Starting November 22nd—Thanksgiving Day—everyone’s lives get a little more chaotic. There are holiday concerts and parties coming up and in between are the visits to family, the gift giving and the eating. Oh, the eating!
Start early—And make a plan!
The holiday season is a month long smorgasbord for some people, what with visits and concerts and so on, so the earlier you start, with a plan in hand, the better you’ll fare!
Your plan needs to include:
A calendar with all the events you and your family are signed up to attend. You might want to color code them by priority. Green could mean “must attend”. Red could mean “optional attendance”. You want to give yourself some wiggle room for the unexpected. After all, it’s only when you are at your busiest that something will happen to throw a wrench into the proceedings!
Don’t forget your to-do items that aren’t necessarily date sensitive but can’t be forgotten in the schedule, like making time to go to the Christmas tree farm, if you’re getting a fresh tree, or putting up outside decorations!
Your gift shopping list including where you will get each item from. The sooner you can start shopping, the more likely you are to find what you’re looking for at the right price and in stock. If you’re shopping some Black Friday deals, online or in person, the list will be handy! And if you’re hiding gifts from the kids, make sure you note where you put them! There’s nothing worse than getting to Christmas Eve and you’ve got no idea where you stashed the presents.
Your meal plan for every day that you have friends or family at home. That can mean your own family too! It’s not just about planning the family dinner on Christmas day, but also the days before and after! The more you can have at the ready for busy concert / shopping / party days, the less likely you will be to rely on the local pizza delivery place!
Stocking up—On what you can!
You’re going to need certain things for sure, so best to stock up and have backups ready. Example? If Aunt Joan burns the cranberry sauce, you’ll be glad that you stocked up on two cans of it and have them handy in the pantry!
What can you stock up on?
Canned goods, including soups, veggies and that all important cranberry sauce!
Wine, beer, drinks and mix – stock the bar!
Wrapping paper, tape and gift bags.
A few extra ‘gifts’ – have a few bottles of wine or chocolates in gift bags handy for that unexpected gift from the neighbor or crossing guard. You don’t want to be running out last minute!
Have extras of everything your family uses regularly so you don’t have to do a run to the store in the days leading up to or after the holidays. That includes everything from basics like toiletries and paper towels, right up to favorite snacks and drinks for the kids.
Firewood for the fireplace.
Decorating—From the turkey to Santa
Making the switch from autumn Thanksgiving decor to full on holiday mode may leave you scrambling! Ideally, have plastic bins with decorations for each holiday in separate ones. That way, you can put away one set while pulling out the next set, quickly and easily. They’ll also be that much easier to find next year. These can stored away when they’re not being used in a basement closet or storage area, safe and sound.
Buying gifts—From Mom to Uncle Rex
If you have a large family, perhaps you’ve chosen to go with the ‘pick a name Secret Santa’ method of gift giving. If that’s the case, your list will be that much shorter! But even if you have to buy for everyone from Aunt Mo to Cousin Laura, you can get a lot of it done in advance.
Leverage online shopping if you can, as there are quite a lot of deals to be had and you save all that time wandering from hot and crowded store to hot and crowded store! Shopping with a glass of wine or a cup of eggnog in hand is so much more appealing!
Again, make sure you have one or two extras so that you can return the sentiment to those who give you a gift unexpectedly!
One tip: don’t overbuy for kids too soon. The odds that they will want to change their Christmas wish list in the weeks before the holiday are good and you could end up with items that are now considered ‘way uncool, mom!’ Set a deadline for lists and stick to it. Any whining after that and gifts start disappearing!
Hosting a gathering—Are the in laws coming over?
If you’ve got family or friends visiting you over the holidays, be ready for anything and everything! The key here again is to get some things done in advance so you’re not worrying about them in the moment.
Have extras of things like toothbrushes and travel sized toiletries, so that you can accommodate that last minute guest who had one eggnog too many!
Catch up with ALL of your laundry, so you’re not fussing with it while you have guests over. Make sure all the extra sheets and towels are washed and clean, with blankets and pillows at the ready for beds to be made up.
Check with family you haven’t seen in a while about allergies or foods that they don’t enjoy before you set the menus and buy ingredients.
Make room in closets and cupboards for extra coats, boots and clothing by storing some of your own family’s items in bins or hanging racks, in the basement.
Give yourself a present and have a cleaning service come in and do a thorough job of cleaning the house in the days before your mother in law arrives!
One really nice way to greet people and have them feel at home is to have a basket of hotel style slippers at the ready, so your family and friends can feel comfortable but aren’t walking around in their stockings or socks!
The theme for all these tips is to do what you can ahead of time, be prepared for all eventualities and you’ll be able to sit and enjoy your holiday and guests with a lot less fuss or stress! Happy Holidays!
Home organization expert for ModularClosets.com, Marty Basher, offers these tips keep your holidays organized and relatively stress free. Modular Closets are high quality, affordable and easy to design closet systems that you can order, assemble and install yourself, in no time at all. Visit the website at https://www.modularclosets.com.