Staying Organized and Stress Free During the Holidays

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The chaos of Christmas has begun! For the next few weeks the roads will be heavy with traffic, the stores will have long lines, and everyone everywhere will be rushing around to get at least one of the things on their list this month done. 

But there's good news.  With a little planning and organization you can enjoy this holiday season a bit more without having to rush around and worry that you forgot something.  Here are a few ways that I always master this time of year.

[#1] Make a list of everything that needs done.
The best way to start this month is by making a list of everything that you'll have to do over the next few weeks. You can go back and put it in chronological order later but for now just jot down everything you can think of.  Buy gifts, wrap gifts, decorate house (if you haven't already), finalize Christmas Day menu, finalize plans for Christmas, mail Christmas cards, get Santa photos, etc.  Not only does this help you organize your month but it gets those things out of your brain and down on paper.  Sometimes all those things just floating around in your head can stress you out.

You'll also want to go through and order your list by week or day.  It makes it so much easier to plan everything out.

[#2] Shop strategically.
If you're like me, crowds will make you go nutty.  So make sure you shop strategically.  Grocery shop several days before Christmas Day so you don't have to fight over food and parking spaces.  Shop for gifts on weeknights rather than weekends when everyone's out.  Also, don't be afraid to take an entire weekday off work just to get all of your gift shopping done.  Make a list for every store and every errand and stick to it so you don't get distracted and fall for impulse buys. 

[#3] Determine plans a week or two beforehand.
Contact your family members and determine the plans and a tentative time for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  This will help you know what should be on your to do list and when you should do it.  This also helps you know who you need to buy gifts for since you pretty much know who you will be seeing for the holidays. 

[#4] Meal plan and make a shopping list before the big meal.
I always finalize my Christmas Day menu (if I'm hosting) 2 weeks before that way I can let guests know what they should bring.  If I'm a guest at someone else's meal I usually contact them a week and a half before and ask what I can bring.  This gives me time to prepare any food and include the ingredients in my regular weekly shopping list. The week before your big meal if you're hosting, make sure you go over all of your recipes and check stock in your pantry so you can make a complete shopping list. Nothing is worse than realizing ON CHRISTMAS DAY that you're out of something and all the stores are closed. 

[#5] Make reservations way ahead of time.
Some families go out to eat on Christmas Eve with relatives they won't see on Christmas Day.  If that's the case, make those plans ASAP and make reservations as soon as possible.  Restaurants fill up and you don't want to be stuck waiting two hours to get a table. 

Also, if you go out to dinner on New Year's Eve like we do, make sure you decide on a place as early as possible and make your reservations. New Year's Eve can be chaotic and busy at almost any restaurant.

[#6] Plan every activity on your list on your calendar.
So when you go through your to do list for the month choose weekends or dates for the items like mailing Christmas Cards, getting photos with Santa, etc. This way your weekends are planned out and more enjoyable.  Try to get some of the stuff on your list done on weeknights too.  And make sure to schedule some time to just relax.

I hope you all have an organized, stress free, and lovely holiday season!

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  1. I'm sitting down tonight to make out my list. I have a few days off from work and hope to get a lot done. I plan to finish my shopping on a week day or at night...I won't go near the malls on the weekends.

    1. awesome good luck! And yea I'm allergic to malls on weekends too haha!


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