The holiday season is here! Lights, tinsel, sweets, and good cheer will soon be all around us… and that’s enough to make anyone smile.
However, the holidays also have a tendency to bring on a lot of stress. Running from celebration to celebration, making it to holiday school and church programs, and ensuring you have all the right gifts and foods for each event is draining. On top of all that, you’re also expected to keep up with the day-to-day tasks such as laundry, dishes, and homework.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep holiday stress levels in check and keep the focus on fun and family this season. One of the best ways to go about this is to get organized before the insanity hits and stay organized until it ends.
Here are our top five tips for doing just that:
1. Avoid Overcommitment
First and foremost, you will want to do everything you can to avoid overcommitment. Sure, you have to go see Grandma June, but that doesn’t mean your neighbor’s cousin’s potluck party is a must-do.
Commit to events selectively and leave plenty of time open for simple holiday activities with the family such as baking, watching holiday movies, and snuggling up to read together.
2. Make a List, Check it Twice
Once you know which events you will be attending this year, start making lists. Lists are your best friend during this time and you should have several.
Begin with a master list of all the activities you need to prepare for. This list should include notes on the gifts you will need to pick up, clothes you will need to have ready to wear, and any food you must prepare for each event. It should also include any tasks you need to finish before the arrival of guests. From this master list, you can create both an organized schedule and your shopping lists.
Your schedule should include every single activity for the entire season. This includes things like dropping clothing off at the dry cleaners, putting clean sheets on the guest bed, sending greeting cards, and baking cookies for the school function. By adding these small but necessary tasks to the schedule, you’ll have everything done in plenty of time. Just be sure to leave yourself a bit of wiggle room whenever possible in case of an emergency.
Finally, try to make two shopping lists. One should include every gift you need to purchase and the other should include ingredients for every dish you plan on making. Carry these lists at all times and eliminate unnecessary shopping trips by grabbing things anytime you happen to be at the store.
3. Seek Out Assistance
With your lists and schedule in hand, you can begin to delegate. This might mean handing some tasks off to older kids, assigning some things to your spouse, or even hiring a helper to take some of the load off your hands.
However you go about it, be sure to give clear instructions and then relax knowing you have a little bit less on your plate.
4. Create a Household Command Station
Because families tend to be in and out of the house a lot during the holidays, you might want to set up a “command station.” This is the perfect way to maintain consistent communication and ensure everything gets done.
The ideal command station includes a dry erase board for leaving notes, a cork board for hanging important papers, a calendar with your detailed holiday season schedule, and individual to-do lists. It should be set up in a high-traffic area so it’s seen on a regular basis. You also may want to remind your family to check the station as they walk by until it becomes a habit.
5. Get Ahead
Now that you know how to stay organized this holiday season, why not get started? The sooner you begin preparing for the madness, the better off you’ll be.
While you may not know about every holiday event that will be taking place this winter, there are likely some things that never change. Add those things to your list and start thinking about gift and recipe ideas. It’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit, especially when it means less stress down the line.
We hope these tips help you and your family have a happy and peaceful holiday season. After all, everyone deserves a good ending to the year and a restful holiday is a perfect way to jump into 2018.