Organizing for the holidays: What comes to mind when you think of the word holidays?
Most people immediately think of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet there are an entire year's worth of holidays to plan for.
Do you feel stressed out just hearing the word holidays? It doesn't have to be that way. Organizing for the holidays takes a little time, but it's well worth the effort.
The typical major holidays celebrated in the U.S. are:
Christmas, Easter, Fathers' Day, Grandparents' Day, Halloween, Independence Day (4th of July), Labor Day, Memorial Day, Mothers' Day, Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day.
This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and applies only to the U.S. Additionally, people from many countries, cultures and faiths have other holidays they celebrate that are not included above. However, the principles of organizing for the holidays applies to all holidays.
Regardless of whether you're celebrating, Halloween or Hanukkah, or anything else, the tips on this page will help you with organizing for the holidays.
Making clear-headed choices is hard when you're in the middle of the holiday rush.
Take some time, several weeks before the next holiday, to think about last year. What worked? What didn't? What could you have done differently? What could you have done without?
You don't have to throw out cherished family traditions but give some thought to editing and tweaking.
Talk to your family members after thinking, editing and tweaking to gain consensus on possible upcoming changes. You may be surprised to discover there are some traditions no one likes but were afraid to mention!
Think of ways to start new, simpler versions, of existing family traditions.
If the holiday involves gift-giving, consider making, or purchasing, less items. One item that is thoughtful and meaningful to the recipient is worth more than a large variety of things they will throw out or re-gift at a later time.
Ask yourself: "What does he/she like? What hobbies or extracurricular activities do they enjoy?" Figure out what is truly meaningful and special to the recipient and forget the rest. You will probably spend less money in the process as well.
Budgeting involves more than just money. Your time is equally valuable. If you simplify your holiday traditions and gifts, you may have more money and time for making meaningful memories.
You don't have to go into Martha Stewart mode and grow your own Christmas trees and make your own wrapping paper. Consider making memories instead. They last longer and have a bigger impact.
Bake cookies with your children or grandchildren, etc. Give the gift of time. Offer a coupon for yard work or offer to organize a room! Yikes!
People will remember that you spent time with them more than they will remember elaborate, expensive gifts.
And speaking of budgets, don't utilize credit cards for holiday purchases EVER!! Plan ahead and tuck away money for the upcoming holiday purchases. You'll have less stress the following month when the bills arrive.
Don't over-plan. Assign duties to others. Get help and get everyone involved. You don't have to do it all, and you don't have to do it by yourself.
If it's a family event, every family member should contribute. Working together as a family generates a feeling of togetherness.
Getting the kids involved teaches them good work ethics. These are teachable moments. Kids can learn about house cleaning, budgeting and event planning right at home! You can prepare to pass the torch of family traditions to the next generation.
Look at what you already have before venturing out to the shopping mall. Check your stash of gift bags, wrapping paper and cards. Learn about ornament storage.
If you're organized, you should know what you have at a glance (and you should be organized)! Take a minute to plan and make a list of what you need, then stick to the list.
Avoid impulse buying. Resist the temptation to buy something just because it's on sale. Bargains have a way of cluttering up your house! Your budget will thank you.
You won't spend valuable time later on cleaning out those bargains that have cluttered your entire home!
You knew I couldn't resist that topic! Obviously, you don't want to get yourself stressed out organizing every room of your home 6 weeks before Christmas.
When organizing for the holidays, some simple steps now can help you breeze through the holidays: (1) Tackle counter clutter, (2) Take care of those junk drawers(3) Get your holiday wrap center set up and stocked, (4) Create your mail and message center, (5) Get your guest room and closet in order.
When the holidays are done, go tackle those other To Do projects on your organizing list. It will make next year's holidays a breeze!
When choosing your holiday decorations, think and plan ahead. Keep it simple and make things work for more than one holiday. For example, purchasing a simple orange tablecloth will allow you to use it for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. You don't have to have one with pumpkins for Halloween and another one with turkeys for Thanksgiving.
By keeping your holiday decorations simple, you'll have less distractions and less clutter.
Remember that people are more important than things. Make your family a priority. The "do, do, do" rush of the holidays can get you off center and out of focus. Remember, nobody ever said on their death bed: "I wish I spent more time decorating for the holidays."
Talk with your family about the meaning behind the holiday and the traditions surrounding them. Find new meaning by starting your own family traditions.
Following these organizing for the holidays tips will keep you stress free and having more family fun.
25 Day of Holiday Organizing by Jul's Arthur
Do you have tips or suggestions about how you and/or your family get ready for the holiday season? Do you have a favorite holiday faux paux or memory? Don't be shy . . . Share it!
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