Take some of the stress out of the holidays by getting organized now! The key to holiday organizing is to start early, by taking baby steps, and to make lists like gifts, budget, and menus. Now is also the time to go through clothes, toys, and other household items to make room for the presents that are soon to come.
Make your list and check it twice. Before you ever step foot in a store, have everyone make gift lists (including stores). This way you can give to others what they want instead of something that will become clutter to them. Plus, you have one less decision to make. Make shopping easier by setting a deadline so you can enjoy the holiday season. The earlier you start and finish your shopping, the shorter the lines and better the selection.
Avoid the crowds. When you can, shop odd hours for a less hectic experience. Avoid malls and post offices on the weekends if possible and shop online when applicable.
Skip the deep cleaning. Do not overwhelm yourself by cleaning the house from top to bottom. Instead, concentrate only on the public areas. Guests will appreciate your hard work and still be able to enjoy your company. If you tend to decorate similarly from year to year, take a picture of your decorations to speed the process next year.
Prepare for unexpected guests. Keep an inventory of quick food items such as cheese and crackers, tea and coffee, frozen cookies, etc. For your planned gatherings, allow enough time for cleaning, cooking, and decorating by counting back from the time of your party. Keep meals simple or ask guests to bring a dish to reduce your preparation time and stress. Delegate or ask for help with some of these activities; it will take a little of the stress off you and may even turn several of the chores into fun.
Throw an “undecorating” party! Once all the festivities have passed, the idea of cleaning up and taking down the decorations may invite some of that stress back into your life. Stop it in its tracks – have an informal “undecorating” party. Most chores take less time and are more fun when you have friendly company and a couple extra hands.
Label. Label. Label! When it comes to Christmas decorations and supplies, use appropriately sized storage containers that are sturdy and label! A couple extra minutes at the end of this season could save hours when it is time to decorate next year. This is also a good time to update your card list while everything is fresh in your memory. If it turns out you forgot someone this year, you can always send a New Year’s card.
Just remember, the holidays are about friends, family, and fun. Take the stress out of holiday preparations and enjoy the good times by preparing early, asking for help, and keeping it simple.
Need some help getting ready for the holidays? 30 Days to Christmas: Procrastinator’s Edition is a guide to making the most of the holiday season with a daily countdown including checklists and printable worksheets. Find out more here.
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