by Randy Dickinson
November 04, 2011
The holidays can be fun, relaxing times together with family and friends that is if you control them by doing a little pre-organizing. Juggling your normal work and school schedule can get tricky when you add holiday activities. Here is a list of tips to keep you Thankful for Thanksgiving and Merry that it’s Christmas time!
1. Make a holiday calendar including all of the extra holiday activities and travel so the whole family is aware of the schedule. You might have to say “no” to some of your normal activities to make room for the holiday activities or be careful not to add too many holiday activities. More is not always better!
2. Plan your holiday menus early, then clean out the pantry, fridge and freezer and make your shopping list. If you need brown sugar for a favorite recipe, you don’t want to find out in the middle of baking that you are out of that staple or that it is old and hard as a rock. Nor do you want to buy yet another bag when you have two already in the pantry. Purging the kitchen will keep those things from happening. Shop early for all non-perishables and buy perishables a day or two ahead of the meal. Cook or bake ahead as many recipes as you can and delegate food items or paper goods to holiday guests.
3. Plan a day, or afternoon to go through the house and collect as many items as possible for charity. Get the kids to sort through their toys for donations and trash to make room for the new toys and gifts they will be receiving. ( This works great the month before their birthday as well!)
4. Don’t try to marry holiday decorations with all the rest of your décor! It’s ok to pack away some of the non holiday décor during the holidays and return it after you pack away the decorations. The house will feel less cluttered and you will enjoy the holiday décor so much more.
5. When putting up holiday decorations be realistic about old decorations that you haven’t put up in years or that are looking “sad.” Go ahead and donate the old decorations and let them be someone else’s “new” holiday décor.
6. Purchase clear or holiday colored bins to containerize the decorations you do want to keep. If they are worth keeping then they are worth keeping well! You can purchase Christmas light organizers or use a piece of cardboard to wrap the lights around to keep them from tangling in storage.
7. For tight holiday budgets gift giving can take the Merry out of Christmas quick. Consider drawing names in your family or circle of friends, give service gifts like babysitting or house cleaning or a coupon for a dinner night at your house. For grandparents that give too much ask for quality time gifts like museum or movie passes. Plan a fun activity for Christmas day to look forward to like a game marathon, a scavenger hunt to friends homes, turkey bowling or anything you and your family would look forward to doing together. Instead of gifts last year, I planned a Christmas Amazing Race with fun activities like turkey bowling and eggnog drinking as well as other activities at local friends homes and we ended at the local nursing home to sing carols. Memory making is a great gift!
I hope these tips help you to be thankful for the holidays and merry that you were more prepared this season!