It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the season and keep your sanity.
1. Prioritize! What are the most important activities that need to occur? Make a game plan and schedule your most important activities. Don't say yes to every party. Make time for yourself - read, take a walk, enjoy a bath. Keep a positive attitude. The world won't end if you don't participate in EVERY holiday activity!
2. Christmas Cards Sending Christmas cards is a lot easier if you have a database with recipients' names and addresses. Print the labels, but sign the cards for a personal touch. If you're not a fan of computers, compile a typed or handwritten Christmas card list for easy reference. If all else fails, consider using sendoutcards.com or emailing holiday cards and greetings.
3. Gifts Make a list of what you want to buy for family and friends. Take the list with you when shop and you'll save time by avoiding aimless wandering. Map out your travels. Visit stores in a logical geographic order to save time and fuel. Need creative places to hide gifts from children or a spouse? Consider your office at work, or a friend or neighbor's house. Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper to save valuable time.
4. Decorating As you decorate, eliminate decorations you don't use anymore. Donating them will help someone else and free up storage space for items you do use. Put decorations in the same place each year. This will result in less time thinking about how you should decorate. When you store your decorations, label each container with the decoration name and location.
5. Hosting a Christmas Party No time for a party before Christmas? The Christmas season ends January 7 so host a part after New Year's. You don't have to prepare all the food yourself. Buy food platters and baked goods from a local store. Use decorative paper plates and napkins. Keep the drinks simple - soda, punch, wine, and beer.
6. Unexpected Company Who hasn't had unexpected company during the holiday season? No need to stress. Keep a few simple items such as vegetables, hummus, nuts, dip, crackers, and drinks on hand. They're easy to serve quickly. This will help reduce the stress of entertaining unexpected company and allow you to enjoy time with your guests.
7. Cleaning Keep clutter to a minimum. Put items away when you're finished using them. (This should be done year round.) Clean as you go to avoid an overwhelming task - put the dishes in the dishwasher; wipe off counters; keep wipes in the bathroom for quick in-between cleaning; use a swiffer or feather duster for a quick once over. No time to dust? Keep the lights low and use candles or flameless luminaries. Vacuum carpets and floors on a regular basis.