A little preparation can reward you with more holiday downtime.
What are your goals for the holiday? Most people think about all of the activities -- shopping, eating, visiting, travelling -- but those are tasks. What are your GOALS? Some good ones to put on your list are relaxing, connecting, having dedicated time, de-stressing, and just plain having fun.
Organizing your holiday plans ahead of time will help ensure that you will be able to relax and enjoy all of the special moments with your family. More times than not, the holiday season brings unexpected stress because we fail to plan appropriately.
Here are some easy steps and questions to get you prepared. You can fit each step into your current schedule by taking on as much as one task a day or as little as one task a week.
Make a Plan
Without a plan, how can we expect to accomplish all we need to get done? Here are some great starter questions:
- WILL I send out holiday cards this year?
- HOW much will I spend? (Food, gifts, entertainment, etc.)
- WHAT activities do I want to include in our holiday schedule? (Family events, sightseeing, church programs, sporting events, etc.)
- WHAT will I cook or serve?
- For WHOM am I buying?
You will save yourself a lot of trouble by answering these questions and prioritizing each task based on the time that it takes to complete and when it needs to be completed. You may have more, but this can get you started.
Get Started on Your Card List
Can you honestly say you’ve never forgotten to send holiday cards? Or, they didn’t get sent until sometime in January? It is not an uncommon story; however, preparing to send out greeting cards is a time sensitive process and should be at the top of your to do list! The earlier you start, the better.
Start Shopping Early
The same goes for buying gifts for family and friends. If you start at the beginning of the year, you not only catch sales, you can avoid over-spending in a small time period. Put grocery shopping and food preparations at the bottom of your to-dos because they can wait until closer to each specific holiday. This type of planning alleviates the stress of last-minute tasks and overcrowded stores.
Prepare Your Home
Try organizing your plan around the following questions:
- WHEN will I decorate?
- WHO will be visiting and WHEN?
- WHAT supplies and toiletries do I need to stock up on to prepare for visitors?
- WHERE will I store and wrap gifts?
- WHAT spaces can be decluttered to prepare for new gifts?
When it comes to preparing your home for the holidays, people often focus all their attention on decorating. However, it is important that your house not only appear presentable but be functional and prepared for entertaining extra people, sometimes on a moment’s notice.
Give Away and Organize
Consider decluttering and donating clothes, toys, and other items you no longer find useful to those less fortunate than you. Not only will it clear out space for incoming gifts, it can potentially make someone else’s holiday extremely special. Organize everyday items in your home so that they are easy to access during the more chaotic times of the season. Remember, time saved is time earned.
Dedicate to Decorate
Once you feel your home begin to warm and relax from being cleaned and organized, set aside ONE or TWO days where the sole thing on your agenda is decorating your home. This will keep you from putting it off or spending too much time where it isn’t needed. Designate a place for gift storage and organized wrapping so that it is easy to access and out of plain sight.
You can follow the same plan when you take down your holiday decor. Set aside one or two days to tackle the task and don’t worry about it until it is time to take care of it.
Less Stress. More Fun.
While poor planning (or no planning) creates stress, proper planning helps you to accomplish more, save money, and be better organized. With a little proper planning, you can reduce your stress and be able to spend more relaxing time enjoying your family during the season. Get started today and Happy Holidays!
Diane Ryan is a professional organizer in the Jackson Metro area.