Every year, about this time, people start to panic about the holidays. Yikes!

So much to do, so little time. Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away, so, like it or not, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is officially upon us.

Take a deep breath and relax for moment. Grab a pad and pen and quickly jot down some of the things you still need to get done before Christmas or Hanukkah, and circle those items you can do now, this week or this month, before December even begins.

Here’s a checklist of November tasks to help you get started:

Start a gift list of family and friends you need to buy for and gift ideas for each, preferably now, to take advantage of Black Friday deals in two weeks

Take or select a photo for your holiday gift cards

Get your holiday cards printed

Address and stamp your card envelopes so they’re ready to go

If you are hosting, plan your Christmas or Hanukkah dinner menu now

Check your holiday lights and purchase new ones, if needed

Put up your outdoor lights

Place electric or battery powered lights on the window sills

Re-arrange your family room furniture, if needed to prepare for the tree

Clean the guest room now for any out of town holiday guest

Grocery shop for holiday meal and dessert ingredients

Purchase any teacher gifts, service provider gifts and hostess gifts

Ship any holiday packages that will be sent overseas

Decorate the foyer and/or fireplace mantel

Schedule a baking day on the calendar

Bake cookies and freeze

Send out holiday party invitations soon

Schedule babysitters for holiday party nights or New Years Eve

Purchase a few gifts this week and next week to beat the holiday rush

Plan a gratitude exercise for the Thanksgiving Day table, such as everyone sharing something they are grateful for or writing a note of gratitude in a family journal or special table runner.

If you prefer celebrating the full 25 days of Christmas, put up your tree right after Thanksgiving and decorate it.

With a little planning and a checklist in hand, you still have plenty of time to get a jump on the holiday hustle and bustle.

Connecticut Media Group