The holidays always seem to sneak up on me! You too?


I know it’s silly, because we know for a whole year that they are arriving, and they are always in the same month, so what’s the surprise, right?



But somehow they do. At holiday time, we all dream of a beautifully decorated home, gifts wrapped and ready for gifting, and sitting by the fire with our friends and family in a  lovely, peaceful blissful way. In this post I’ll share how to be organized and not go into overwhelm with a holiday list.


In order to accomplish all this while navigating through the busy time of year with clients at FrenchGardenHouse, I make lists. Yes, lists, and I put them on my paper calendar so I have a plan I can see. {I do have them on my phone and computer too, but somehow a paper calendar works best for me when times are really busy.}


It’s the easiest way to keep organized and not go into overwhelm.  The most important part for me is to begin the preparations early.




It’s easy to find gifts early in November {I’ve been know to buy stocking gifts as found, all through the year}, buy bulbs and pot them up in November to have a lush display of whites throughout the season, to write holiday cards while catching up on Hallmark holiday movies one drizzly Sunday, and to stock up on favorite drinks and wines along the way.

Making a list and checking it twice is a guaranteed way to enjoy this season of love, peace and wonder.  Here’s my list, make your own and let us know what’s not to be missed on yours!





November 1 – 7:

  • Clean and plant terra-cotta pots with Amaryllis bulbs {they take 4-6 wks. to bloom.}
  • Extras for gifts?

November 15:

  • Plant paperwhites (3-4 weeks to bloom). How to Force Paperwhites
  • Check if we have enough FrenchGardenHouse Candles and Bayberry Tapers for home – extra for gifts.
  • Bake Holiday Cookies ahead with family if possible.

November 23:

  • Clean up Thanksgiving decor.
  • Start decorating for the holidays inside.
  • Set up tree, garlands on mantel, and holiday touches in bathrooms.

December 1:

  • Decorate outdoor picket fences with garlands and bows.
  • Check lights and replace bulbs when needed.
  • Buy wreaths for front gate and or doors.





November 1-10:

  • Make plans with friends and family for gatherings. Calendar!!
  • Stock up on wine, apple cider, and Champagne.
  • Buy nuts, crackers, and non-perishable snacks for parties.

December 1–10:

  • Plan what linens, glasses, dishes etc. I want to use.
  • Check to make sure those are clean, polish silver while watching holiday movies.
  • Host small evening dinner party for friends.

December 11–25:

  • Make sure all large platters and serving bowls are clean.
  • Finalize menus for all events including Christmas.
  • Make Holiday Nuts.
  • Spend time in front of fireplace and drink tea in the afternoon, even if only for ten minutes.
  • Make sure to relax and watch some holiday movies!







  • Buy Christmas cards if I didn’t do this already.
  • Buy holiday stamps, write cards.
  • Shop antiques for special meaningful gifts.
  • Start ordering gifts online.
  • Set up gift-wrapping station – {bins for each child, grandchild?}
  • Start wrapping gifts and add name tags.

December 1–10:




December 11–31:

  • Enjoy the season!




I’d like to thank all of you for your enthusiastic response to this year’s Holiday Decor and Gift Collection! I’m so happy that you all share my passion for gifts with a French flair to give to your family, friends and neighbors. {and for treating yourself! } If you’d like to purchase a gift for someone special {or yourself!} just pop over HERE to order.





à bientôt

11 thoughts on “MY HOLIDAY CHECK LIST”

  1. Lidy, you are so organized and that produces calm during this season. I mentally make lists, but should be making paper lists. Your images are beautiful and I enjoyed reading your lovely post with my morning coffee. Happy Wednesday!

  2. Good morning, Lidy. Your organization is impressive. It is funny that the many years I worked outside our home, I seemed to be more organized than I am now that I am retired. But you are correct the secret to it all is planning ahead and making list. So love all your beautiful images. Wishes for a lovely day.

  3. Dear Lidy,you are so organized,to me paper lists works the best too.
    Decorating starts after Sinterklaas, December 5th. Dutch tradition.
    I am a sucker for the month of December. Family and friends visiting. Good food, coversations and lots of laughter.

  4. Anja, I agree, I am always excited for December. Sinterklaas, I have so many wonderful memories from my childhood about that time of year! Hope you enjoy each day, Anja.

  5. Mary Ann Johnson

    Thanks you for this very helpful information! Paper lists always work best for me also. Your timeline is dead on and very motivating. I am DROOLING over the pictures that are in this post. Your collections are stunning! You have a gift for beauty. Your vignettes are not so fussy that they say “don’t touch”. Yours say “use me!” Love that.

  6. Making list helps keep me focused. I want to enjoy the time. Lists keep me from doing other things that take more time or waste time. Time is precious


  7. Sharon CrigSt

    And what to my wondering eyes should appear but that beautiful equine featured here! I so enjoyed this blog post of your Christmas plans and your example of your Christmas list. my two favorite items on your list was including holiday touches in the bathroom (that room is so often forgotten and is always a perfect addition) and making sure we make and take time to relax and enjoy the season, as well. I, too, love making lists and always feel so accomplished when I get to check things off! 😉

  8. Mary coleman

    Dear Lidy Thank you so much for all the love, lists, advice and joie de vie you send us. I am officially panicked as 22 are arriving for Thanksgiving and I have wallpaper going up today , bookshelves being painted , re upholstered pieces yet to appear etc, etc. my tables are set just to make me feel calmer! I just placed my order with you so I have made a start. Sending love to you and prayers for people who have suffered in California . Xox,m

  9. Mary, you have a lot going on! But I love that you are gathering 22 (!) for Thanksgiving….and if something isn’t done, this will give all of you a fun memory to talk about. We remodeled our small kitchen a few years back and on Christmas Eve day, the hood for the stove still wasn’t installed. (Long story-install nightmares!) I had people coming over for Christmas breakfast, tea, and dinner, and the table we eat at is right next to that stove, with blue tape and marker all over the tiles. 🙂

    It was a perfect gathering of everyone I love…tape, no hood and half done kitchen and all. I know your holiday will be wonderful. No one comes to see the house, they come to see YOU! : ). I hope you all have a wonderful time. Xo LIdy

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