By mid-December, it’s time to dodge what’s coming or be steam-rolled by the holidays. Fortunately, it’s not too late to prepare. Here are seven organizational tips to help keep you from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks:
If you’re cooking for Christmas or New Year’s, there’s still time to ask friends and relatives to bring their favorite dishes. This helps you with the cooking and it allows your guests to show off their talents in the kitchen.
Clean out your refrigerator and stock up on food storage containers. Holidays involve a lot of food, and you’re going to need some place to put all the eggnog, whipping cream, pies and leftovers.
Make your holiday grocery list. Buy everything that can be stored or frozen at least a week ahead. Two weeks is better. You never know when a supply chain issue or a “run” on your favorite ingredient is going to empty the shelves.
If you gift shopping isn’t done, make a written list of everyone you still need to buy for. Prioritize the list, assigning a “one” to gifts for your closest friends and family members. Assign a two to everyone else. Next, put a star beside all of the “ones” whose gifts must be mailed or ordered through the mail. When you go shopping, buy the gifts for the starred “ones” first. Buy gifts for the “ones” without a star second. Buy for the “twos” last. If you run out of time or money, bake something for the “twos” or buy them gift certificates.
Hold on to your credit cards. It’s tempting to solve procrastination-induced “emergencies” with money you don’t have but remember…..you don’t have it. If the temptation to charge last-minute “solutions” won’t go away, imagine opening your holiday credit card bills in January, or May……. or August.
Make a schedule of all of the events you plan to attend over the holidays. If necessary, include driving time. Now is your chance to bow out of some activities without being too “last minute”. Christmas is not a 36-hour day. If too many people want you to go too many places, it’s time to think about what’s possible, especially if you have small children or want to start your own traditions at home.
If you drink, plan your personal alcohol management. What is your drinking limit for each event? Will you need a designated driver? If so, who will it be? Recruit them now. Drinking to excess is never a good idea, but many people make exceptions for the holidays. If you’re one of those people, plan ahead for your own safety and the safety of others on the road.