Get Organized For The Holidays
by Jill Cooper
The best way to relieve stress at the Holidays is not with a bubble bath (although they are fun) but by being organized. Even though I’m not normally a big “list” person, at Christmas I not only write a list but I write enough lists to fill a book (making up for my lack of lists the rest of the year ;-).
We wanted to create a cute calendar for readers that would list what you should do on each day, but every household is so different it was hard to put together something that would tell everyone when to do what. We didn’t want to make anyone feel locked into a particular plan. It can almost be more stressful trying to follow someone else’s plan than to have no plan at all.
So we came up with a compromise. It’s a list of some general things that need to be done at Christmas that will help you get organized for the holidays. If you are attached to the calendar idea, take a calendar or day planner and, using this list, write down the day you want to get something done. For example on December 1, “Put up inside decorations.”
If it is easier, simply hang the list by the calendar and then just mark things off as you do them. This is just a guide with our own hints and ideas. You can add to or take away from it as necessary.
The key to a low stress holiday season is to remember that the more you spread things out, the easier it will be. Doing just a few things each day is much easier than waiting for the last minute “Holiday Squeeze” (and it won’t make you look like you accidentally fell into the clothes dryer.)
Here are some things you can do to get organized for the holidays and reduce your stress:
- Make your list of all of the people who you plan to buy gifts, including their sizes, things they would like and how much you can spend.
- Make your list of the people you are sending Christmas cards to and write the cards or at least get the envelopes addressed. You can then keep a few cards with you to write in during those “waiting minutes” when you’re at the doctor, picking the kids up from school or on your break at work.
- Get those sewing and craft projects done now! Don’t wait until Christmas Eve.
- Decide what cookies and candies you want to make. Pull out the recipes now.
- Decide what you are going to have for holiday dinners. Pull out the recipes.
- Many types of cookies freeze well. Mix up the dough several weeks ahead and freeze. That way all you have to do later is bake them.
- For cookies that you can’t freeze, measure all the dry ingredients and put them in a plastic bag. I often do this three months early. Be sure to label the bag so you remember what is in it.
- If you make your own pie crusts, make them ahead of time and freeze until you need them.
- Several months ahead of time, put a bag or container in the freezer and throw in those unused heels of bread or slices of dry bread to use for dressing.
- If you make cornbread dressing, make up you dressing in early November and freeze.
- Deep clean the house.
- Set up a wrapping table or collect your wrapping things all together in one area so you can quickly and easily pull everything out to use. Wrap gifts as you buy them, not all at once at the last minute.
- Make a list of linens and dishes that you will need for meals.
- Put up outside decorations.
For more helpful tips to make organizing, cleaning and laundry easier, take a look at the Keeping It Clean e-books.