Organize Your Holidays

Organizing my home has helped me have more free time and less stress. I am hoping for the same results this holiday season by completely organizing my Christmas!
It may sound silly, but making lists and planning is imperative to being organized. I try to make daily, weekly and monthly cleaning schedules and activity schedules for my kids. I plan my weekly meals and make grocery lists. I have three, yes three, calendars on my fridge…all planning different things. So I decided to apply the same principals to Christmas this year. What’s one more calendar and list on the fridge?
Here is how I am organizing my life this Christmas:
Step OneMake a list.  Write down everyone you have to buy for and how much you would like to spend on each person.  I have done this every year and I find it really helps me to get a handle on my shopping and my budget. I go a bit further and make a third column with gift ideas for each person. This helps me to plan my shopping trips. If my sister-in-law and niece are both getting clothes, I can plan a trip to the mall and try for both gifts at once. If my father-in-law and brother are getting books, I can just go to the book store.  I make my list in EXCEL and once I have purchased it, I fill the line with red…if you’re not a huge dork like me, you can just cross it off! 
Step Two: Plan your month.  Write down all the things you want to get done this month. Christmas parties, holiday baking, volunteering, shopping and decorating. Now fill in your calendar giving you a realistic time-line and plenty of rest days! Here is a copy of my Christmas Calendar 
Step Three: Make is Special. Don’t forget what this is all really about. There is so much to do and get done I often lose sight of the why. I rush to buy presents, decorate and get to the parties and forget that all that really matters is that I’m spending time with the ones I love. By organizing my Christmas I’ll ensure I have plenty of time for each task, even enough time to let my kids “help” too.  I will also have time for the extra things I always want to do, but never have time to do. Christmas cards, gifts for Goodfellows, tobogganing and public skating…and lots of Family Christmas Movie Nights by the fire.
I wish you an Organized Holiday Season as well!