It’s that festive time of year again, and for most, a very busy and hectic time. We all have so much on our plates. But guess what? Despite the challenging economy, the holidays are still coming. Some of us may resist jumping in just yet, but eventually, we all get captured by the holiday spirit.
No doubt about it, holiday mania can be very overwhelming and stressful. Let’s see…we have Chanukah and Xmas presents to buy for our friends, family, and business acquaintances. Add to the list, the local favorites, i.e. manicurist, hairdresser, postman, etc.), or perhaps a favorite teacher or receptionist.
Additionally, you might have a secret Santa grab bag to buy for a business or social event. And whether it be business related or just casual gatherings, there are holiday parties everywhere, which may inspire you to shop for some new and trendy party clothes.
Ugh, humbug…are we done yet? Nope, not quite. But don’t stress.
Here are some tips that might help you cope with the madness;
Holiday Shopping: Go home, make a list. Jot down the friends, family, etc. for whom you need to buy gifts for, estimate how much you’re going to spend for each, and carry it with you while shopping. Have an agenda and destination in mind (on paper, or smart phone) before you go shopping.
Without a list, you can get easily distracted and side-tracked and perhaps be in danger of buying something you don’t need. If you stay on task, you won’t be shocked when the credit card bills arrive because YOU managed it. Chances are, if you have don’t have a specific person in mind on a list, you will find yourself roaming aimlessly for hours and most probably exit, confused, distraught, and empty-handed.
Holiday Gift Wrap: Let’s address all the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows already in your inventory. They can create a huge mess if not properly organized. Consider all the new incoming wrapping paper. Those little gift cards (or stickers, even better) are a MUST for labeling the gifts, especially if you want to ensure that Aunt Shirley doesn’t get Uncle Ted’s tie. Manage the chaos by labeling everything, and create a gift list so you can keep track for next year too. There are convenient wrapping paper storage containers like this one to organize your holiday wrapping all year long. Perfect for a top shelf or under the bed access. http://www.containerstore.com/shop/giftPackaging/organizers?productId=10006022&green=FF8CD23A-BBE1-5CF3-943C-70A097BD5197 There are many more options available at the Container Store.
Holiday Decor: Start early. Hopefully you have some kind of storage system already in place for retrieving all of your holiday decor, so the prep won’t be that crazy. But if you’re wondering where you put your favorite tablecloths, Chanukah menorah, or tree ornaments, this could be a stressful process. But it need not be. Change it up this year and purchase storage bins for your inventory and box them with “like” categories, and label the contents. Designate a consistent spot in a closet, garage, or attic. Next year will be a breeze!
Holiday Entertaining: If you are hosting, I’m guessing you are frenzied with the endless amounts of money exhausted on holiday decorations, party goods, table settings, home decor, food, etc. Plan your menu ahead, and create a detailed shopping list to follow.
Visualize the actual dinner table and backtrack on how to create it. Break it down into smaller steps so you can maintain control throughout the planning and minimize last-minute anxiety. Write it all down so it is out of your head and onto a piece of paper. It’s so easy to forget the simplest things when your brain is over-burdened.
Be a smart shopper and buy decorative holiday decor that will endure another season. Pack it, preserve it, so you can store it away in your new storage bins.
Even if you are not hosting, there will additional spending on bringing a hostess gift, cooking a dish, baking, or purchasing some delectable pastry. Plan for it and schedule it to happen. Avoid the multiple runs to the liquor store (for that person you forgot to buy a gift for) and keep extra bottles of wine or vodka handy. Be prepared. FYI, alcohol is the gift no one ever returns, lol.
Holiday Travel: And if you are one of the fortunate ones that are also packing for a Xmas vacation with the family, it will require an even greater sense of organization. The key to getting through all this merriment without having a meltdown is doing just what Santa does…making a list, jotting it down, and checking it twice. Yep, lists, lists, and more lists. Better still, devise a standard checklist to refer to for all future travel.
Holiday Parties: These are the fun things to keep track of, so keep an organized calendar and mark down all the dates you want to schedule in the month. Set up reminders to alert yourself to respectively RSVP and avoid double-booking. Of course, there will be some parties you’ll want to go to, and others you’ll have to attend. Prioritize and check off as you go. If you’re on a budget, shop for clothing that can cross over for both business and casual attire.
Organize your holiday. Manage your time. Prepare by sticking to a daily plan and prioritizing tasks. Decide this year to make the holidays both joyful and productive.
Be merry, not stressed. You choose.