We all know that the holidays can be a chaotic time. Don’t let these holidays get you down. Stay ahead and stay organized with this ultimate holiday organizing guide.
There are a million different ways that you can stay organized and on track this Christmastime, but these 8 simple processes have become the secret to my holiday zen and sanity. By keeping these rules in mind, you too can enjoy a peaceful and stress-free holiday – a treat you’ll want to give yourself year after year.
Tackle the Holiday Cards Early
When it comes to holiday organizing, the first key is to always start early. The same goes for your Christmas cards. Don’t wait until the holidays are just around the corner. Get your lists made up by the end of November and start sending out your holiday cards in the first week of December. Remember, cards aren’t gifts, so showing up early is actually a good thing, as your friends and family can proudly display the card right up until Boxing Day!
Practice: Don’t know where to start with your Christmas card list? Sit down and take out a sheet of paper. Think of all the people that you have socialized with or grown close to in the last six months to one year and write down their names. Include friends and family members alike. Do you have their addresses?
Plan Your Parties Waaaaaay Ahead of Time
Once again, the earlier you do this – the better. Thinking of having a get together in mid-December? Don’t wait until the last minute to send out invitations and start your organizing. Start making guest lists in November and make sure invites are sent out no later than the first week of December. Purchase all non-perishables well ahead of time and make a decorating plan at least 2 weeks ahead of your event.
Practice: Getting ready for the big get-together? Sit down and make a list of everything you will need for the party. Think of everything, big and small. What kind of decorations will you have? Who are you inviting. Commit to making a preliminary plan and sending out invites by the end of the week.
Perfection? Who Needs It?
One of the most important things to except when it comes to organizing your holidays? Nothing will ever be perfect. That’s just not how life works, unfortunately. Allow yourself to make mistakes and allow your guests to make mistakes too. Don’t lose sight of what this season is truly about: appreciating one another and all the small things that make our lives amazing.
Practice: Sit down and make a list of all the things that you are grateful for this holiday season. Try to think of things that are not commercial or don’t cost money. Are you thankful for your family? Your friends? Your pets? Come up with at least 10 items.
Set Up a Wrapping Station
You’re going to be doing a lot of wrapping this holiday season, so give yourself the space to do it. Designate a quiet, removed area of the home where you have plenty of space. Home offices and guest bedrooms make ideal points for temporary wrapping stations.
Practice: Designate and clear a space in your home to stand as a “wrapping station”. Sit down and create a list of everything you will need to stock it for the season. Do you have: ribbon, bows, tissue paper, bags, tape, scissors, wrapping paper (several kinds), etc.?
Take Care of Yourself
If you’re the main holiday-prepper in the family, remember to designate yourself some “me-time”. The more overwhelmed you are, the easier it’s going to be let your organizing fall to the wayside. Take a little time each week to reflect and unwind, so you can make it through the holiday season calmly. Remember: you gotta treat yo’self!
Practice: Do 1 thing this week entirely for you and entirely on your own for at least 1 hour. That thing could be: a relaxing bubble bath, a massage, a manicure, journal writing, etc. Treat yourself and enjoy the peace of your own company.
Get Your Gift Giving Organized
Gifts pile up quickly in the Christmas season and giftees slip easily through the cracks. Take control of your holiday gift giving and come up with not only a gifting list, but a strategy for your holiday gift-giving. If you need to mail gifts, make your lists early and make sure to collect new and working addresses (nothing worse than receiving a gift right back or watching it disappear). Make sure to make detailed list for smaller gift-giving needs, as these are often the ones that slip through the cracks the quickest (think those $20 and under work parties).
Practice: In a notebook, draw several columns. Label the 1st column “name”, the 2nd column “gift”, and make the 3rd column just big enough for a check mark. Write down at least 5 names and corresponding gifts that you will be gifting those persons. If you’ve already purchased the gift and wrapped it, check it off the list. If you haven’t purchased the gift already or not prepped it, leave the check box blank. Use this to create a plan of gift purchase!
Don’t Be Afraid to Buck Traditions
A lot of our holiday organizing comes down to the way we saw our mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers do things. While some of those traditions may be great, there are always new ways of doing things and there are always different things that work better for different people. Don’t be afraid to do things differently if it means keeping your sanity. Wrapping station not work for you? Not interested in the traditional style of party planning? No worries. Do what works for you! Only you know the best way to organize your home and Christmas.
Practice: In a notebook or journal, write down 3 organizing techniques you believe you could do differently and better.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Prioritizing is kind of #1 when it comes to organizing, though it might sit lower on this list. Unless you’re a Marvel superhero, then there’s no way you can do everything that the Christmas season demands at once. Sit down and prioritize the things you need to get done in order of importance. Make sure you get the most important things done first and leave the least important things to be done at the last.
Practice: What are 3 things you HAVE to get done today? Which one is the most important? Which one is the least important?