Calming Holiday Chaos
This time of year can be overwhelming to many of us; however, we have a few ideas to help you create a bit more calm in your holiday season, and less chaos. Like most stressful periods in our lives, the key to keeping ahead of the craziness is being organized. Easier said than done, right? With everything we need to juggle in our lives how can we possibly find time to organize the holidays – of all things? Let’s start by changing our thinking a bit. Don’t keep thinking it’s only one month until Hanukkah or Christmas; instead, tell yourself how lucky it is that there are four more weeks to go. Four weeks is lots of time to get everything done if you are in the right mindset! Grab your iPhone, tablet, laptop, or notepad and pen. It’s time to start making your list of things to do. I prefer to use my iPhone as it rarely leaves my side and I can grab a quick look at the list no matter where I am. Pen and paper work, too, but please don’t use a scrap piece of paper or the back of a receipt as it will undoubtedly get misplaced. Everyone has their own set of priorities when it comes to the holidays so please feel free to change the order of ‘To Do’ items to fit your own life and needs.
Make a list of people you want to buy presents for. Categorize it into various sections. Adults (men/women); children (boy/girl/baby); pets (cat/dog/guinea pig). If you note gift ideas for each person/pet and where to purchase them, you will be able to map out the best shopping plan and avoid running back and forth across the city going from store to store. If you need to mail presents, make sure you purchase them first to ensure they get to the recipients on time.
Make sure you have all of your wrapping supplies on hand for when you get home with all of those gifts. You will need the following items: wrapping paper (better to buy too much than not enough); LOTS of tape; gift tags; gift bags/boxes; tissue paper; ribbon/bows; tissue paper or bubble wrap for breakable items; shipping boxes if gifts are to be mailed; brown Kraft paper; packing tape; and a black marker for addressing the parcel. If you have large gifts to wrap, a big, plastic gift bag would be easier to use than wrapping paper.
If you are a traditionalist and send holiday cards via the postal service, now is a good time to make your card list. Take the time to choose cards that reflect how you feel about the people receiving the cards. If you are taking the time to send cards, take time to choose the right ones. Have their addresses at hand when you start writing the cards so no time is lost looking for addresses once you’ve started the process. If you are stopping by a postal station to buy stamps and mail the cards, that’s great. If not, purchase enough stamps in advance for the cards and drop them in a mailbox en route to work. If you are sending cards outside of Canada, or over-sized cards, make sure you have enough postage on them or they will be sent back. I always prefer to go into a postal station to purchase those stamps separately and know that the cards won’t be returned to me. If you prefer to send ecards, now is the time to choose them and select a date that you want them delivered on. Easy as that!
Time to tie on your best apron and head for the kitchen. Or not. This really is a personal choice that only you can make. What works best for you? Homemade or store bought? Don’t be coerced into baking if you don’t want to bake, or if you really aren’t comfortable in the kitchen. There are many wonderful options available for holiday goodies nowadays. Bakeries, grocery stores, department stores! They all have a wonderful selection of baked goods to choose from. Remember, you’re calming the holiday chaos – not adding to it. If, on the other hand, you want to roll up your sleeves and grab the cookie cutters, go for it! Before you start baking though, make a list of supplies you need for all of the recipes you will be using. Schedule a time when you don’t have anything else planned or cookies could end up a little crispier than they should be. Baking should be fun and relaxing - not stressful and upsetting. The important thing is not where the treats came from; it’s that you cared enough to make sure the treats were there.
Time to decorate. Whether you're hanging a Hanukkah calendar or trimming the tree - choose your colours and get an idea of where you want to have your decorations. Prep the areas (need to move furniture? or get a nail into the wall to hang something?) How you decorate should reflect your personality. There is no right or wrong when it comes to holiday decorating. It’s what works for you, your budget, your lifestyle, your personal sense of style. If you are moving furniture on hardwood floors during the decorating process (to make room for a tree, perhaps!), make sure to have felt pads on the bottom of the pieces so you don’t scratch your floors. The most important thing of all is to have fun. Turn on the holiday music, crank up the volume, maybe grab a glass of wine, and have fun. After all, Tis’ The Season To Be Jolly!
If, after reading this, you still feel completely overwhelmed with the thought of the holidays, give us a call. We are definitely not Santa, but have been known to be his assistant elves when people need help reigning in their chaos. Organizing is our specialty and it’s what we love to do. We may not be professional elves, but we are definitely professional organizers with a wealth of information to help you create calm from chaos.