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HGP? HHP? What's the difference?

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Retire Member
Oct 9, 2007
I've been asked a couple of times to talk about this, so since it's Christmas in July Eve, let's take a whang at it:

What is the difference between the Holiday Grand Plan and the Houseworks Holiday Plan ... and which one should I follow?

Right off the bat, I'd say there's no "should" about it. Which plan, no plan, custom plan--it's all up to your personal choice. But I did want to write (once) about what the differences are, so that each one of us can make the right choice for themselves.

Unlike the Countdown, which is just holiday prep, both the HHP and the HGP are ambitious, all-autumn holiday plans. Both of them seek to move through the house on a weekly basis, with decluttering, deep-cleaning and organizing assignments designed to bring the whole house to a ready state by the time December rolls around.

As many of you know, the Holiday Grand Plan is the Web's oldest holiday plan. It grew out of a very early online community on the old Prodigy service, and was based on a Cleaning Grand Plan that our group devised, but most of the authoring was done by my good friend Katie Leckey. When autumn rolled around, Katie added a holiday prep component to the Cleaning Grand Plan, and that became the HGP we know today.

This history explains why there are a few puzzlers when it comes to the HGP. For instance, the front door/entryway portion comes at the very start of the plan, and many people noted that, "Hey--my front porch needs cleaning AGAIN" by the time they made it to December. Other objections are that this plan presumes an average suburban home, and doesn't really encompass alternate living arrangements very well. Still other people wondered, "Why on EARTH are we spending two weeks cleaning the attic and garage right in the middle of the holiday season?"

Simply put, the HGP grew out of another plan, and wasn't designed just for the holiday pre-season.

By contrast, that's what I sat down to do when I wrote the Houseworks Holiday Plan: create a more realistic cleaning focus and flow for the pre-holiday months. I also wanted to break down the plan into "areas", rather than "rooms". Some weeks, like Bed and Bath week, the "area" may be spread across two or more rooms in the house--but the idea is that assignments are focused on a single function, rather than a geographic area. By thinking about ALL bathrooms at the same time, you'll find it more efficient to deal with the chores on the list.

So, rather than a pretty rigid "front door to back door" approach, I went for something of a spiral. The plan starts with planning, creative areas, and the master bedroom--all "personal" spaces. Tackling them first gives the planner a place to go to create, relax and rejuvenate as she works the rest of the plan.

Then the HHP moves into family spaces, such as kids' rooms, guest rooms or the family room, and only then begins to take on more public areas ... and we END with the entryway/front-door area. The idea is to start with yourself, move on to the family, and only then tackle those areas and functions that will see guests, visitors or entertaining.

The second goal I had with the HHP was a more realistic and natural pace to holiday planning. On the HGP, there are a LOT of pre-season assignments dumped in the first two weeks, and for many of us, that's just too early--not to mention that the first two weeks of both plans overlap summer's end, Labor Day and back-to-school. On the HGP, we had lots of second-week dropouts as people decided that this was just too hard.

Instead, I tried to space HHP holiday prep assignments over many weeks, letting people move into seasonal planning more gradually. So we START a Christmas planner, but we don't print off the world in a day or two. We BEGIN making gift lists, but we won't complete them for several weeks. The idea is to have a lot more wiggle room for busy weeks, vacations or simple personal "I can't think about this yet!" preferences.

Finally, I looked at what a lot of people do, which is combine a longer-term plan like HHP and HGP, with the Countdown, once it rolls in at the end of October. Knowing that many of us fall off the rails on the longer plan, then catch up with the Countdown, I tried to make sure that there was an easy transition from where we are on HHP to where we start with the Countdown, to account for this.

So, which one is right for you? It's all a matter of your own preference--but since some of you have asked, I hope I've answered questions about the "whys" behind both plans.

See you ... whenever!



Retire Member
Oct 17, 2007
thanks CEO!


MHH Admin
Oct 9, 2007
Missouri, USA
Thanks so much...I have been struggling with this one! I can see how adding holiday prep to an existing plan may have created a few quirks.

Can I be honest??? I have NEVER finished either one...LOL ..... I am sooo bad at long term projects...but I figure whatever I get done is better than nothing. And truthfully if I'd get a better handle on my weekly routines...the plans during the holidays would be so much easier!

I do however FOLLOW the Christmas Countdown...I love that plan and it has been a lifesaver for me for many years. Six weeks are managable for me and I often have a lot of the stuff finished earlier. I know it is only holiday prep not the cleaning but it really helps in lots and lots of ways.

I honestly might have to do some weird combination.


Super Moderator
Oct 10, 2007
Arkansas-Go Razorbacks! Whoo Pig Sooie!
Excellent information for making decisions!

Although I love the HGP, it's a little too much for me this year. So I'm going for a HHP and CC combo!! As Ginger says, whatever I get done is helpful, and what doesn't get done on the "scheduled" week will get done when it gets done...or, it won't! Either way, it's ok!! Either way, I'm far ahead of the game come December 1, when most folks are just getting started!


Premiere Member
Dec 27, 2007
Austria - Europe
CEO - thanks a lot for your explanations!!! Now I understand the differences and can better decide which plan works for me!!!

In general - Thank you very very very much for all the work you have done at OC and OH... You really helped me to "declutter" and
simplify my life!



Santa's Elves
That was an awesome explanation of something that has stumped me for a few years now.

I have always been one of those "falling off by the second week" kinda gals, and this year promised myself I wont. I decided this week following it room for room as the plan does doesn't work for me for what ever reason. I live in a california split level (has 3 levels) and decided August I would devote to deep cleaning and organizing top floor (bedrooms and bathroom), September lowest level (family room and office), then middle floor for October where the kitchen, living, and dining room need to be most organized for the holidays. Then November and December (if all goes well) will be for shopping, planning, cooking, and preparing for Christmas.

For some reason I had this break through this week on how to do this, I have such piece of mind, where a week ago I was stressing about it.

Thanks for letting me know I am not the only one who couldn't complete the plan!

Kelly :skate:


MHH Member
Dec 30, 2007
Finish a plan??? Was I supposed to finish a plan???? :confused: Oh, that explains it!!!!! And here I was thinking that the game was to see how fast I wound up dropping off!!! Now I know what I've been doing wrong all this time!!!! :haha:

I think that maybe I need the lower stress level of the HHP...as much as I will always aspire to the HGP, I've come to realize that there is just no way I'll ever get through it while working full time...and who needs the guilt that comes with not finishing up??

Thanks for the explanation, CEO! SO good to "see" you again!



Santa's Elves
Oct 13, 2007
West Midlands, UK.
Thanks for the explanation CEO, I have found it most enlightening.

Love reading your posts, they are always so informative.



New Member
Jan 3, 2008
I'm adding my thanks, CEO! Your explanation was wonderful -- acomplex topic, and you made it clear for us. I also think that by bringing it up now -- way before we actually begin -- you've given us time to think about our lives: our energy, our working style, our goals for the holidays -- and a chance to be realistic about things! ::eek:rnament:
:grouphug: Thanks so much for the explanation. I loved learning the history of the plans. I have never FULLY completed any of the plans yet and hope to get a little closer to finishing this year and next and I just might be in full gear by 2010...lol (maybe) :haha:


Retire Member
Nov 5, 2007
South New Jersey
Thank you for the explanation CEO. I was sitting her just now trying to distinquish the difference between the two. For me personally, I am going to go with the HHP + CC combo. It will work best for me :grin:


Santa's Elves
Premiere Member
Oct 12, 2007
Thanks for being so informative. I havent decided what i will try yet so this weekend i plan on looking everything over in depth and getting myself geared up. Thanks again.
Thanks so much for the great explanation!

I've used the Countdown now for about 5-6 years and it has really helped. This year we are going to be doing some redecorating so I want to do one of the longer plans. This explanation made it clear which one- the HHP! It's also wonderful to know that if I fall of the HHP wagon I can jump right back on CC.

BTW- I had to re-register! Did something here change after last Christmas? It took my old nick and PW, but I guess I'll be listed as new again.

Anyway, THANKS!!!!