Things always get a bit (or a lot) crazy during the holidays and they are just around the corner. Are you ready? Don’t worry, if you go through this checklist you’ll be totally prepared and will be able to breeze right through without breaking a sweat!
Pre Holiday Checklist: Career
Self Evaluation – Most companies are right in the middle of the yearend performance review process. Don’t procrastinate! Managers and HR are constantly checking to see how far along everyone is in the process and you don’t want to be one of the slackers holding things up because they will know it’s you.
Performance Review – Take 20 to 30 minutes before meeting with your manager to write down goals that you’ve achieved during the year, and come up with a couple of questions and points you want to discuss. Take advantage of this one-on-one time with your manager and demonstrate that you’re taking a proactive approach to your career development. Managers love that! And if you want more advice on how to stand out, check out my tips on making the most of constructive criticism with your manager.
Network – This is a great time of year to get back in touch with past colleagues and managers that you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. Grab a coffee together, drop them a line, or send a holiday card or email to let them know how you’re doing and that you are still thinking about them. A few minutes go a long way!
Backup Coverage – Make sure your colleagues are trained and have all the contact info and procedures they’ll need if you’re taking days off. Likewise if you’re covering for someone make sure they get you everything you’ll need before they leave.
Relax, Smile, & Don’t Be The Drunk Idiot At the Holiday Party – Keep your cool and leave any family stress out of the office. This isn’t the time of year you want to be snapping at people or wearing a frown on your face. Don’t be the office scrooge! And please remember almost everyone at the holiday party will be toting a camera so don’t make a drunken fool of yourself or the evidence will come back to bite ya!
Open Enrollment – Don’t forget to submit all your paperwork in time for all of your corporate benefits like 401k, health and dental insurance, life insurance, flex spending, commuter benefits, and updates for your W2.
Pre Holiday Checklist: Your Own Sanity
Family Picture – Brush up on the self-timer feature on your camera and take some holiday pictures to send to family and friends. If you want to get professional pics taken, set up an appointment now because spots fill up fast and you’ll want to have enough time to order prints.
Address Updates – Start emailing and texting people for their current addresses if you’re planning on sending cards and packages.
Holiday Cards – Take advantage of online sales, especially if you plan to make photo cards. Flat cards are a lot cheaper than folded cards if you’re on budget. Save time from having to write and sign each one by ordering cards with a personalized printed message. Then order stamps online to avoid waiting in long lines.
Budget – Review your budget before you start shopping and determine how much you can afford to spend. I stopped exchanging gifts with my extended family and friends several years ago to save money and trust me nothing bad happened. Don’t feel guilty not buying gifts if you’re low on funds. Spending time with people or sharing a meal is way more meaningful than gifts anyway IMO.
Finances – Keep track of all of your financial accounts before the year is up. And make sure you’re putting your money to work for you. Find out lots of helpful tips with this year end checklist for your finances that can help you grow your wealth.
Meal Planning – I’m a big fan of ordering holiday meals, eating out, or going potluck style to avoid anyone from having to spend all day in the kitchen. Get a head count now if you’re hosting and decide who is bringing what. I love to be the one in charge of pumpkin pie because it’s so easy to pick one up from the bakery all ready to go.
Shopping – If you’ll be buying gifts for kids, get their wish lists early so you’ll have time to order online without having to pay a fortune for rush shipping. Make a list of family and friends you’re shopping for and cross them off as you go so you don’t end up buying too much or forgetting anyone.
Travel Planning – Start shopping around for flight deals if you haven’t already and check if your car is due for a tune up if you’ll be driving. And make things easier on yourself and pack smart!
Cleaning – Focus on the living room, kitchen, and bathroom in case you get a surprise visit from friends and family. The bedroom can stay messy if you’re short on time.
Donate – It feels great to give back to the community and those in need, especially this time of year. Find a few things you can donate to goodwill, help out at a local food bank, or support one of your favorite charities.
* Laugh A Lot * – I think one of the best stress relievers is laughter. It makes me sad when I hear people say they don’t like the holidays because it makes them feel stressed out. We all need to lighten up and laugh more. Life is short so spend more of your time having fun!
Untemplaters, what are your plans for the holidays this year? Do you think you’ll stay calm this year?
Barb Friedberg says
Sydney, I’m enjoying a great visit with family right now!!! And, we’re going out for Thanksgiving dinner.. yea
Nice, good for you! Eating out is easy and so much more relaxing. The food will be great, no one has to run back and forth from the kitchen, and best of all there’s no clean up afterwards! 🙂
Buck Inspire says
Holiday parties are notorious. One year, a highly esteemed vice president had a little too much to drink. I think the reason these parties get out of hand is because spouses aren’t invited. Recipe for trouble. Anyway, this VP was feeling a little frisky so she took it upon herself to let her fingers do the walking in the ladies room. Pure insanity!
I’ve never understood how people could be drunken idiots at a holiday party for work! No matter what the setting, how much fun people are having, it’s still work and you’re being evaluated in some way at all times.
Tell me about it! I had a sit down dinner holiday party one year and that was nice because people stayed in control and it was nice being able to sit and have conversations with the whole table at once. I think when people are standing at holiday parties they tend to drink more because they feel like they need to have a drink in their hand the whole night, and people will point out when their glass gets empty so it’s almost an obligation to go refill it.
Robert @ The College Investor says
I work retail so this is my favorite time of the year! Thank goodness my family understands how hectic my work is right now, but it is also what I enjoy at work the most. My vacation time is anytime I want from Feb to Oct, and my company is smart about open enrollment – our fiscal year is April to March!
I’m glad you enjoy your work! Retail must be exciting this time of year and it seems people are shopping more this year compared to the last few. Guess we’ll find out for sure in a week or so when stores report back how Black Friday/Cyber Monday went. I held off on buying a lot of things for 2-3 years so I’m replacing a few things this year and happily taking advantage of the sales. That’s nice your open enrollment is after the holiday rush!
I love how you split the post into career and family! A healthy balance is vital!
I hope more people will improve their work life balance because it really increases happiness and quality of life!
Financial Samurai says
I’ve seen so many drunk folks at the company holiday party it’s crazy! One guy passed out in the middle of the host’s house! He was pushed out the next year.
This is the best time of the year, and I look forward to the next.
What’s the new video I hear w/ Gaga??
It’s amazing how some people think it’s okay to act like complete idiots at holiday parties. I usually don’t stick around until the end because that’s when the most trouble happens when people don’t know how to control their drinking. …The latest SNL video JT did with Gaga is called 3-Way the Golden Rule. It’s pretty funny too. I think my favorite part of their series is how well they impersonate the early 90’s music videos. So funny!
Financial Samurai says
Post that video up!
I love this time of year. Marshmellows on an open fire, snowboarding, indoor tennis, lighter workloads, maybe even a year end bonus! lol
101 Centavos says
Keep that nasty guest bathroom clean! Good reminder. Our boys are but mere notches above cave-dwellers when it comes to minding the guest bath.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that guests will ask to use the bathroom even if they only visit for 15-20 minutes so gotta keep it clean!
I’m more concerned with the shopping aspect, haha. Doing my finger workouts for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Got to set a budget, though. Hmm…
I haven’t had much luck with cyber Monday maybe because I usually wait until I get home from work when a lot of items are sold out. I plan on getting holiday cards on sale though because they never sell out. 🙂
Jon - Free Money Wisdom says
Ha, love that, “finger work-out.” I may have to start too. I refuse to go in store. I’m staying home in front of my cozy computer!