Get Organized

Before The Season: Focus On Holiday Values

holiday values

What do you really want for Christmas? Our ideas may differ in the details, but most of us want much the same thing: a seasonal celebration focused on faith, family and friends.

We want the excitement of the season without the disruption that too often comes with it. We want to draw closer to those around us, not to be thrust apart by hectic schedules. We want to enjoy as well as to prepare, and to keep the Christmas season in a manner that is joyous and spiritually centered.

Problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in the seasonal whirlwind! Tradition, the media, family expectations and the economy lean on our decision-making, each with a different agenda. Unconscious forces can distort our celebration for reasons that have nothing to do with what we truly want from the holiday.

Schedule Smart for Stress-Free Holidays

holiday scheduling

When you think about Christmas from a few weeks away, there’s a luxurious feeling of “plenty of time”, but as December draws near, the season’s pace quickens exponentially. Where did the time go?

Time takes on a slippery quality as the holiday season approaches.

Being proactive--and early--saves time and stress as the season's pace quickens.

Take major action against the seasonal time crunch with a pre-season scheduling session. The goal: to arrange for all those little appointments that slip the mind so easily.

Simplify Your Holidays With A Christmas Calendar

christmas calendar

Seldom acknowledged but often felt, time pressure creates a unique stressor during the Christmas season.

Holiday events, school functions and holiday parties crowd December days; service projects, travel and worship activities double. To keep holiday stress at bay, a calendar is a must-have tool for an organized Christmas.

Even if you never rely on a family calendar the other eleven months of the year, December's busy days call for a dedicated calendar for smooth sailing.

Get Organized: Make a Christmas Planner

christmas planner

As we get ready for Christmas, we’ll be making lists (and checking them a lot more than twice!), holding discussions with spouses, children and parents, and drawing up a holiday budget. Too often, we record our plans piecemeal, consigning them to a confused clutter of scrawled envelopes, jotted notes and cryptic calendar entries—none of which make it to the shopping center with us when it’s time to buy gifts.

Organized people keep the results of their work in a central place: a Christmas planner.

Easy to make and easier to use, a Christmas planner cuts through holiday clutter and keeps planning on track. Home to lists and recipes, calendars and gift ideas, this simple tool is the architect and source of a serene celebration.

Try these ideas to create and use a Christmas planner: your personal guide to an organized Christmas.

Get Organized: Create A Christmas Planning Center

Christmas planning center

When planning for the holiday season, why try to wing it, on the fly?

Making lists on the go often finds them scattered in your wake, never to be found again.

To stay centered as you plan the holidays and get into the seasonal swing in comfort, find a place in your home to create an activity center devoted to Christmas planning.

A dedicated spot to make gift lists lists and track menus keeps holiday planning on track.

Ready ... or Not?

Ready for Christmas?

Are we ready to get organized for Christmas?

It's the traditional opening greeting of the Christmas Countdown. Problem is, each year when I ask the question, I have to remind myself to duck!

I've seen it happen year after year: we careen into the first day of the Countdown saying to ourselves, "It can't possibly be time to prepare for the holidays!"

For many of us, the coming of the holiday season brings a feeling of panic in its wake--and I am not one whit different.

Seasonal Storage Tip: Make a Holiday Stragglers Box

Holiday Stragglers Box

Christmas has come and gone ... or has it?

Lights are stored, the tree is down, and holiday decor rests in boxes in the storage area, waiting for next year.

Then you turn the corner and spot an overlooked Santa, shining on top of the piano.

In the refrigerator, the holiday butter dish hides the last remnants of a stick of butter. Holiday linens, napkins and kitchen towels pop up in the laundry area this week, next week and the week after.

Post-Holiday Debriefing: Get Organized for Next Christmas

Get organized for next year

It's over for another year!

Wild and woolly or sane and sedate, we've passed through the holiday season and into a new year. Breath caught, it's time to debrief.

You know debriefing, right? The astronauts do it, spies do it, pilots do it: a measured after-the fact evaluation of the mission or flight.

Smart holiday planners should do it, too--because taking time now to note what worked, what didn't will be a road map to a more organized Christmas next year.

Organized Christmas? Five Tips to Get Ready For Next Year

next Christmas

It's the day after Christmas, and every year at this time, the e-mails in my inbox tell the story: "I wish I'd found this site earlier!"

Each year, I hear from scores of readers who came looking for holiday help at the height of the celebration-and faced with the reality of Christmas chaos.

Stumbling over our site, they see that it's possible to be organized--and joyous--during the holidays. They just wish they'd found us earlier!

So say you're starting now, the day after Christmas. What's the secret to a stress-free season? Plan ahead!

Control Christmas Tree Clutter with an Under-Tree Storage Box

christmas clutter

Christmas is a time of cheer ... and clutter! You'll find Christmas clutter lining each box and storage bin as you pull out holiday decorations.

An ornament box spills over with hanging hooks and zip ties. The tiny red-tipped light bulbs you need to make light strands blink. Special tools and assembly sheets for your "nevergreen" artificial tree. The dandy gun-shaped light tester, complete with instructions and replacement bulbs. Left to their own devices, they scatter around the house, never to be found when you need them--but popping up to haunt you right into the new year.

How to bring order to Christmas clutter? An under-tree storage box.

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