This is the time of year when the excitement of the season starts to snowball. Things start getting frightful outside, and can be delightful inside...and then you realize that family events, holiday concerts, shopping, cooking, and hosting all have to be squeezed into a few precious weeks. The key to getting through it and embracing what's supposed to be a joyful season is organization.
Make your gift list- The earlier you do this, the better your chances of ordering online and actually having things arrive in time! Remember to include a few host gifts and make sure you have enough gift wrapping supplies.
Map out your events- When you have a clear idea of when you'll be busy, it's easier to get on with the jobs that you'd otherwise put off.
Take inventory- Part of being organized is knowing what you've got and what you need more of. Take stock of your pantry to see what you can buy in advance. It's also a good time to find sales on some food basics. If you're having house guests, make sure your guest linens and towels are in good shape.
Deck the halls- This is a lot of work summed up into a charming phrase. The first step is to clean up and declutter your living areas. Then, haul out your decorations and hope all the lights still work. Finally, the fun family time of stringing garland and trimming the tree. This is the part of the holidays that memories are made of AND you can usually get happy helpers!
Take a trip to the post office- Send off any cards or presents that need to ensure they arrive on time.
Stock the freezer- If you're making cookies or a holiday treat for an event, double the recipe and store the leftovers in the fridge. It's little effort for a big payoff.
Set the table- If your dinner is hosted somewhere other than your kitchen, consider setting the table before the big day. Centerpieces, tablecloths and placeholders will all add to your festive decor and save you time when you're trying to get the food finished.
The 10 minute tidy- Once the gifts are opened, ask everyone in your house to take 10 minutes to pick up their things and put them where they belong. Any extra time can be spent cleaning up extra gift wrap or wiping down surfaces that need it.
Pack things away properly- Despite the exhaustion at the end of the holiday season, putting your decorations away in an organized manner will pay off. If you have several boxes, make notes of what is inside each one. It really will save you time next year and you'll thank yourself.
With a strategy ahead of the game, your snowballs will be stacked on each other to create holiday snowmen and thrown at loved ones to create lasting memories.