It’s no secret that the holidays can be a stressful time. There is so much to do – buying and wrapping gifts, baking cookies, going to parties, decorating the house, and much more. Which reminds me – I still need to send out my holiday cards (oops)!
My #1 piece of advice for staying sane through the holidays is to get organized early! Having a game plan will keep you on track during the holidays, and it will ensure that nothing gets forgotten or left to the last minute. Staying organized will help you even more when unexpected guests arrive, you’re invited to another last-minute party, or everyone comes down with the flu!
Here are 5 things I do every year to keep my holiday season merry, bright, and (mostly) stress free!
#1: Make a list & check it twice!
I think Santa may have been on to something here! Making lists will keep you organized and on schedule. Keep them wherever is easiest for you to find them – on your computer, in a notebook, or on your phone. Here are just a few lists I make every year to keep my life in order!
- Gift List:
I usually start this one as early as October! I write down a list of everyone I have to buy for, and keep a list of ideas and links to potential gift ideas. That way, I can keep an eye out for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in November, or holiday sales in December!
- Baking List:
During the holidays, I can usually be found in my kitchen, covered in flour, sugar, and chocolate! To keep track of how much baking I need to do, I list out everyone I send baked goods to each year: family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, teachers, and our trusty mailman. Next, I make a list of a few treats and their ingredient lists, so I know what to buy before I get started. Then it’s a matter of making giant batches of cookies, fudge, and candy – and giving each person a small box with a variety of goodies!
- Thank You Card List:
December 26th is #ThankYouNoteDay! I keep a list of everyone who gets me a gift, no matter how big or small, and send a small thank you note. Saying thank you not only makes your friends and family feel appreciated – it will make you feel good too!
#2: Do a little bit every day!
Instead of pulling an all-nighter wrapping gifts or baking cookies, carve out a little time every day to handle big tasks. Pop in a favorite holiday movie, grab a mug of hot cocoa, and tackle that stack of holiday cards! Or you could put on some holiday tunes while making cookie dough, then freeze it for later. Taking even a half hour every night will make big tasks more manageable, and you’ll be less likely to put things off until the last minute!
#3: Get the whole family involved!
The holidays are a time of sharing – and that means sharing the holiday cheer and holiday grunt work! Enlist your children to help decorate the house or make homemade holiday cards for their grandparents. Ask the brother-in-law who owns a smoker to make the Christmas ham or turkey this year. Have your teenage neighbor babysit one night while you go shopping or wrap gifts for the kids. There is no reason to do it all yourself! Family and friends are often happy to help, especially those of us who aren’t hosting holiday celebrations ourselves!
#4: Take some time out for yourself!
I know that this might be easier said than done, but do it anyway! Allowing the holiday chaos to take over puts you at risk of getting burnt out, catching a cold or flu, or not enjoying the holidays at all. Schedule one night each week of “me time,” where you can set aside all the holiday to-do lists and relax. Ship the kids off to their grandparents overnight, put on your cozy pajamas, and curl up with a good book and glass of wine. Go out for a date night, just the two of you, to your favorite restaurant. Grab a plate of cookies and binge watch The Crown on Netflix (seriously – it’s a great show for the holidays). Taking time for yourself will help you recharge and enjoy the slow, cozy holiday season!
#5: Hire a cleaning service!
When I suggested taking a night off for “me time,” how many of you just know you’ll spend the night cleaning the kitchen? I’m definitely guilty of doing this! Instead of spending the evening soaking in a hot bath, I’ll spend the night doing laundry and scrubbing the bathroom sink.
Put down the sponge and call a cleaning service to help you tackle your holiday mess!
Hiring a cleaning service is such a great idea during the holidays! They will take care of the chores you don’t have time for, or help you prep for guests or your annual holiday dinner. You can also schedule them to stop by after the party’s over to get your home back to normal! I don’t typically use a cleaning service year-round, but I absolutely rely on them during the holiday season. Hiring a cleaning service also frees up more time to spend baking (and eating) cookies, building snowmen with your kids, or taking a little more well-deserved “me time.”
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