The holidays, and December in general, is crazy in my house. I am making presents, cookies, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner, getting teacher gifts, planning what to do with the kids for 2 weeks off, and eleventy seven other things that Have To Get Done!
It’s overwhelming, to say the least. This year, I will have a Holiday plan. This year I will do as much as I can ahead of time, and not pull my hair out doing everything last minute.
Step one: Print a Holiday Planner.
My favorite FREE planner is This one by Laura at www.iheartplanners.com. She is the queen of planners, and this one is awesome. It’s full of great pages, lists, and calendars, but my favorite page is the Master Prep List. It is a checklist that everything goes on so that you can check them off as you go.
After you print your planner, 3-hole punch (or use your planner’s punch) and put it in a binder. There are also options to print different sizes, so they will fit almost any planner.
Step two: Make a list of priorities for your family this holiday.
This list should include Holiday traditions, must-dos, and want to-do’s. Once you have your list, you can get a better idea of how your schedule will look. Use the calendars with the planner to keep track of vacation days, parties, and other important dates.
Step three: Make a monthly menu so that you don’t have to do this task each week.
Fill it with freezer/crock pot meals and do a freezer cook day at the beginning of the month so that you have meals at the ready for those busy nights of wrapping and shopping trips. Make your Christmas cookies and freeze them into balls, using a muffin tin or clean egg carton to keep them separated until they freeze. That way, they’ll be ready for cooking making night!
Step four: Make use of “Hidden Time.”
Hidden time is time you are usually doing something you can multi-task at the same time, like eating lunch or kid nap times. Things like card-writing, list making, and gift ordering are all great multi-task items.
Step five: Finish “work stuff” early, if you can.
Any recurring tasks, such as writing blog posts, creating newsletters, or balancing the bank statements, do it early. Anything that might be able to be finished ahead of time, do early so you don’t get even more overwhelmed than normal at the Holidays. Another idea, if you have a monthly cleaning checklist or shopping trip to take care of, do it early to save time later in the month.
Step six: Schedule in some “Me Time.”
I know this seems like the first thing that you want to take off your “to-do” list, but don’t! Taking a little time to pamper yourself will keep you more relaxed during the crazy times. Take a bubble bath, get a massage, go for a quiet walk, or even watch a sappy Christmas movie (while wrapping, of course!) Just a little something is all you need. After all, you deserve it.
Step seven: Family Traditions.
Like the Girl Scout song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old,” the same thing goes for traditions. Keep up with the old ones, but try to make some new ones, too. Check out Pinterest for ideas to try out, you never know … it may become it’s own tradition next year! My favorite traditions are making lasagna for Christmas Eve, and giving each of the kids their own ornament every year, so that they have a head start on their own tree when they move out!
The handy thing about Laura’s Holiday Planner is that it has printables for so many of these ideas to keep them neat and organized.
What do you do to stay organized, on task, and sane during the holidays? What else would you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you!