The holiday season is the most stressful season of the year. It feels as though the joy of summer is long gone and the thaw of spring is so far in the distance, there’s just no way out of the humdrum of winter. Don’t let the winter blues get you down, Christmas is fun, if only you know how to organise for it.
The first step to enjoying Christmas and being organised is in the planning. Don’t wait, start your planning now. Sit down and write a long list of absolutely everything you will need to accomplish over the coming weeks. That means cards, decorating, baking, cooking, and shopping. Once your list is complete you can set deadlines for each that will allow you to properly schedule your activities and events.
Give yourself deadlines for every important date that you have and if you’re going to need someone to watch the kids, enlist help now before everyone else’s calendars fill up. If you have travel plans make sure that everything is lined up and booked via Booking.com, your car is in working order and that you have everything you will need to get going. If you’re entertaining or welcoming house guests you will need to make sure the dates are confirmed and have your home ready.
2. Stock Take
Before you run out to spend your hard-earned cash on wrap and decorations, dive into your cupboards to see what you already have. There’s a good chance you have plenty of everything and you won’t need to buy a thing. Though, you may need to make some small purchases at Argos. Don’t forget to check all your secret hiding spots to make sure you haven’t forgotten about gifts you have purchased throughout the year.
When it comes to potpourri and candles you should choose those with a Christmassy, winter scent. It may seem like a small change, but it completely shifts the entire atmosphere in your home. You can decorate your windows with paper chains and snowflakes, and spray snow, too.
Help yourself ahead of next year – when it comes time to take down the decorations make decisions on what you should donate, send to the skip or pack away to use again next year. Make sure you put everything away organised. It may be annoying at the time, but next Christmas’ you will be seriously grateful that you did.
4. Greeting Card Management
Whether you manage your address list on the computer or in a physical address book – make sure you evenly divide the cards you need to send by how many days you have left to ensure they arrive on time. Ideally, you can sit down and do them all at once – but, that isn’t always possible. You will miss certain people, but when their cards arrive be sure to note down their address.
When it comes to displaying cards… well, this is where it gets complicated, isn’t it? You often get so many cards you just can’t get them all out. That’s okay – you don’t need to! You can choose your favourites for display and keep the others in a container on your coffee table to look through. Or, you can hang rope, wire, or tape across an open wall to hang as many as possible.
5. Keep Your Sanity
The biggest issue people face every Christmas is the growing list of people they need to buy for. This is particularly challenging for anyone from a large family. So, the best way to handle it is by throwing all the names in a hat and drawing who you buy for. Don’t stress about the amount you will spend either, set a limit.
Your kids tend to throw a million ideas at you and you’re never really sure what they’re serious about or what they want the most. So, create a wish list to hang from the fridge. They can add to it to give you a good idea of what they really want.
6. Shortcuts to Shopping
This is something that you can put into play now for next year. Create a master list of the gifts you have bought for others so you don’t end up giving them the same thing year after year.
Keep an accordion file with an envelope for each person you buy for – use it to store receipts, just in case. Shop during off-peak hours to avoid the rush or turn to Amazon while there’s still time.
Always create a list of who you need to buy for – there’s nothing worse than forgetting people and rushing around at the last minute.
7. Meal Planning
This isn’t just for Christmas day, plan your meals for the whole of December and shop accordingly. It will save you so much time, stress, and effort.