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Every year, without fail, I end up having to rush around to finish my holiday to-do list on Christmas Eve. It’s super frustrating and takes some of the joy out of the holiday season.
Of course, I know I’m not alone! In fact, you probably already know that stores, streets, and malls are the most packed the few days before Christmas. Everyone is running around trying to find (at least) that one elusive gift that seems to have sold out everywhere. And all the while the cards still haven’t been filled out, the food hasn’t been prepped, and all the unwrapped gifts are delicately balanced in a closet in an effort to hide them.
But over time I learned to make it easier on myself by doing anything I can in advance. Here’s how to prevent holiday overwhelm with 8 practical tasks you can do now:
1-) Get pictures for cards
If you get Christmas photos to send out to family and friends get them now. Really, there’s no point in waiting! Most photography places will have props for holiday photos ready well in advance, so take advantage and do photoshoots early.
2-) Send cards
Address and send those cards soon after the photos are ready! Don’t worry about sending them out “too early.” Honestly, whenever I receive Christmas cards a little early I tend to feel like those families have their acts together! So, give give your family and friends a good impression of how organized your family is by sending out those cards soon 😉
Growing up, my mommom was the cookie maker for Christmas. She led the team of herself, my mom, and me of baking dozens after dozens of cookies for all our family and friends. Cookies literally took over the dining room as we put together cookie trays for everyone.
Now, if she tried to get all that baking done within a few days before Christmas she would have driven herself crazy. Instead, she started baking way in advance with cookies that she could freeze! She only baked the cookies that tasted better fresh within the week before Christmas!
So if you do any baking for the holidays test out how well your recipes freeze. Note which ones freeze well and bake them in advance! It will make the last few days before Christmas much less stressful!
4-) Work out schedules
Working out where and when families/friends will visit each other and making sure everyone banked enough time off work feels like one of the most stressful parts of holiday preparations for many families. If your family has multiple schedules to balance (school, work, holiday gatherings, etc), sit down together and work it out. Write it all down in advance and start making any adjustments you need (requesting time off work, rescheduling doctor’s appointments, etc)!
5-) Make travel arrangements
I discuss getting ready for your travels in depth in my post 17 Tips to Get Your Home Ready and Organized before Vacation, and these tips definitely apply to getting ready if you travel at the holidays! Starting to make all the necessary arrangements and getting all the housework done now will save you a lot of stress when the holidays creep up and you still have holiday-specific tasks to complete!
Likewise, if you host people who will be staying at your home over the holidays, start making sure you have everything you need for them now! Do you need to organize the guest bedroom? Do you need to buy fresh sheets or towels? Are there special accommodations to set up? Write it all down and start crackin’!
6-) Organize your gift list
We all know those people who are difficult to buy gifts for, and most of us tend to wait until the last minute-when we’re already amidst the large crowds– to actually buy gifts for those people.
Y’all…I encourage you to vow to not do that this year! Sit down with a pen and paper and decide ahead of time what you’re going to get everyone. You can also research where you want to get the gifts and work out a budget. Do this ahead of time and the shopping will become much easier!
Whether you enjoy wrapping gifts or not, it can become stressful and overwhelming when you have a ton of gifts to wrap within a few days of the holidays. Reduce the overwhelm by wrapping gifts as you buy them! You can even set yourself up with a wrapping station that you go to as soon as you come home with a gift. Wrapping the gifts early also makes keeping them a secret easier because you don’t need to worry about hiding them!
8- ) Get prepared for poor weather
If you live where snow is a possibility around the holidays, get prepared now! Nothing feels more stressful around the holidays than needing to go out for last-minute and then getting caught with ice and snow! Take a few hours to make sure you can access shovels, snowblowers, car scrapers, and salt easily if storms hit!
There you have my tips on how to prevent holiday overwhelm!
Looking for holiday gift ideas? Check out my favorite organizing gift ideas that are both practical and thoughtful!