The holidays are a magical time – seeing the kid’s eyes light up with awe, reconnecting with family and friends, and traditions that bring so much grounding and familiarity.
But how can you be present for those moments when there is just so much to do? From decorating and hosting to gift shopping and party-hopping – it can be hard to enjoy the season when there’s so much to be done.
Having a plan in place with budgets and target dates will help alleviate some of that holiday stress – and when it all, inevitably, gets to be too much – ask for help, recruit the little ones and make some core memories or grab a friend and tackle your to-do lists together.
Planning To Decorate
Decorating is one of the most fun parts of the holidays and a great way to kick off the season and get into the spirit.
But... you don’t carve out some dedicated time it can feel like an overwhelming task – especially if you’re planning to host early in the holiday season and especially if you’re the type of decorator that goes all out.
If you’re a minimalist, then maybe you’ll only need a couple of hours or an afternoon. If you like to go big and decorate every room, then having a plan to tack away one room at a time over the course of a week or so might be a better idea.
Especially if you’re the hosting, it’s key to have a timeline established, so you’re ready to entertain. As always, start by making a to-do list, or in this case, a couple of to-do lists.
- The first list should be what you have on hand for decorations, ideally broken down by room.
- The next list should be what you need for replacement and fill-in decorations.
Décor can get old, worn out, or broken - replacing a few pieces and adding in one or two new key pieces will keep the décor feeling fresh.
Decorating is also a fun thing to do with the kiddos, especially the tree or mantle. While decorating with your spouse or friends may be easier and cleaner – decorating with the kids will build core memories and traditions.
Make sure to plan time for these special moments – it will surely make the decorating process more fun and meaningful.
Budgeting For The Holidays
Shopping and budgeting is arguably the most stressful part of the holidays.
A great way to plan ahead is to have a rolling gift list - we recommend saving a digital copy of your holiday gift list year-over-year to speed up this process. Not only will you have an almost complete list of people to buy for, but you’ll also have a reference guide to what you gave the previous year. This is an ideal way to stay on top of gift buying, not forget anyone, and appear totally put together and come off as the greatest gift giver ever!
Also, if you have a digital list saved, you can refer back to it throughout the year as you shop for other occasions. After all, it’s never too early to start holiday shopping. There’s no need to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday – while you can certainly find stellar deals, planning to make some purchases throughout the year will help keep you within your holiday budget and keep your gift list moving.
Another great reason to keep a holiday gift list ready year-round is to help track online "lightning deals" or flash sales. If you know there’s a particular item that sells out fast or is on the pricier end, planning to buy it in advance and watch for a mid-year lightning deal can save your budget.
While the holiday season does offer some great deals, so do other times of the year, like Labor Day and Columbus Day – use these sales times to score big on hot ticket items. It’ll save you from last-minute headaches or buyer’s remorse if you end up having to pay full price during the holidays.
Plan To Be The Best Party Guest
Being the greatest host with the best decorations and the best gift giver is a learned art – it takes practice and, of course, planning. Being the best party guest is much easier.
Plan to arrive at each party with at least a bottle of wine and a personal gift for the host.
The gift doesn’t need to be extravagant, just thoughtful – a wellness gift of body scrub and a shower hand mit, or a light vanilla scented candle or even a personal recipe they mentioned enjoying earlier in the year. Regardless of who the party host is, don’t show up empty-handed. You’re important enough to be invited to their holiday party, and you should plan to make them feel just as special, especially in their home.
Whatever the holiday task at hand is, remember to go into it with a plan – reorganize and reprioritize as you go. Ask for help from friends and family. Keep it light an have fun!
It’s the holidays after all – the most wonderful time of the year!