The holidays have arrived and are already in full swing. A little “holiday organizing” can help you make your season less stressed and more joyful! There are published holiday organizers and checklists for everything from shopping to party planning, gift wrapping and packing the car for a trip home. There are a large amount of tips and ideas for holiday planning on the Real Simple site: http://www.realsimple.com/checklist/holiday-checklist/index.html. Smead Organomics has a free Holiday Checklist you can download at: http://files.smead.com/pdf/organomics_checklists/Printable_holiday_to-do_checklist.pdf. These checklists are great planning tools, and can help you reduce your holiday stress. Here are a few additional ideas to simplify your holiday:
- Buy a Gift Surplus – buy a few extra gifts to give to unexpected guests or to someone you accidentally left off the list. Save your receipts for the extra gifts and you can return any unused extras after the holidays or you can save them for next year.
- Receipts – Keep all of your holiday receipts in one envelope (for paper receipts) and/or one email file (for on-line purchases). This will make them easy to locate when you are ready to wrap or return.
- Purchase On-line – Purchase anything and everything that you can on-line, and do it early. The early shoppers usually get free shipping. Avoid the store, parking and long lines by having the gifts come direct to your door or to your recipient. If you miss the free shipping deadline, use the Internet to look for availability and the best price before going shopping.
- Easy Decorating – Store your non-holiday decor in the same boxes and tubs that store your Christmas decorations. When the holidays are over, it will be easier to put everything back in it’s place.
- Holiday Cards – setup a mailing database in excel by exporting your contacts from email or your computer. You can create labels from your database and make sending out cards a snap!
- Plan out your Commitments – Put the most important dates and activities on your calendar now. When new requests and invitations arrive, only say, “Yes” to the engagements that you can attend without feeling overwhelmed. Your child does not need to attend every party, parade and play date; and neither do you.
In addition to these 6 quick tips, we recommend two overall practices for a stress free holiday. The first is plan ahead for everything. Plan ahead gifts, meals, parties, car repairs, shopping, wrapping, etc. For example: If your family is driving out of town for the holidays, have your oil changed now; or if you are required to take a dish to a party, buy your ingredients early. Plan ahead larger tasks like decorating and wrapping. For these time draining tasks, we recommend a classic time management technique of breaking out the project into smaller pieces of time. It is easier to divide out the larger tasks like wrapping into smaller periods of time. Don’t try to wrap every gift at once, wrap a few each night while catching up on your favorite shows.
We wish you a joyful holiday season that lasts into 2014!
By: Sara Genrich