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Start Organizing for the Holiday Season

Time-Saving Ideas

journalEvery December I promise myself that next season, I’ll be better prepared for the frenetic holiday pace. Donna Fakler, a professional organizer, offers plenty of ideas and inspiration. We can all start together today. Fakler’s most important tip is to choose a calendar or a planner and always keep it with you. Look at your calendar, and give yourself plenty of time to complete major tasks like setting party and shopping dates.

I also recommend planning ahead to visit with Santa Claus, attend holiday performances, and celebrate at the other numerous festivities held throughout your area. These special events only come once a year, and you don’t want your children to miss out!

Pre-Holiday Planning

Following are some other great ideas that you can do now, even before Halloween or Thanksgiving arrive:

  • Record gift information in your planner. Use a form to jot down gift ideas, purchases and costs. Other important data to record can include sizes, favorite colors or stores, hobbies and hiding places for those presents.Once you begin this habit of detailing gift information, keep previous year’s records. You can review them to help you more easily plan the current holiday. (Plus, you can use the list for birthday gift ideas during the year.)
  • Write everything down. The more you journal your to-dos, gift lists and errands, the less you have to remember. Writing unclutters your mind, giving you more freedom to accomplish other tasks. Keep all of your holiday lists you create in one file or binder. Use them to chart out better holidays that will be less stressful.
  • Plan everything. Planning will save you time in whatever you do. Create menus prior to a holiday, and also devise the celebration meal and what to do with leftovers. You can plan ahead for inclement weather, holiday music, baby sitters, dry cleaning, car washes and house cleaning.
  • Update your address book. You don’t need to update your addresses alone. You can enlist the help of one of your children, or hire a student or teen-ager. Your updated address book will then be ready to use when it’s time to fill out Christmas cards, send thank you notes and invite your favorite people to get-togethers.
  • Create a website or blog. Use your holiday website or blog to communicate about upcoming family events, parties and gift giving. This will reduce long-distance telephone calls, as well as miscommunication. Be respectful and understanding of each other’s schedules and traditions when establishing your own holiday plans.
  • Organize your family’s wardrobe. List all of the clothing needed, from socks to shoes, as well as accessories, from belts to purses, for holiday parties and concerts. Make sure all items are cleaned and pressed. Use a garment bag or mesh laundry bag to keep accessories together and store with the clothing.

Holiday Time-Saving Ideas

As you’re in the midst of the busy holiday season – from late November through December – keep in mind the following time and sanity saving ideas:

  • Prepare for shopping trips. Make sure your family is well-rested and fed before heading out on errands. Explain the sentiment behind the gift-giving to your children, and involve them in the process of choosing a present. Reward good behavior on shopping excursions. If you have a cell phone, pin the number inside your child’s clothing in case you get separated.
  • Shop online. Keep good records of your purchases to avoid overbuying or purchasing duplicates. Look for multiple presents at one website to save on shipping charges. Request that the retailer wrap and ship your purchases to the gift recipient.
  • Send fewer greeting cards. Mail out Christmas cards to only those you won’t see during the holiday season. Offer your merry wishes in person to those you see frequently and then forego sending them a card. Use your computer to print mailing labels for the cards you do decide to mail out.
  • Keep children busy. While you’re cooking or doing other holiday tasks, prepare simple, quiet activities for small children to do. Go to HGTV.com to print free coloring placemats for the appropriate holiday. Involve your older children with duties like welcoming guests, setting the table and filling water glasses.


by Kim Seidel

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