Get Organized for the Holidays
On December 7th, I was a guest on the Carol Anne Meehan Show sharing tips and strategies to stay organized during the holidays.
The biggest point I’d like to make is that it’s not about the organizing tools you can purchase that will keep you organized during the holidays or beyond. It truly comes down to knowing what really matters to you, what are your priorities, and what experiences do you want to live as you live your life fully. The solution to being and staying organized lie within the answers to these questions.
Of course, we can’t talk organizing without talking about strategies and tips to help you eliminate clutter, stress and overwhelm. There are things you can do, plan in advance, and execute prior to the holidays so that you have the best holiday experience yet.
Here are some things to consider to organize your life for the holidays:
a. Most precious pieces – let go of the others: Some of the pieces you have are the ones you love the most. Put those out first and should the other pieces not fit the vision you want for your holiday experience, put them away (or better yet, donate them before the holidays so others may have them as their most precious pieces this holiday season).
b. Traditions – honour them. Talk about them. We all have holiday traditions that are very important to us. Honour them by living them while letting go of other traditions you do not feel fit your vision for the holiday season.
c. Legacy pieces – which pieces are they? Do you have pieces that were handed down to you, or that you want to leave for your loved ones? Put those in places that you will see every day as a reminder of how important they are.
d. Less is more – not everything has to be out. Do not clutter your home with too many decorations. In this case, less is more. Go back to the vision you want to create and if what you have is too much, do not put those pieces out. Put them away or let them go.
a. Plan your menu in advance. What experience do you want to create around the table with your loved ones? Plan your menu well in advance and begin your holiday purchases while watching the flyers or pick up items when it’s most convenient for you. This could mean shopping the grocery stores during quieter hours when there are less people or more time to enjoy the experience.
b. Pot luck is ok during the holidays. It’s a-ok to invite family and have them bring their favourite dish to your holiday dinner. The meal preparation does not have to fall exclusively on your shoulders. And if a loved one is hosting the meal, bring an accompaniment to assist in the meal preparation. Be cognizant that meal preparation is one of the biggest responsibilities that can lead to exhaustion and overwhelm. Be there for each other and start a new tradition of a pot luck dinner if it now time to do so.
c. Group baking together or online – use Zoom or Skype. At Women Living Fully, we are hosting a holiday baking event online using Zoom. On Sunday, December 11th, we will each be in our own kitchens, logged into our private Zoom room and we will bake our holiday favourites together. We will have a recipe exchange beforehand and together, we will bake our holiday treats in a social and fun way, without leaving our homes. You can use this platform and idea to bridge the miles between you and your loved ones and friends and host a baking event or a cooking event together.
d. Food prep before the event – what can you pre-cook or pre-chop before the day of the gathering? This goes without saying. What can you make well in advance and freeze so that you have less food prep to do on the day of the family gathering?
a. Schedule them on a family calendar: Use a main calendar for all holiday activities (use this idea throughout the year) to ensure you know what events are coming up and what you will need to do in preparation for the events.
b. Plan in advance – which are most important? You do not have to say yes to every invitation. Again, come back to the vision of what you want for this holiday season and be true to what is most important to you.
c. Set limits and budget: Limit the number of holiday activities you and your family have to avoid stress and holiday burnout, and limit the amount you will spend as well.
a. Gift wrapping station: Have all of your gift wrapping items in one location, in one storage container. You can purchase a long bin that can slip under a bed which houses your wrapping paper, ribbon, bows, gift tags, scissors and tape. Makes it easy to find and easy to store.
b. Christmas Gift List which includes: (see downloadable list below)
i. Name, item ideas, budget, purchased, wrapped
ii. Include receipts with the gift list (put it in a clear page holder)
c. Stay within budget: Money doesn’t buy love: Don’t go into debt to show someone that you love them
5. Feelings: Overwhelm, Grief & Loss, Loneliness
a. Honour your feelings: It may be a challenging time for you or someone that you know. Honour your feelings and allow them to honour theirs too. This is not a time to shut down, suppress or numb what you are going through. Be honest with your feelings and honour them for they are real, and they are there because you have loved, and still love, so deeply.
b. Do not isolate: Do not say no to everything and isolate yourself. It is a time to be with others to reminisce, celebrate and love together.
c. Visit in smaller blocks of time: Do not feel compelled to stay for an entire afternoon and evening. If you are feeling down, visit for a few hours, or stay for dinner, and politely excuse yourself after a set limit of time. It’s ok to be present with those you love and leave after a limited amount of time to take care of you.
d. Use technology (Zoom or Skype): If you are not feeling up to driving, use Zoom or Skype to connect with your family and friends.
e. Talk about deceased loved ones: This is important. Set the table and leave a place for them, should you wish. Talk about them and remember them, even if it hurts and people cry. It’s healthy to cry and it helps to move through grief when we honour those who have lost by talking about them and remembering them.
f. Cry and let your feelings out: Even if it’s in private or in front of others, let it out. It’s ok to feel and let your feelings come through.
g. Avoid or walkaway from drama: If tension builds up and drama begins to occur, walk away. Leave the room. You do not have to subject yourself to drama and
have it drag you down. Remember the vision you have for your holiday experience. Stay true to you and say no to drama and negativity this holiday season.
In order to assist you further, here is a downloadable version of this post, along with a Christmas Gift List that you can print to track your gift giving this holiday season.