The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Emily R. at My Love For Words.
The holidays can be a beautiful, magical time, but without a game plan it can also feel pretty chaotic. The stress that can come from juggling parties, families, friends, and work or school responsibilities can cause the season to lose its magic pretty fast.
Instead of feeling stressed and overwhelmed this year, try these four tips for staying organized this holiday season, and have your best year yet.
Make Your List & Check it Twice
The best way to go into the holiday the season is by figuring out your priorities. I find it helpful to ask myself what I absolutely have to do, what I’d like to do, and what I’m not too worried about or want to avoid completely. These questions help me evaluate the different activities that will require our time so I can schedule or avoid them completely.
Add all of your essential tasks and events to your calendar first and then reevaluate the remainder of your list based on how much time you have left. You may find you have a lot more, or less, time than you’d thought before things were scheduled.
If you find you’re running short on time, you’ll have to use tip #2…
Start Saying No
When we have a lot of demands made on our time, it becomes crucial that we set boundaries and say no to certain things we either don’t really want to do or have time for.
The people you say no to may initially be disappointed, but ultimately I think people appreciate it when we’re straightforward and honest. They’ll be more disappointed (and maybe even downright mad) if we say we can do something and then back out at the last minute.
Stick To What Works
If you have systems or routines that work for you, now’s the time to stick to them as much as possible! If you have a regular time that you usually clean or grocery shop, sticking with that routine will help to keep some of the holiday chaos at bay.
If you aren’t able to stick to your normal schedule, it’ll be important to follow step 4…
Planning ahead can really make the difference between a fun, enjoyable holiday season and one filled with stress or disappointment.
I remember hosting my first Thanksgiving. My husband and I were newly married, and my mom, aunt and uncle, and my husband’s parents were all coming over for dinner. It wasn’t a big group by any means, but I was completely overwhelmed. I didn’t cook anything in advance, and I spent the whole day running around like a
chicken turkey with my head cut off! My mom and mother-in-law were both there to help, but the job felt so insurmountable to me that before it was even 9am I was saying, “Maybe we should just go to a restaurant!” Being the Thanksgiving pros, they very politely looked at me like I was crazy, reassured me everything would be okay, and we cooked all day long.
I learned a very valuable lesson that day; do as much as possible ahead of time! Last year, I cooked my very first Thanksgiving dinner without any help at all, and yet I wasn’t one bit overwhelmed. I made most of the dishes the day before and was able to focus on the turkey and my family on Thanksgiving day. It was wonderful!
This same lesson can be applied to the whole season (and really life in general, which is good realization for a procrastinator like me to have!). You can plan ahead by:
- Cooking as much as possible ahead of time
- Wrapping gifts as you get them as opposed to having to wrap them all on Christmas Eve (I’m still guilty of this one!)
- Start planning for your Christmas cards as soon as possible. If you like to include family pictures, give yourself a deadline by which those are taken and get your recipient list and cards ready to go.
- Schedule times to clean your home (especially before holiday parties or big events) so you aren’t stressed at the last minute like this hysterical video!
I want to thank Laura for letting me visit again, and before I leave I’d love to know what are your biggest challenges around the holidays? Have you figured out a way to stay organized through the chaos? Please let me know. I can use all the tips and help I can get!
Emily is a wife and stay-at-home mom to her four children. She’s currently sharing the good, bad, and ugly in her journey to creating an organized and decluttered home on her blog My Love for Words. She also shares recipes, crafts, home decor ideas, and thoughts on life and motherhood. When she isn’t blogging, she can be found reading, cooking, or homeschooling her kids.