We can barely start the month of September without being reminded that the holidays are quickly approaching. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas items appear on store shelves across the nation, with New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day right around the corner. These consumer triggers are a constant reminder, and for some of us a stressor, that the holidays are right around the corner. This season should be joyful and full of good tidings, but is often marked by a shadow of numerous projects and activities to manage. Don’t despair, help is on the way. By following these tips, you can reduce your stress and maintain an organized holiday season, or any season for that matter.
1. Start early and don’t procrastinate
You know the holidays are coming so let’s be prepared. Write down important dates in your calendar and be sure to have a shared family calendar so that all family members are aware of important events.
2. Set a budget
By setting a limit to how much you will spend during the holidays you will avoid having to pay them off the whole following year.
Your budget should include:
– Hosts(ess) gifts
– Holiday parties (do you host one for close friends, book club, your children?)
– Holiday cards and postage
– Travel (will you be flying or driving anywhere?)
3. Make lists of everything
Gifts (for family, coworkers, friends), holiday cards, groceries for special holiday meals or potluck dinners, etc. Remember that technology is your friend. There are many list apps that can keep help you stay organized if you want to avoid the crowds in the stores, then shop for gifts online. Avoid shipping fees by ordering early and taking advantage of shipping coupon codes. If you’re cooking, check your pantry and fridge before you go shopping to avoid buying duplicates or overbuying.
4. Map it out
If you are shopping the old fashioned way – in person – then map out the stores based on what you need to buy. That way you will make the best use of your time and be deliberate with what you need to do. Remember to bring your reusable shopping bags with you.
If there are people that you won’t see before or on the actual holiday, don’t stress about getting their gifts right away. Focus on the people you know you will see. You can always get the rest later. Or, have your gifts shipped directly to their address.
6. Decorate sparingly
When decorating your home, check the lights before hanging and stringing them on the tree or house. This will save a lot of work in the end if they do not work. Speaking of trees, a fresh tree from a local farmer leaves the least carbon footprint and doesn’t expose your family (or the local landfill) to the toxins of a plastic tree. If possible, try to purchase a living tree which can be planted after the holidays. To be really sustainable, why not plant a tree in your yard and start a new tradition of decorating it every year. You will save money, create a reminder of the holiday all year round, and help the environment.
7. Party in moderation
Life is about balance and the holidays are no exception. Keep your body energized naturally by fueling it with good food and movement like hitting the dance floor or going for a walk to see the Christmas lights in your neighborhood. Have fun, but don’t make the holidays just about food and drinking.
Schedule down time for yourself to rejuvenate and enjoy the holidays. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself for me time. A bath, walk, or time spent with a good book will rejuvenate you in no time.
Enjoy the holidays and have a very happy new year!
Manage the holidays with more of our resources here: 6 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season, 5 Ways to Be Grateful During the Holidays, 5 Mindful Ideas to Set the Mood for Your Party, and Managing Stress and Staying Zen During the Holidays.
Robyn Reynolds is the founder of Organize2Harmonize, a professional organizing company that will help you manage the mundane, simplify the complexities of everyday life, and bring harmony to your home or office. Founded in 2008, Robyn has worked to steadily grow her business into a recognized and trusted name in the organization industry in Southern California. Connect: Website // Facebook // Instagram.