The Holidays are right around the corner. Your heart might beat a little faster thinking of all the things you will have to do in the coming months. Meet those to-do’s head on with some Holiday Organizing Tips and you can greatly ease the amount of stress you deal with at this busy time of year.
And incidentally these tips go for any time of the year.
Begin Your Holiday planning early
To get organized for the holiday season you should start your planning early. Don't wait until the last minute to start thinking of what you want to do this holiday season.
Do you go all out for the holidays? Some people do. It's even more important to start planning early.
Maybe you want to start a new family tradition. Or change one. Have more families over for dinner. Or less. Maybe you're going to stop the gift giving (yes it can happen) and focus more on why you're celebrating what you are celebrating.
What constitutes early? I would say about two months in advance. Since you're just going to be getting your ideas and plans in order at first doing that two months before is good. And then start gathering what you need the month before the holiday. Work on any crafts, things you need to order.
Don't let the holiday sneak up on you and take you unaware. Even if you feel your celebrations are simple don't leave things to the last minute. I like to think of my daughter's birthday as a holiday and this is what I do. Plan two months in advance and then by the time her birthday is here I'm not frazzled at the last minute.
Start with a Holiday Organizing notebook
A lot of people like to organize for the holidays with a Holiday Notebook. A Holiday Notebook is a binder with a set of papers to organize each area of your holiday festivities.
You can pick up premade planners for this that will include all the pages you need to get organized. I like this Christ Centered Kit from Jamie Balmet of Homemaking Ministries. It is specifically for organizing Christmas plans and includes a lot of resources including a cute Family Holiday Planner.
Note: My family does not exchange gifts during this time but we do celebrate Christ's birth in several ways during this time and find ourselves super busy.
Here are some things you may want to be keeping track of with lists and forms.
- Monthly Calendars for keeping track of events.
- Address for sending those lovely family photos.
- Menu section where you can keep dinner menus and even meals to freeze for those extra busy days.
- A Cleaning section is must. Keep room cleaning checklists and even a printout for how to clean in a hurry.
Next Prepare a Holiday Budget
Maybe you've never thought of this but it's a smart idea to set a budget for holidays.
I hear too many stories of people having huge debt to pay off for the New Year. I think that means it's time to do some revamping on spending habits during this time.
Here are a few tips I know about keeping costs down during this time.
- Make a budget and stick to it.
- Try to purchase things over the course of the months leading to the holidays rather than having to spend everything at once.
- And even better make purchases right after the holidays when things are on clearance. This is a good thing to do no matter the holiday.
I know you're probably reading this post during the holiday season but in the future try shopping right after the holidays when things are on sale or clearance.
Don't Leave Out Cleaning and Decluttering
We all want a clean home for the Holidays. Your home will be on display for guests and family and you want to show it off at it's best.. And you don't want to be cleaning a ton when you're in the midst of the holidays. So you need an action plan for getting things clean and keeping them that way with minimal work.
- Start with decluttering your home. Less clutter means less to clean. And incidentally just because it's a holiday it doesn't mean you need to fill up your house with plastic decor. Think of more clean and natural ways to give your home a seasonal touchup. I'll give you a few of my favorite designers for this kind of look.
- The Nester
- Now set up a plan and a deadline for cleaning up your house. Revisit our series 7 Days to a Cleaner Home.
- And don't forget to clean up that Guest Room for your visiting friends or relatives.
You Must Plan for Food
- Prep a few meals for the freezer. Some holiday dishes you can make in advance and also freezer dinners for those super busy days.
- Be sure and put cookie dough on the freezer list. Make up a few batches. Last minute cookies come in handy for so many situations.
- Are you having a dinner party or two? Regardless of whether you are going causal or fancy use these preparation steps.
- Begin by putting to paper your dinner theme, date, and the time
- Next pull together your guest list.
- After the above particulars start planning your menu and the amount of food you will need.
- Next check supplies of tableware and get more if needed.
- And finally jot down a time line of preparing your home from initial cleaning to decorating to clean up.
Are you having a gathering at your home?A holiday dinner, potluck, or even tea party? What will you serve? How many people will attend? What special foods will you prepare? What shopping will you need to do above your normal grocery shopping?
And then there is always food for you as well. The Holidays tend to be very busy times so having already prepared meals in the freezer and being really organized about your regular family meals during this time will help you to not feel frazzled during the breakfast and dinner times.
Organizing Holiday Gift Giving
If you give gifts during the holidays start now by putting together a budget for what you will be spending as a whole. Then list your gift recipients and how much you will be spending on each one.
Finally designate a spot in your home for these gifts. Save money this year by giving something made from your own hands. Make sure you are using your own talents and don't dive into a craft you've never tried before. This is the time to use your skills and share them with others. You can also put together coupons for your loving services instead of a store bought gift. Babysitting is always a nice coupon gift, so is a nice dinner made by your hands(we do this a lot), an item to be sewn in the future by you (or now), gardening or helping to start one. The list is endless. Be creative.
Organizing Your Holiday Cards
- Get organized with your cards and letters now. Writing out a few each day starting (again) NOW will leave you way ahead of the game in the long run.
- It's common among our friends to hand out those lovely family cards. October and November is picture taking time. Find a talented photographer and schedule those lovely shoots.
- And don't forget to keep a list of those who give you cards. Put them on your prayer list and return the favor next year if you missed this.
All in all remember if you're not having fun it's time to evaluate what you are doing and for whom. The holidays are meant to be a joyful time don't stress out over the unimportant.