We love our lists. From sticky notes on the mirror to chalk slates and whiteboards to digital voice reminders, calendars at our fingertips and even smart watches telling us when and what to do, our days are dictated by the list. Thanksgiving starts the maddening cycle of creating lists, checking things off and recreating lists of new and not-yet-done tasks. Here’s a basic rundown of lists to remember and efficient ways to get it all done.

Holiday grocery lists:

Holiday Lists Gifts Party Hostess Organized Entertaining

  • Find the sales before you go: Download the Flipp app; find your local weekly ads from grocery and chain drug, specialty, home improvement and department stores online. The downloads include coupons from the stores and additional digital coupons; you view the ads and keep all the coupons in one place on your phone. It saves time flipping through paper pages and there’s no way to forget coupons at home.
  • Shop seasonally: Use this guide and know what’s in season now, and save money using what’s freshest and most abundant.
  • Shop the local farmer’s markets: Your local farmers want your business, and bargaining is often acceptable at the farmer’s market. The growers know their products and will supply helpful cooking tips and recipes along with their products.
  • Cook ahead and freeze: Some holiday food remains the same or gets better cooked ahead: soups, stocks, sauces, gravies, stuffing, casseroles and many dessert items hold up well when refrigerated up to three days or frozen for short periods.

Holiday events and party invitations:

Holiday Lists Gifts Party Hostess Organized Entertaining

If you’re hosting a party:
  • Limit food and drink selections: Don’t attempt a menu to please every palate and dietary requirement of your guests. Offer a drink-and-appetizer event, or desserts only, or a potluck buffet. Your job as host is making everyone feel welcome and special, not spending the entire night in the kitchen.
  • Offer non-alcoholic drink selections: Not everyone indulges, and many guests have to drive home. Be the responsible host and cut off someone’s intake (and take their car keys) if they are staggering, slurring their words or physically ill. They’ll be mad and maybe humiliated, but they will live through it.
  • Buy some, make some, cater some: It’s fine to use some shortcuts during the holidays. Make a few homemade dishes and depend on the grocery store or specialty caterer for others. No polite guest will ask which is which.
 If you’re going to a party:
  • Bring a gift: It lets the host know you appreciate the invitation and their efforts. A small box of quality candy, flowers, a bottle of wine, or a gift bag with funny cocktail napkins, wine stoppers and pretzels or peanuts are useful to your host for this or another party.
  • Be on time arriving and leaving: “Fashionably late” is just rude. Don’t arrive before the appointed time, but don’t expect an overjoyed host if you arrive at 11 p.m. for a party scheduled from 9 to 11:30 p.m. Watch for end-of-party cues (the host starts major cleanup operations, ends the music, closes the bar) and know when it’s time to go.
  • Dress appropriately: Common holiday sense dictates no ripped jeans, sneakers, holey sweatshirts or unwashed hair. If the invitation isn’t specific, go with mostly business casual, plus a bit of holiday bling (bright jewelry, colorful scarves and ties, sequined clutch or shoes).

Holiday gifts:

Holiday Lists Gifts Party Hostess Organized Entertaining

If you’re shopping early:
  • Know your spending limits: Cash or credit, have a final spending amount in mind, as well as a per-person spending limit. Use credit cards with reward points or cash back, and pay off the balance in January. Paying interest means you pay the card issuer for the right to use your own money.
  • Ask them what they want: Don’t waste time and money guessing; ask your friends and family what they really need this year. Compare prices from local stores and online retailers and consider the cost of shipping as part of the overall price. Sometimes going to the store is less expensive, though less convenient, that going online.
  • It’s not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Don’t forget local deals on Small Business Saturday and the worldwide opportunity to support museums and galleries when you shop online for Museum Store Sunday.
If you’re shopping last-minute:

  • Gift cards always work: They’re available everywhere, they don’t expire and the recipient buys what they want.
  • Homemade gifts: You don’t need a fully baked idea. Cookies in a jar requires the dry ingredients only, nicely layered in a clear glass jar and tied with a ribbon. The recipient adds the butter, eggs and vanilla and has you to thank for those delicious calories.
  • Re-gifting: You received hostess gifts you hate and lacked the time to return. Now is the time to rewrap and pass them on to someone else.

And for anyone on your list, give the gift of great sleep with Headleveler pillows:  With nearly three decades of experience, our made-to-measure pillows provide customized comfort after long days and nights of shopping, cooking, traveling and reveling. Deep and restful sleep is essential to re-energize the body, calm the mind and get ready to face life’s ever-present to-do list. Pillows come in a variety of sizes, prices and thicknesses and we offer a travel pillow for those on-the-go types on your holiday shopping list. Visit our website for details, distributors and ordering information.