Making lists, keeping things tidy and getting yourself organised will go a long way toward making this holiday season a little less silly.
DURING the Christmas holiday season there’s just so much to enjoy and do, that keeping up with the gifting, baking and general revelry can be somewhat overwhelming. Before you know it, it’s December 24, and you’re staring at a pile of presents to wrap … and no sticky tape! Take a deep breath. It’s going to be OK – especially if you take care of these 10 things now, so you can enjoy a smoother, less stressed holiday season with everyone else.
1. Stock up on gift-wrapping supplies
Gift wrap, ribbon or twine, sticky tape, tags and a stack of plain gift boxes are the essentials. Get more tape than you think you’ll need – it always seems to run out first. Once you have your supplies, take a moment to set up a simple wrapping station. This doesn’t have to be fancy; just plunk your rolls of gift wrap in a bucket, and stash ribbon, tape and tags in a drawer, within easy reach of a flat surface.
2. Make a gift list with budget included
Grab a pen and paper (or your phone) and list everyone you plan to buy gifts for this year. If you have kids, don’t forget to put the stockings on the list too. Set an overall budget for holiday gifts and don’t beat yourself up if it’s less than you’d like to spend. A bit of creativity and thoughtfulness can go a long way, and they’re far more important than a price tag. Use your master list to record ideas and note how much you actually spent when you make a purchase.
3. Pick up a few gender-neutral go-to gifts
Keep one main gift and a stack of smaller gifts in reserve during the holiday season – it helps avoid last-minute stress when you realise you’ve forgotten someone on your list. Anything edible, practical or cool (like a Polaroid camera) is a good contender. Wrap them right away and post a sticky note on top as a reminder of what’s inside.
4. Make a simple meal plan
The holidays are busy enough, so be realistic about what sort of meals you’ll have time to cook. But don’t skip the planning process: taking the time to think of several weeks’ worth of meals now can save a lot of time and hassle later. Aim for quick and easy, but also healthy – to help counteract those holiday parties.
5. Buy travel tickets
Airfares will only go up as we approach the holidays, so it pays to book as soon as you know the details of your trip. If you have pets, or need someone to bring in mail and water plants, set this up now too.
6. Buy party-worthy snacks
Stock your pantry, fridge and freezer with a handful of go-to snack items like nuts, hard cheeses, frozen cookie dough and wine. You’ll be ready for any drop-in guests and last-minute cookie swaps that come your way.
7. Keep an eye on your calendar
The weekends around the holidays fill up fast – always check your calendar before responding to an invite to avoid over-stuffing your schedule. And don’t be afraid to say no to events that feel like too much. There’s no need to make up an elaborate excuse; a simple “Thank you so much for the invitation, but I can’t make it” will do.
8. Check your entertaining supplies
If you’re planning a holiday shindig, figure out what items you need, take stock of what you have and pick up what’s missing. Don’t forget the candles and twinkle lights for ambience.
9. Clean your house
A deep cleaning now will set your home up to shine well into next year. Then, for the rest of the holiday season just focus on maintaining the tidy through simple daily habits, like wiping the bathroom mirror and sink, staying on top of laundry, and sweeping the floor after every meal.
10. Get to sleep on time
Getting enough sleep can boost your immune system, stave off stress and give you more energy – three reasons to put enough shut eye at the top of your priority list going into the holiday season.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try turning off screens an hour before bed, sip some herbal tea, take a hot bath and then read a good, but slightly boring, book (really!) before shutting off the lights.
And make the time you go to sleep as consistent as possible from night to night; doing so will get your body used to the rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep fast.