Many of us suffer from Pre Holiday Stress Syndrome. This condition is brought on by having too much to do in too little time. It is compounded by cleaning, baking, entertaining family and friends, buying and wrapping gifts, scheduling and attending various holiday parties, and decorating the house! All this in around 30 days can be overwhelming! But there are ways to cope and even enjoy this time of year. Little things can add up to make this holiday season less traumatic for you and your family.
First, be realistic and give yourself a break. The most important thing is that you enjoy this time with your loved ones. Few, if any, will remember the food they ate or the gift they received. Most will remember the laughs and the times spent together. Traditions can enhance these memories and lower your stress level. Always decorating the tree or a room a certain way or making the same special desert are some ways to make the holiday more special and still lighten the load.
Second, take advantage of holiday ornament, stem wear and wreath bags. These keep everything clean and tidy with less breakage. There are also specially designed bags available for artificial tree storage, gift wrapping, ribbon, lights and holiday cards. Use a garden hose holder to string long outdoor lights for hassle free and tangle free decorating and clean up. I keep decorations for each room and tree in its own box. That way I take one box to a room and decorate! I can do one room a day, over the course of several days, without having the stress of miscellaneous decorations all over the house. Label each box with the room name AND a picture of what is inside the box.
Third, plan ahead. Do some baking the month before and freeze cookies and treats for parties and gifts. A great tip is to shop all year long! Not only does this lighten the post holiday financial burden in January, it also saves the stress of what to buy for the dad who has everything. If I see something that would be the perfect gift I purchase it and put it in the “Christmas Gift Box”. I keep a list of what is in the box at my desk for reference. This also lets you take advantage of sales year long which can save you money. Plan your menus and make a shopping list ahead of time. Take advantage of grocery sales and buy non-perishables early and place them in a box labeled for holiday use in the cupboard. Also – get those holidays cards addressed and ready to go before December. Or why not do a Happy New Year Card instead!
Fourth, have a portable holiday wrapping station. I keep all wrapping paper, bows, tissue paper, gift tags, pens, scissors, tape and gift bags in a holiday organizer. This way I can wrap whenever the mood strikes me because everything is in one place. After wrapping I put the packages in another box. I usually have several “wrapped gift” boxes for each event, such as “Family”, “Kids”, “Teachers” and “Friends”. It is so convenient to know exactly where each gift is located. I am usually done wrapping before Thanksgiving! This frees up a lot of time to enjoy fun holiday activities.
Fifth, keep a holiday binder. This will save you time and money every year! Include sections for each topic. The “Gift Planner” area could include a gift list, gift ideas, wish lists, gifts received list and wrapping ideas, as well as a budget organizer and a pocket for receipts. A “Holiday Card” section would have a list holiday card addresses. This will make it easy to cross reference when you receive a card. A “Decorating” category should include any future decorating ideas, as well as past decorating reminders. You could even include pictures! A “Food” section should combine meal planning, grocery lists, potluck ideas, menus and recipes. Also add a calendar to keep track of all the fun activities and parties everyone in the family has on their agenda. This should include daily, weekly and monthly planners.
Following these five steps will have you well on your way to a less stressful, more enjoyable holiday season for years to come! For more holiday organizing ideas go to the Silver Lining Organizers Pinterest page: http://www.pinterest.com/silverliningorg/organizing-the-holidays/