Ideas for an organized and stress-free holiday.
With all the plans and preparations we take on during the holidays, December can feel more frenzied than festive. Our list of practical tips will help keep you on top of the details and allow you to spend more time enjoying what the season is really all about.
- Keep gift wrapping supplies in one orderly location by putting together a portable wrapping station. Purchase a long storage box (one that will fit under the bed is ideal) to hold rolls of paper, with smaller containers inside for keeping ribbon, tape, gift cards, scissors and pens. You can transport the box to any room in the house for wrapping gifts quickly and easily with all your supplies at hand.
- When shopping for holiday gift wrap, stick to a limited colour palette. Not only will gifts look coordinated under the tree, but you’ll save time while wrapping if you can mix and match paper, ribbon and tags without a second thought.
- Tag your gifts as soon as you wrap them to avoid losing track of what's what.
- Writing and sending out holiday cards can be a time-consuming project best tackled in short bursts. Streamline the process by creating a portable holiday card mailing station that you can set up anytime you have a free moment. In a medium storage bin, place several sets of holiday cards, lists of friends and family including mailing addresses, books of stamps, return address labels and a few reliable pens. Having all your supplies in one location will save you time and make the project feel less daunting.
- Keep track of the recipients of each style of card you're sending. You'll be able to use your leftover cards next year with confidence, knowing friends and family won't be getting the same card two years in a row.
- Keep tabletops uncluttered by pinning holiday cards you receive on a cork board hung in the kitchen or hallway. Give the cards a festive background by covering the board with pretty holiday wrap.
- Peruse on-line shops first to get ideas before heading out to the mall. Or purchase gifts on-line from the comfort of your home. Take advantage of on-line shops that offer a gift wrapping service so that gifts can be shipped directly to out of town friends and family.
- If your schedule is filling up with invitations to holiday gatherings, carve out some time to shop for small hostess gifts that anyone would love: gourmet food items, seasonal music, pretty candles or bottles of wine all make wonderful offerings. You'll never have to show up empty-handed and your thoughtfulness will ensure an invitation back next year.
- Give gift cards: With the majority of retailers offering gift cards in the denomination of your choice, this quick and easy offering is now perfectly acceptable, even preferable, especially for fussier friends or the tough-to-shop-for teens on your list.
- Plan an intimate tree-trimming party. Having friends and family over to help you decorate your home will save you time while you catch up over hot chocolate.
- Keep it simple: Place a few shiny ornaments in a decorative bowl, lay some pine branches on your mantel, add blooming amaryllis plants to tabletops or wrap mini white lights around potted palms to instantly inject rooms with the holiday spirit.
- Organize and store away holiday decorations in sturdy plastic bins. Wrap decorations in tissue paper, sort them into containers by room and label each bin accordingly. This will help avoid breakage and make next year's decorating a breeze.
Get more ideas for the festive season in our Christmas & Holiday Guide!