Every year after Halloween, it seems like the holiday season swoops in at full force and barely lets us catch a breath until January rolls around. Our minds are suddenly filled with recipe ideas, Pinterest recreations, holiday parties, and of course, Christmas shopping. It’s one of our absolute favorite times of the year, but it’s also one of the most difficult times to stay organized. Our to-do lists are long, our schedules are busy, and our minds are filled with everything but ideas for staying on top of it all. Thankfully, we’ve learned that the secret to staying organized over this busy season is having a plan, and we’ve got four tips for helping you come up with a plan of your own. Once you have your plan written down, stick to it! Remember that the busyness will be over all too soon, so take a deep breath, slow down, and savor the precious memories you’re making with the people you love, because that’s what will really matter long after the holidays are over.
- Keep a running to-do list. During the holidays, it seems like there are so many things we need to get done that take up more than just ten minutes of our time. Christmas shopping, party planning, holiday meal prepping— these will all, most likely, take a few weeks (or more!) to complete. So instead of putting these on your daily to-do list, write them on the “notes” column of the monthly spread in your Simplified Planner (or on your to-do notepad!). This way, you can easily look at the things you need to get done this month. It won’t get lost, you won’t be flipping through pages looking for it, and you can add to it as you think of things.
- Start the preparation early. Waiting until the last minute to start preparing only makes things more difficult on yourself! Go ahead and find Thanksgiving in your planner (November 24th!), back up two weeks, and write in a reminder to make some sides that you can freeze and pull out the day before. Set up a gift wrapping station in your house now, and start wrapping gifts as you purchase them, then put them aside (Don’t forget to write down what you have so you don’t over-buy!). Do you always bake the same cookies for the cookie swap you do with your girlfriends? Go ahead and buy the ingredients the next time you’re at the grocery store so you won’t be scrambling at the last minute. Remember: failing to plan is planning to fail!
- Express your thankfulness. Our favorite notepad for this time of year is our thank you notes notepad. We believe that practicing gratitude is one of the most important things we can do, and although we always start out the holiday season with the best intentions to write thank you notes to anyone and everyone, this can often fall to the bottom of our to-do list, and before we know it, they get sent out embarrassingly late (or not at all). We find that when we keep a list of everyone we need to send a “thank you” to, and exactly what it’s for, it’s much easier to stay on top of. Sit down with your list and a stack of thank you notes at the end of every week (even if there’s only one to send!) and knock them out all at once. Come January 1st, you’ll be so glad you did it this way!
- Relax. Remember that a messy home filled with love and joy and lots of laughter is so much more fulfilling than recreating the perfect light display you found on Pinterest. All the planning and organizing in the world can’t fill you with happiness, so stop and take a deep breath every once in awhile. Your little ones’ faces will still light up with joy when they see Christmas lights hung around the fireplace, even if they are a little bit crooked. Picking up Chick-fil-a nuggets for dinner on Christmas Eve so you can spend time with your family instead of slaving away in the kitchen all day long is more than okay. In fact, you’ll probably even enjoy it more than that meal you spend hours cooking. Plan for some down time, let go of the need to get everything done, and make room for white space in your planner. Quit chasing perfection this holiday season and choose raw, messy joy instead. That’s when the good stuff really happens.