10 Tips for Organizing the Holidays

I am so excited to be participating in the Thankful Series hosted by NY Melrose Family this week!  There are so many terrific ideas being shared by so many amazing bloggers.   Today I’ll be sharing tips for staying organized this holiday season.
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  The Holiday season tends to bring two things to our household: excitement and stress.  Yep.  Stress.  Actually, now that I think about it, I’m the only one that gets stressed, everyone else just gets excited!

This year I resolved to enjoy special occasions more with my family.  So many events and parties have passed where I look back and think, “What just happened?”  When you are the hostess {with the mostest} it can be really hard to just ENJOY the day.  I took extra care in planning each and every event so that I could enjoy the day too.  What I’ve found is that with planning, organization, and a few shortcuts, these oh-so stressful events can be fun for me too!  This holiday season let’s all vow to be more organized and prepared so that we can really relax and enjoy these once in a lifetime special days with our families.  Here are some great tips to getting {and staying!} organized for this holiday season:

1.  Delegate.  Delegate.  Delegate.  Get the kids involved   Planning and preparing for the holidays should be a family event, NOT a one-man show.  Get your husband to do the heavy lifting and set up the tree, have your kids hang up stockings and help decorate.  Put your favorite Christmas music and on start singing.  Enjoy the process.  It only happens once a year!  Sharing the responsibilities of decorating can help turn into a family tradition that your children will cherish and look forward to year after year.

2. Prioritize.  There’s about a million things that I would like to accomplish each holiday season.  The fact of the matter is that I won’t get it all done.  I do have to sleep.  Sometimes.  Make yourself a list of all that you want to do: baking, crafts, holiday cards, pictures, phone calls to loved ones, decorating, etc.  Now it’s time to prioritize.  Be as specific as possible when making your list.  It’s more gratifying to cross off multiple items than one very generalized statement.

3. Set up a wrapping station.  This is going to be a temporary place that will be disassembled BEFORE Christmas guests arrive.  The idea is that if you have a place to wrap presents, you will do so in a timely manner rather than waiting for the last minute.  Having all the supplies you need at your fingertips will make gift-wrapping more fun than just an obligation. When you take apart your wrapping station, take note of supplies that you are running low on.  Pick up those items after Christmas when prices are slashed 75% or more.  Save yourself time and money for the next holiday season!

4. Christmas Shopping List.  Stop worrying about the possibility of forgetting someone this holiday season.  Sit down and fill out this list to keep yourself on track and help eliminate some stress.

5. Check your stash before you dash.  What do you already have that you don’t need to buy?  This includes wrapping paper, bows, bags, tape, food items, gifts, etc.  Now that you know what you already have, make up a comprehensive list of what you need to buy.

6. Holiday Cards.  Get your photo done early!  Cards should ideally be sent out right after Thanksgiving.  Whether you’re making your own or having them printed, start earlier than you think you need to…like, for instance, TODAY!  Track who sent you a card this season {will be helpful for next season} and have your mailing list prepared for next year.

7. Wardrobes.  I know this sounds a little silly but figuring out what each member in your family is wearing for each holiday NOW, can save a lot of stress in the future.  Figure it out, hang them in a special spot in the closet and mark one more thing off your list today.

8. Budgets.  These pesky little things frequently get thrown out the window as the holidays get closer and closer.  Writing up a very specific budget and allotting actual dollar amounts to gifts and food will help keep you on track.

9. Meal Planning.  Oh my!  This is probably one of the most challenging areas for me because I want to make EVERYTHING.  We regularly have three different entrees for Christmas and don’t even get me started on sides and appetizers.   Start planning your menu now, make up a shopping list and start crossing those items off as you pick them up at the store.  The next step is in figuring out what order menu items need to be prepared.  All of those pies you make for Thanksgiving and delicious cookies you prepare for Christmas – they can be done ahead of time!  I like to develop a 72 hour schedule when I’m hosting. I list each and every thing that needs to be done and WHEN it should be done, right down to popping the Golden Crescent Rollsin the oven {these are the very last thing for me!}.

Thanksgiving Example:
3 Days Ahead
Finish baking
Finish decorating house
Set up tables
Make sure we have enough chairs
Finalize guest list
2 Days Ahead
Pull out china, silverware {or paper plates!}
Set dining room table
Pull out beverages to chill
Brine turkey
BIG DAY
10 AM: Prep Turkey
10:30: Start Stuffing
11 AM: Peel potatoes
11:30 AM: Set out beverages
11:45: Crescents into the oven
12 PM: Serve Lunch
1 PM: Time for desserts

10. Focus.  Let’s not forget to organize our heart and minds so that we keep the focus on the true meaning of each holiday.  Enjoy this special time with your family and friends because spending quality, meaningful time with your loved ones will mean so much more than any gift you give them.

Yesterday Mackenzie {Cheerios and Lattes} shared her DIY Thanksgiving Tree – what a fun way to focus on all that we have to be thankful for.
Tomorrow, my wonderful friend Dorothy {Crazy for Crust} is going to be sharing something we can all be thankful for and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be sweet!  

What’s your favorite way to stay organized during the holiday season?
Connect with me!


 Linking up hereHome Stories A2Z, and My Repurposed Life. 
A Bowl Full of Lemons

Comments

  1. LOVE! These are amazing tips. Thanks so much!

  2. I love that shopping list print out…great idea! All the tips are great, thanks!

  3. Great ideas! I love the shopping list too. I always keep a spreadsheet to help me keep my presents straight.

  4. Thank you…. I need these tips….

    hugs x
    Crystelle

  5. Love these tips! My biggest issues are my unwillingness to delegate and forgetting to check my stash before I dash! I’m always missing one tiny (completely essential) item!

  6. Great tips! I’m doing a Holiday Countdown on my blog right now that really helps me (and everyone following) stay on track.

  7. Thanks so much! I’m always looking for ideas to help me stress less and enjoy more during the holiday season!

  8. These are all such great ideas! I especially like your breakdown for Thanksgiving dinner. I am hosting dinner for my family this year (first time in YEARS), and I needed that! :)
    I featured this post on my ~A Little Sunday Potluck~ post today. Check it out if your have a moment…
    http://www.thefrugalfoodiemama.com/2012/11/a-little-sunday-potluck-111112.html

  9. These are all such great ideas! I especially like your breakdown for Thanksgiving dinner. I am hosting dinner for my family this year (first time in YEARS), and I needed that! :)
    I featured this post on my ~A Little Sunday Potluck~ post today. Check it out if you have a moment…
    http://www.thefrugalfoodiemama.com/2012/11/a-little-sunday-potluck-111112.html

  10. Tip 3 — Best tip ever! People forgot all about how amazing the sales can be after Christmas so there’s no reason not to buy all of the things you’ll need for next year at a ridiculously amazing price.

  11. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing those. I always shop in the after Christmas sales too and put things away. Saves loads!

  12. What great tips! I need to keep these in mind. And I need to start planning now!

  13. Such great ideas! It’s so easy to get sucked into feeling overwhelmed and stressed then complain about it! I swore to myself this year I was going to be super organized and not over schedule ourselves! So far so good :) thanks for the great tips!

  14. Great list! My favorite is the wrapping station ~ started doing that a few years ago and it makes all the difference in the world! Now I keep all of the wrapping supplies in a portable container so that when Christmas is over I can store it in a closet for easy access the rest of the year. Love the list!!

  15. Great check list! :)

  16. Great ideas to help with a fun but stressful time of year! Tweeting it!

  17. These are great tips! I especially like the ‘check your stash’. I’m horrible at that. My girlfriend actually takes a picture of her pile of wrapping paper and keeps it in her phone so she knows what she has. Of course then I’ll have to find all the paper…..Hm.

  18. These are really great tips I need to follow these! Thanks for sharing

  19. Great ideas! I have a little wrapping station on the inside of a closet door, and it works really well to keep us organized!

    Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

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