Written by Jane Woolsey
The excitement of the holidays brings with it a stream of extra seasonal activities such as hosting parties, buying gifts and sending out greetings. High expectations to wow loved ones and create meaningful moments can sometimes lead you to feel pressured and stressed.
For moms - the heroines of the holidays - getting organized early so you know what you're in for will help maintain a relaxed and in-control attitude. As a professional organizer, I've taught many holiday worriers how to effectively manage seasonal activities.
Preparing for the most wonderful time of the year can be a lot of work, but it doesn't have to take up a lot of your time. When you use the right mix of strategies, systems and tools, holiday activities like personalizing your events, gifts and greetings become easy and quick to accomplish.
To help preserve the festive spirit and stay in control this season, here are my best tips for organizing your holidays:
· Make a list, check it twice and make it manageable - The key to keeping on top of your to-do list is to follow a timeline that outlines specific days, times and deadlines for completing each holiday-related task such as shopping, food preparation and decorating. Keep all your lists with you wherever you go, either in a small notebook or electronically on your cell phone or Blackberry.
· Send personal holiday greetings on time as you intended - In order to get your cards done in time and to your liking, break down each mailing task into manageable pieces - finalize a card list, create or buy cards, buy stamps, create festive labels, write and mail cards - and assign a deadline for each stage. For that extra personal touch this year, try designing your own holiday cards and create matching address labels through www.avery.ca/diy. To further help you save time, keep the cards with you so you may spend time writing your personal message when you find yourself stuck somewhere waiting.
· Take time to show you care and save time - Decide early on who you'll be exchanging gifts with and spend the time to find or make that unique gift that connects with that individual. Within your schedule, block off time to shop. Online shopping can save you time, but if you prefer to browse in-person, bring an organized gift list and do your shopping in the morning or early afternoon to beat the crowds and leave the little ones at home.
· Coordinate your holiday entertaining and decor - Simplify your decorating this year by choosing a festive color and theme that can easily be brought to life to create beautiful ambiance within your home. Simplify by choosing only two or three colors. Reflect your chosen holiday theme within your wrapping, holiday greeting cards, party invitations, gift tags, buffet cards, personalized menus and more. Visit www.avery.ca/diy to find out how you can easily create, customize and coordinate these types of holiday projects.
· Organize your holiday decorations - At the start of the season, retrieving decorations can sometimes feel like you're putting together a giant puzzle. Make things easier on yourself next year and label decoration bags and boxes with details regarding their contents and store like items together.
Jane is a Certified Professional Organizer and Owner of AnOrganizedVision. For more information on organizing and personalizing your holidays, visit www.avery.ca/diy.