper towels you can get an additional 50 cents off per package ($1 total if you buy both) with smart coupons: Family Dollar Smart Coupons

Here is a 1 minute video showing you how simple it is to use Family Dollar's smart coupons:

Now, let me share with you some tips that I have learned on family party planning.  It took me a while but, when I finally got it, I have found that every big occasion is so much fun because I am ready ahead of time. Hassle-free!  

First, plan ahead. These events should not surprise anybody. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve/Day, birthdays ... they all come at the same time every year. How perfect is that! So, today get out your calendar. Locate the holiday or celebration that is next to come around. 

Assuming you will be celebrating at home, it is time to plan. Identify the week that is 4 weeks prior to your party. That week (we will call it week #1) has some tasks that you should try to accomplish. I am going to give you suggestions based on what my tasks will be. You can tailor it to what you know should be done for your family. Note that I have created 3 FREE printables that will help you along the way (links at the end of this post.)

Before anything, be aware of your “surroundings”
i.e. check your calendar for other appts and obligations. All of this planning will have to work in with the other things your family has to do. The first week of this process starts about a month prior to your event. If, for instance, the event is Thanksgiving, the first week's tasks take place four weeks prior to Thanksgiving Day.

Here is my prep list in a nutshell - color coded for each week! The details are also color coded on FREE printable #1. The other two printables, also free, are a chore success chart with stickers... a fun way for you to track your progress!

  • 1st week - deep cleaning, inviting guests, menu plan, setting up the chore chart - printable #2
  • 2nd week - grocery list - grocery shop - decorations
  • 3rd week - find and clean "special things" for the party
  • 4th week "Holiday Week"- final cleaning - set up - bake - cook - place the last sticker on Printable # 2 (yes, there are stickers!)

Week 1 That first week includes a lot of cleaning. You may be a mom that keeps up with this - so it will be no sweat for you.  

Then there are the "overscheduled moms" who use crisis as a catalyst. The "crisis" being that we haven't done that deep cleaning routinely and (here is the crisis) a holiday is coming! Now we have to do it!  Having a deadline energizes us. 

cleaning, shopping, saving, coupons
Wash those windows!

cleaning, planning, parties
Cobweb too!

That is why I bought Sparkle® paper towels in the 6 pack. I was energized! Not only is Sparkle® at Family Dollar a great buy but I have a ton of cleaning to do. Sparkle® is just the right paper towel to getth e job done. It really lives up to its name. My windows, mirrors, appliances, counter tops - everything - will be beautifully clean! When this week is done you will have 2 stickers to use. Hmm, wonder what they might be? (Hint: "Planned" and "Cleaned")

Week 2 is an important week. That is the week that you take your menu plan and turn it into a grocery shopping list. It must include everything that can be purchased for your party that is not going to go bad before the big day. Things that will have to wait a bit longer are fresh produce or bread items. But you can buy everything else now - including all the paper goods. 

Family Dollar is a great place to get many of your supplies. While I was getting my Sparkle® paper towels I also bought a big pack of Angel Soft® bath tissue. I wanted to provide quality products for my family and our guests and at those prices it was a no-brainer! Check out the video in this post that shows you how you can save even more using their EASY smart coupon app!  After you complete the week #2 tasks, don't forget to add stickers to your printableyou are just itching to see it, aren't you!

Week 3- Now we are getting down to the wire. Get out all the special things that you will use. Some items will need to be washed or laundered. They may include: cream pitcher, sugar bowl, special serving utensils, trays, serving bowls, candles and candle holders, decorations, table cloth, napkins, carving knife, big coffee maker, carafes, ice bucket, games for the kids. Decide what you and your family will need in the way of clothes to wear, as well. Find them - fix them -clean them. Sticker!

easy holiday planning

HOLIDAY WEEK - WEEK 4! Put on some music and enjoy your final prep week. Get the kids into the fun. Bake. Cook. Do final touch up cleaning. Use your paper towels - Sparkle® paper towels - to spruce up the bathrooms and don't forget to put out the Angel Soft® bath tissue, too. (Isn't it nice that you can put tissue with perfect softness and lasting strength out for your guests without breaking the bank to get it!)

Almost there! Set up your serving area and tables. Now you can shower, get dressed and wait for your guests to arrive. Your final stickers can now be applied to your "I Did It" chart. ENJOY! 

holiday planning

Tip - dishes that can be prepped a day or two in advance should be. That includes baking, stuffing for turkey meals, yams. Keep that kitchen free for everything that MUST be done on the day of your party.

tips, Thanksgiving, holidays

OK ... so what are these printables I am talking about? Well, printable #1 is a color coded list of each week of tasks that you will want to get done. Printable # 2 is what I call the "I Did It" chore chart.  It is an autumn leaf printable with circles. Each time you have accomplished a task in this preparation process, you can put that sticker on a circle.

I have my I Did It chart on the refrigerator door. For the stickers, you can either buy some from your local office supply store (I used a popular brand #22807 2" circles) to print them or your can print them on paper and cut them out. Glue stick works well!  The whole point is to enjoy your success and, when the last sticker goes on, celebrate that YOU did it!
cleaning, shopping

When you are making out your shopping list, put Family Dollar on it as  a destination and be sure to take advantage of the great smart coupons savings (this offer 10/27 to 12/27/2016)--

  • Offer: Save 50¢ off ONE (1) Angel Soft® Bath Tissue, 12 Family Roll or 12 Big Lavender Roll
  • Offer: Save 50¢ off ONE (1) Sparkle® Paper Towel, 6 Roll
    Have a great time at your holiday party!


writer, lifestyle blogger, preschool teacher
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