Holiday Chaos No Fun?
The holidays are just around the corner. The next two months will be a flurry of decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping, cooking, eating and celebrating. There’s so much to do, and so much I want to to do, that it can seem overwhelming! The chaos that comes with the holidays can make a holiday season no fun. But a little bit of holiday planning can turn that stress into seasonal bliss.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With some planning, things can go a lot smoother. Then even mom can relax and actually enjoy the season. All it takes is a little bit of thinking ahead to reduce the holiday-related stress.
Start with a Calendar
Go ahead and pull out a calendar. Look ahead to the next two months. Mark on it those dates you know of already — parades you want to attend, concerts you have tickets to, the kids’ pageants and plays. Now is when you call your mom or mother-in-law to confirm when family dinners are. Check with friends about get-togethers, and pull up your church or work calendars for their party dates. Don’t forget to put in shopping trips, craft sales, and maybe a trip to a Christmas tree farm with the kids on your calendar.
Pro tip: match them up with paydays!
Now make your life easier. Pencil in days that you want to spend baking with the kids, or decorating the house. If you set aside the time for these special activities, you won’t feel rushed. Maybe you’ve always wanted to build gingerbread houses with your little ones? Put that day on the calendar. Need some time away from the kids to wrap presents? Plan for it, and arrange the babysitter or time at Grandma’s now.
Pro tip: send some money along with Grandma or the babysitter and have your kids go shopping for mom and dad!
Create a To-Do List
Since you now have the time set aside to do all the fun holiday things, what do you want to do? I’m a huge proponent of making lists. Lists help me keep track of what I want to do, what I need to do and what I’ve already done. This way, I don’t forget anything. My mind is kept clutter free and able to be creative and fully enjoy the moment.
You may want to create several lists, on different topics. Which parts of the house did you want to decorate? List out the areas and what you want to put there. Create a baking list with all the cookies, pies, and special treats you want to make this year. Then you can make another list for the ingredients you need, especially those things you only use at Christmas time.
List all the events you are going to or want to go to. Yes they may be on your calendar already, but having a simple list means you can scan quickly when something comes up last minute.
Pro Tip: Add events that you missed this year that you’d like to go to. Keep lists from year to year, and plan ahead for next year!
Plan your Menus
Holiday seasons bring special meals! The turkey, the pies, the yummy salads — the smells and tastes of the season are almost as memorable as the sights. So plan out your menus for these meals and make sure nothing gets forgotten. How many dinners are you hosting? How many do you just need to bring something to share? Make a list of what you want to cook.
With your dinner menus, you can write out grocery lists. This means you can cut down on the trips to the crazy grocery store. (Because you know shopping during the holidays is insane!)
Pro Tip: make ahead food for potlucks and family dinners that you are invited to, and freeze. On the day, thaw and heat before you go.
Don’t forget the Gift Lists
Christmas means giving! You may not have a mile-long list like I do (6 children to buy for, plus friends and family!!), but it can sometimes be hard to keep track of who you’ve gotten a gift for and who you have left to get. Make a list of names and gift ideas, along with what you’ve actually gotten. Then you can check off or cross off when said gift is wrapped and given. And if you keep these lists from one year to the next, you can make sure you don’t duplicate something from one year to the next.
For many of us, we also send out Christmas cards. Having a list of who you are mailing cards to, and who you want to send pictures to will make buying or making those cards easier. And if you put their addresses with your list, it’ll be handy when it comes time to mail them.
Pro tip: keep the card lists from year to year, to save time. Just update with names and addresses, instead of rewriting.
Plan your Budget
With all these lists now made, you can easily plan your budget. You can plan for Christmas expenses, instead of overspending, and feeling stressed about bills later. With shopping lists, you’ll be able to stick to your budget instead of impulse shopping, and manage both your time and your cashflow.
On your gift list, you can determine how much you want to spend on each person. On your events list, you can put the cost of the tickets or gas money, and even decide which activities are in your budget this year. Your menus and shopping lists could be marked with approximate amounts, and then you can watch for sales. And your calendar will help you manage your budget as well, by letting you match up your shopping and trips to your paychecks better.
Pro Tip: get in the habit of Christmas shopping or saving all year round. It saves you time and money!
Turn Holiday Stress into Holiday Bliss
The holidays can often be stressful, especially for us moms. We seem to have the bulk of the preparations, the shopping and the cooking and baking on us. With a little bit of planning, and a few lists, we can relax, knowing that nothing is forgotten. And maybe this year, we’ll even have more of the fun!
Need help with Holiday Planning?
Grab my holiday planner to help with all your planning needs. Includes blank lists, menus and budget worksheets, for all the special holiday activities!