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Simple Organization Tips for Happier Holidays

Every December, I promise myself that next season I’ll be better prepared for the frenetic holiday pace.

Donna Fakler, who owns It’s About Time-Organizational Consulting Services, offers plenty of ideas and inspiration to begin
before December arrives.

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 dates and shopping. You don’t need to miss an event that you deem important to celebrating. Plan ahead to visit with Santa Claus, attend holiday performances and celebrate at the other numerous festivities held throughout your area.

Pre-holiday planning

The following are some other great ideas from Fakler that you can do now:

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 years’ records. You can review them to help you more easily plan the current year’s holiday.

Write everything down. The more you journal your to-dos, gift lists and errands, the less you have to remember. Writing un-clutters 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.

Plan everything. This 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 more to make your days easier.

Update your address book. You can enlist the help of one of your children, or hire a student or teenager. 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 it 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.

Organize your family’s wardrobe. List all of the clothing needed, from socks to shoes, as well as accessories, from belts to purses. 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 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.

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