The holidays don’t need to invoke panic! Follow these holiday organization and planning tips from the experts to kick holiday stress to the curb.
The baking. The cards. The shopping. The wrapping. The work parties. The decorating. THE STRESS. Oh my.
What has happened?
When exactly did the holiday season morph from a string of happy and festive weeks into a crazy Super-Sized list of tasks that seem to overshadow the true meaning of the season?
It really doesn’t have to be this way.
My mission is to bring back joy and banish stress during the holiday season. I started my crusade this month by offering tips for simplifying the holidays and planning your holiday as part of the Organize and Refine Your Home Challenge.
I went a step further and asked 15 organizing experts from around the blogosphere to weigh in on this question:
What’s your #1 holiday organization tip to help reduce stress during the holiday season?
Because let’s face it. I’m not the only one who has wisdom to share on the subject!
So grab a favorite beverage, get comfy, and check out what these wise bloggers have to say when it comes to how to have a stress-free holiday season!
Holiday Organization & Planning Tips for a Stress-Free Season
Laura Wittmann, Organizing Junkie
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: Reducing stress during the holiday season all comes down to some advanced holiday planning.
My goal is always to get as much done as I possibly can in November so that by the time December is here I can just relax and savor the season with my family.
Advance tasks include getting the gifts purchased, Christmas cards ready to go, and the cleaning and organizing out of the way to name a few. I also don’t feel any guilt about letting go of the things I don’t enjoy doing like baking. Instead, most of my Christmas baking is of the no-bake variety and nobody seems to even notice.
So get out your calendar now and consider what you can reasonably get done in the next couple of weeks. For less Christmas chaos, consider what you can eliminate from your list in order to leave some much-needed breathing space in your schedule. If you need some help with this, please check out my Organized for Christmas series where I help you simplify the season by breaking down tasks into manageable bites.
Ruth Soukup, Living Well Spending Less
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: Download our LWSL Holiday Planner and actually use it!
Take the time to set your intentions (the planner will guide you through this) so that you are ready and able to focus on the things that matter most, and also so that you are clear about what to cut out. It is an amazing resource!
Becky Rapinchuk, Clean Mama
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: Say no. Don’t do everything.
Choose a handful of important activities and events that are meaningful and cut out the rest. I find that if we’re running all over trying to participate in every single event and activity we forget the meaning of the season and lose sight of its importance.
Savor the season and don’t try to do everything.
Toni Hammersley, A Bowlful of Lemons
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: Use a holiday planner (binder)!
It will keep you organized, from what gifts you’ve purchased to your holiday meals. It’s a lifesaver. 🙂 If you’re wondering what’s included in a holiday planner, take a look at my Holiday Planner at A Bowl Full of Lemons.
Abby Lawson, Just a Girl and Her Blog
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: My best organizing tip would be to say “no” more often!
We tend to take on too much, particularly around the holidays, and it leaves us feeling overloaded and stressed. When I prioritize and choose my commitments more carefully, I can enjoy the holiday season without having to constantly be worrying about my to-do list.
Lisa Woodruff, Organize 365
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: Make a plan!
Take an hour and think about how you want to spend the holidays with your family. What do you want to eat, bake, purchase, create, and do? I take a sheet of paper and map out the kid’s winter break with a fun family activity each day for them to look forward to. Some of the activities on my list are:
- Make cookies
- See a movie
- Drive around and look at lights
- Go out to dinner
- Have Grandma over for dinner
- Have our Nephew spend the night
- Deep clean the kid’s bedrooms
Then I take a few hours the first week in December and go shopping for all of our family’s favorites. I buy hot chocolate, candy canes, peppermint ice cream, sugar cookies, and all the cookie icing options.
Natalie Gallagher, Refined Rooms
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: When it comes to reducing that sense of overwhelm that goes hand-in-hand with the holiday season, the name of the game is Get Started Early!
There are some key tasks on your Holiday To-Do List that you can focus on knocking out in late October-early November, in order to carve out more time for the fun in December.
Here is my list tasks to tackle in the pre-season calm!
Megan Duesterhaus, The Homes I Have Made
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: To keep stress at bay during the holidays, my best tip is to plan!
Spend some time at the start of the season to hash out travel plans, social obligations, school commitments, gift lists, and decorating tasks. Get input from the entire family and make sure every last task is accounted for. You can plan on a family calendar or simply make a long, running To-Do List. Either way, loosely plan what all needs to get done, as well as when and who is going to do it!
Katie Maris, Organizing Moms
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: Before the holidays begin, talk to each person in your family individually, and ask them about their favorite holiday traditions. You might be surprised to hear what’s important to them.
Then, when you’re planning your holiday activities, you can focus on what your family values, and cut the extras that no one really loved in the first place. It will make your holidays less rushed, and maximize the happy memory making!
Laura Smith, I Heart Planners
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: I like to radically simplify the holiday season, so I can truly relax, slow down. and enjoy time with my family.
I do the things that matter most to me and my family and forget about the rest. We don’t exchange gifts. I don’t decorate at all which frees up a ton of time and storage space. Instead, we do fun activities together like going out to look at lights, movie nights, baking, etc.
Autumn Leopold, Smart-Happy-Organized
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: The biggest way I reduce stress during the holidays is by delegating.
If we have family in town or guests coming for dinner, I give them tasks to do I know they are already good at. For example, my in-laws make a wonderful Turkey at Thanksgiving, my mother in law makes an amazing brisket for New Year’s Day, my step-mother makes a dreamy lemon dessert and tasty apple pie, and the men are great at getting the extra tables and chairs set up.
So during my holiday planning, I first make a list of what everyone is naturally good at and enjoys doing, and then I simply give them that task and it frees me up to get other things done.”
Andi Willis, Good Life Organizing
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: When storing your holiday decorations, store like with like.
Your categories may be snowmen, Santas, nativity sets and glass ornaments or you might group items by colors or by the rooms where they are being used. Whatever makes the most sense to you. And be sure to clearly label your storage containers.
Liana George, ByGeorge Organizing
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: Use a holiday planner.
Whether it’s one you make yourself, purchase from a store, or carry digitally, a planner provides a place for you to record your holiday priorities, keep track of all your upcoming activities, jot down grocery and gift-giving lists and save receipts. Having everything together in one place helps your holidays run more smoothly and keep you from the frenzy of trying to remember so many things.
The key is just to remember to keep it with you!
Morgan Tyree, Morganize with Me
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: Carefully and cautiously consider your traditions.
Young parents, when you decide to adopt a new tradition, consider the big picture of the commitment and consider if the dynamic is greater than the demand. On the flip side, if you are tired (or stressed) because of a certain tradition you’ve adopted, commit to changing it. Holidays should be a time to slow down and savor time together. For the traditions you want to keep, plan now to make them even more successful and of course, less stressful.
When you organize your commitments well, you allow more margin for simple memories to be made. Happy holidays!
Crystal Barton, Happily Ever Uncluttered
My #1 Tip for a Stress-Free Holiday Season: My number one organizing tip during the holiday season is to start early. The earlier you start, the less you will have to deal with all at once.
Some things you can do early to help alleviate some holiday stress might be:
- Make your holiday shopping list early so you can be on the lookout for the items when you see them.
- Make your menu for dinner so you can begin to shop for the ingredients.
- Do you already have presents tucked away in your closet? Got some time to spare? Why not go ahead and wrap them up?
- There are some side dishes and desserts that can be made then frozen. You can go ahead and make some items up.
The holidays are a time to come together with friends and family, not a time for stress. By planning early you are able to eliminate the stress you may have felt if you waited until the last minute to do everything.
I hope that you took away a few golden nuggets when it comes to holiday organization…I sure did! Wishing you the best stress-free holiday season ever!