How to Be Organized During the Holidays

Three Methods:Personal Holiday OrganizationHoliday Shopping OrganizationHoliday Cooking Organization

The holiday season is a chaotic time for most. You must balance your time between work, family and friendly commitments, while shopping, cooking and celebrating. Ideally, the more organized you are the less stressed you will be and the more fun you will have. If you want to have a successful holiday season, you should sit down and create a calendar, to-do list and budget. You should also share the load with family and friends. Although the following lists and procedures are recommended for Christmas, they can be adjusted for any time of the year. This article will tell you how to be organized during the holidays.

Method 1
Personal Holiday Organization

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    Plan for sleep. One of the dangers of the holiday season is that you schedule too much and don't budget enough time for sleep and exercise. These 2 practices can cut your stress level in half and make it easier to stay on task during your holiday rush.
    • It is common to reduce your exercise time slightly during the holidays, but try to get about 30 minutes of mid-intensity cardiovascular exercise 5 times per week. Don't not cut down on your sleep; aim for 8 hours per night.
    • Moderate your alcohol intake. Although it may seem like a sedative, it can actually prevent you from getting deep sleep. Stop after a few drinks to avoid losing your energy the next day.
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    Set a budget 2 months before the holidays. Take into account how much you can afford and then split the money between cards, postage stamps, gifts, decorations, clothing, food and even a party.
    • Plan an overage of 10 percent in your budget. This means all of your needs should add up to 90 percent of the money you have for the holidays.
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    Sit down with your family 6 weeks before the holiday and ask for help. If you love control, this may be hard to do; however, it will take a load off your shoulders and make everyone feel like the holidays don't come together magically.
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    Discuss the possibility of doing a low-gift giving Christmas or a charity project with your family. If your budget is tight, then giving 1 present or buying 1 big present for the whole family might be better. Studies have also shown that charity projects can help your emotional health during stressful times.
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    Book travel plans 3 or more months before the holidays. Ticket prices tend to go up right before the holidays. Make sure you have lower travel costs and less stress associated with travel if you and your children or parents have their plans figured out in advance.
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    Use a calendar that everyone can see, online or in the house. Place all commitments, deadlines, family nights and tasks on it so that everyone can refer back to it over the month of December.

Method 2
Holiday Shopping Organization

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    Schedule shopping intelligently rather than in blocks. The following are good tips that make holiday shopping more effective and quick:
    • Buy things throughout the year, whenever you see something that is ideal for someone. You provide more thoughtful gifts if they are catered to the person, rather than bought frantically the month before. Store your gifts in 1 place in your house and come back to your gift hiding place 6 weeks before Chanukah or Christmas.
    • Take a few hours off work during mid-week once the holiday sales start. You will miss the rush and have a more calm shopping experience.
    • Shop in small spurts online. Getting online for hours can be a waste of time. Keep a list in your purse of things you are looking for, and add to it. Wait until you have 2 or 3 things you know you want to search for and do your power shopping. Open 3 browser tabs and compare prices on Amazon, and a Google Shopping page.
    • Don't be afraid to give gift certificates. Many stores, massage parlors, movie theaters and more provide gift certificates. Think of something that your friends or family will find truly valuable over a product you are unsure they will like.
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    Set up a wrapping station on a table in late November or early December. Wrap gifts as soon as you bring them home. This will remove the chance that children will find their gifts and it will allow you to get both shopping and wrapping done at a slow and steady pace.
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    Aim to finish your shopping and wrapping by December 15th. Schedule your time accordingly, so that you can enjoy the holidays and be ready for any last-minute changes.

Method 3
Holiday Cooking Organization

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    Clean your kitchen from top to bottom before attempting holiday baking or cooking. Try to do this in late November or early December. Rearrange things that overnight guests will need, such as coffee and cereal, in an easy to reach cupboard and create a baking cupboard.
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    Stock up on baking supplies early in the season. Buy flour, sugar and spices at warehouse stores so that you don't have to make late night runs to the supermarket. Buy some pre-made pie crusts and cookies to keep around in case you don't have time to do everything from scratch.
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    Bake throughout the holiday season. Clear out your freezer, and then create a cooking to do list that allows you to make and freeze items every week. For example, bake 1 sweet, such as cookies or candy, and prepare 1 side dish in preparation.
    • Cover and label the dishes very well before you stack them on a freezer. For example, "Sweet Potatoes. Thaw and bake at 350 for 30 minutes."
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    Plan a holiday potluck party instead of baking all of the food. This is a great way to lower your budget and have fun. Allow people to bring desserts, side dishes or relish to family dinners as well; they understand your kitchen is very full.


  • Use your computer or smart phone as the ultimate holiday tool. Create a to-do calendar online. Find "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" applications that tell you what is for sale in advance. Set automatic emails to go out on deadline dates. Keep your gift list and shopping list on your phone for easy access whenever you are out.
  • If you do most of the cooking and cleaning work during the holiday season, hint to your family that you would like a cleaning service to come after the decorations are put away to clean everything very well. Although it is not the most glamorous gift, a gift certificate toward a maid service can give you peace of mind after you open your presents.

Things You'll Need

  • Holiday budget
  • Gift list
  • Family to-do calendar
  • Household cleaning supplies
  • Freezer space
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Potluck parties/dinners
  • Gift certificates
  • Baking supplies

Article Info

Categories: Holidays and Traditions