The holidays are almost here and that means family get togethers, big meals, gift exchanges and stress! But I’m here to help you manage that stress so you can enjoy your holidays.
Start early. Whether you’re hosting and providing the entire meal or doing a pot luck, plan your menu so you can shop accordingly. Send out a group email and assign dishes based on your guests’ preferences. Letting others chip in and help with the cooking not only frees up time and money for you, it allows everyone to participate in providing a delicious meal.
Plan a Baking Day
Whether it’s pies for Thanksgiving or cookies for Christmas, put your plan on paper, shop for ingredients and plan a day to get it all done. My husband’s family has a wonderful tradition. Each year before Christmas, we all get together for a baking day. Everyone brings their own ingredients and we all bake together. At the end of the day, we get to take home a little bit of everyone’s delicious treats!
Christmas Card Plan
If you’re planning a custom card that requires a family photo shoot, you need to plan for that early. As in, if you’ve waited until now, you might be too late. ? However, you can still put together a really fun family card by using photos from throughout the year. But get designing now so you can order them and get them sent out well before Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s also a great idea to update your address book as you receive holiday cards.
Gift Giving Plan
I’m one of those people who shop all year long for gifts. I try really hard to be finished with my holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. I don’t always make it, but it’s my yearly goal. Start with a list of people you need to buy for: friends, family, hostess gifts, white elephant gifts, etc. Set a budget for each person and set aside a place in your home to stash those gifts. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been working with clients and we stumble across “gifts” from Christmas and Birthdays past. ?
I’ve always had a designated bin for all of my wrapping supplies. It’s always stocked with wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, gift card holders, ribbon, bows, tags, tape, scissors and a pen. We’re in a new house this year and I finally have my own little gift wrap station. I love it and can’t wait to use it! Whether it’s a bin that slides under your bed or an actual gift wrap cart, trust me, you’ll be happy to have all of your wrapping supplies in one place.
Prepare for Guests
If you have friends or family coming into town and staying with you, make sure you clean the guest room and bathrooms. I like to wash towels that have been sitting in a cupboard for too long so they smell fresh and clean. Ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions so you can meal plan and shop ahead of time.
I know many of you decorate for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. As you unpack your holiday decorations, take some time to donate anything that you decide not to use. Why keep packing and unpacking it year after year? Someone else will be so thankful for your donation. I’ll have some post-holiday décor storage tips in next month’s blog.
Wishing you all an organized and happy holiday season!