Who doesn’t want to have a more relaxing Christmas? One of the best (and most elusive) ways to make that happen is to plan ahead. The most obvious tip, of course, is to use CheckedTwice to manage the gifting aspect of the holidays, but here are some other ways to plan ahead for a more organized, less frenzied season.
Spend a little time taking stock of what you already have in terms of decorations and wrapping supplies. Is anything missing? Is there anything you’ve never used or is too out-of-date to use again? Toss those items (or find a way to donate them) to help declutter and make the decoration unpacking process easier. With the advent of sites like Pinterest, it can be the Christmas year-round. Spend some time on the web looking for inspiration – then see what items you can order now to have on-hand when you’ll need them in a few months. See what you’ve got for wrapping paper and wrapping supplies, too – there may still be some off-season deals on festive paper and you can stock up on tape, scissors, ribbons and bows to keep them off your to-do list later.
Map it Out
Start a calendar to map out this year’s festivities. Fill it in with anything you are already aware of – things like travel dates, annual parties, work events, or even just the days you’ll have off work like Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. As events start to pile up, add them to the calendar and then consult it to make sure you aren’t double booking yourself. A visual representation will give you a quick way to channel the craziness in your head into an easier to interpret snapshot.
Make Decorating Fun
Using your calendar, schedule a decorating day or weekend. Enlist the help of your family and friends and make an event out of it. Prepare some seasonal food and drinks and it can become a party and tradition of its own. With more people to divide the work, it’ll be quicker and easier than doing it all yourself. (You may need to move some things around after to match your vision but.. that is easier than tackling everything from scratch!) Plus, everything is better with snacks and booze.
Get Your Cards Together
What’s worse than last minute Christmas card sending?! Pull together your Christmas card address list and put it into Excel. Keep it organized with Name/Street Address/City/State/ZIP in their own columns so that you can print labels later. If you’re missing addresses, you can contact people via Facebook or text and fill in the holes over the next several weeks. Then when you’re ready to send the cards you can do one bulk mailing instead of waiting for straggler addresses.
Are you going to do a photo card? Start looking through the year’s pictures to find your favorite. If you need to have one taken, get in touch with a photographer right away to schedule some time for a few shots. Talented and available photographers will be hard to come by the closer we get to Thanksgiving and Christmas so knock that out now!
These are just a few ideas to start on now – do you have any other suggestions? Share them with us in the comments!