The problem with the holiday season is the feeling of overwhelm many of us get just trying to remember everything. It’s a lot for our brains to hold so today’s post is all about the practical side of keeping on track for the holidays so we don’t lose our marbles and can instead really focus in on being intentional about the holidays. As always with my posts, these are just suggestions to get you thinking about systems you can implement now in order to keep the anxiety down later. Remember our goal here is not to complicate life further but to think about what part of the holidays stresses you out the most and maybe make an adjustment in how you normally do things to help you manage this area a little bit better.
The nice people over at Avery sent me a sample of Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery products to help me put this post together for you. All products are available at Staples unless otherwise noted. Oh and stick with me to the end for a fun giveaway :)
So let’s get started with the organizing tools shall we?
Oh boy the paper situation normally is often crazy but during the holidays it just seems to amp up doesn’t it? Rather than let it pile up on your counters and tables, forcing your brain to try and remember where everything is, how about setting up a quick paper organizer system for your counter top.
This desk organizer costs about $15 and packs an organizational punch. Also available in brown and white.
Add some file folders to the back section, label them with what you find piles up most for you; schedules, invitations, to pay, to file, school notes, etc. Then as items come in, you immediately have somewhere to put them, making it super easy to find what you need when you need it. Whoot!
To Do Lists:
So with the holiday season comes a huge list of things to do. Trying to remember everything without writing it down, gets you nowhere except maybe exhausted. Don’t do that to yourself. Write down in point form every single thing you need to remember to do in a notebook. I have been doing this for years and I would be lost without my list notebook. I wrote about it in more detail here if you are interested.
This Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Journal fits perfectly in the front section of the desk organizer. It features 210 lined pages and at the back you’ll find 11 pages of Martha Stewart entertaining tips and a 5-year important dates calendar. I added the label to the front of this one myself. Also available in a variety of colors.
It seems most people have a collection of recipes that we routinely make each year for the holidays. Rather than sift through piles of recipe pages looking for Great Gramma’s fudge recipe why not keep these special holiday recipes in a separate Holiday Planner binder.
In my binder I keep my Holiday Menu Planner and Holiday Baking List printables along with all my holiday recipes. I love having everything together in one place. To download my free printables for the holidays (as seen in the picture below) please visit my post, Holiday Menu Planning 101.
I love the Martha Stewart with Avery binders for two very good reasons. The binding opens with one hand and the rings close TIGHTLY with no gaps, two things when not present annoy me greatly.
The plastic sheet protectors in the MS collection are also pretty sweet as they feature two divided sections with secure-top flaps. These are particularly nice for recipe cards or half page recipes and would be great for keeping track of Christmas receipts.
You can also use your Holiday Planner for so much more than just recipes. Download this FREE Christmas Planning Kit over at A Typical English Home.
This set below is super fun and colorful and is available for purchase from Becoming Martha through Etsy for $7.00.
Oh how I love receiving Christmas cards from friends and family each year, especially the pictures and seeing how everyone has grown. I know more and more people are getting away from doing them because of the time involved but it doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it out to be. I do my cards while watching TV. The trick is collecting all the necessary information into one place so you have what you need right in front of you instead of running all about looking for this and that. Here I’ve used the Martha Stewart with Avery Document Storage Box. I like that it comes with a lid to not only keep everything contained but so that you can stack them if you have multiple projects going at once.
You’ll see I’ve included Christmas cards, stickers, stamps, pens and my address labels in my box. Check out these cute address labels from the MS collection.
Cute right? And so easy to put through the computer as you can get free templates at marthastewart.com/avery. Once you have all the addresses of your friends and family entered in then you have them to use from year to year.
Not too long ago I switched to using holiday photo cards as my Christmas card which really simplifies the process. My favorite place to order them from is Shutterfly but pretty much everywhere does them including Costco and Walmart.
Keeping track of schedules can be tricky during the holidays with so many people coming and going. If you don’t have a master calendar that everyone can read, please print off one from the internet to use. You want to keep it somewhere central so all family members can assist with making sure everyone gets where they need to be on time. Add in everything you want to do this holiday season in order to be intentional about making it happen.
Here are a couple of cute ones for you. Go to Holly Days to download for FREE.
An additional way to make sure everyone in the family is on the same page is to use a reminder board to add reminders to each day. I love this chalkboard one from Martha that is a nice big size. I’ve hung mine at the end of my cupboard just as you come into the kitchen. No way you can miss it!
Want a super easy way to keep track of the gifts you need to buy and the budget you have for them? My sister introduced me to this app this year and I am loving it! It’s called the Better Christmas List and it is so fun to use. I’ve used others and wasn’t a big fan of them, but this one I like for it’s simplicity. Plus you can password protect it as well which is super handy when you have nosey teenagers :). Price: $1.99
If tracking gifts electronically isn’t your thing, here is a FREE gift list printable that you can print out and add to your Holiday Planner to use.
Want a fantastic FREE way to count down to Christmas for your kids? Simply print this free advent calendar printable from Worldlabel and either put it on your fridge or put it in a frame and use a dry erase marker to cross off the days. It’s so cute!!
Giveaway (now closed)
Whew we made it to the end! I hope you find some of the resources above to be helpful to you this holiday season. Now I’ve got for you the chance to win a $50 Staples Gift Card so that you can go stock up on some of the organizing tools you saw here today.
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what area of organization you struggle with the most over the holidays or if you don’t struggle in this area share what keeps you most on track. Giveaway will close Friday, November 29th at 4:00 pm PST and is open to both US and Canadian residents.
Good luck everyone!
Updated to add: The winner is #10 Patty!!!
While this post is sponsored by Avery, all opinions of the products are my own and truthful.