christmas dinner

Reduce your mental holiday clutter

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When people think about staying organized over Christmas, more often than not they focus on physical clutter, like organizing presents and decorations. However, over the busy holiday season, people can develop mental clutter that can make it difficult to truly enjoy the season. Many people have a lot to do over the holidays in addition to their regular jobs or tasks – there’s visits with family and friends, holiday parties, gift shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, and plenty of other obligations. This holiday season take some time to organize your mental clutter to avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

 

Remember: you’re not in this alone

If you’re hosting a meal for family and friends, don’t think that you have to do everything yourself. Ask your guests to pitch in and help with the meal by bringing a side dish or beverages so you don’t have as much to do. Cooking a turkey and bringing it as a guest can be difficult, but if you handle the turkey, it is easy for someone else to bring a salad or vegetable. Desserts and appetizers are also easy to delegate to other guests.

 When you’re assigning items for guests to bring, be sure to write down what each person is bringing so you or another guest don’t accidentally make the same thing or forget to bring a dish. Make sure you know what everyone is bringing, and if they will need to heat up their dish or keep it in the fridge until the meal is served. This way, you can plan your own dishes accordingly.

 

Change your gifting habits

A lot of mental stress during the holidays comes from having to buy gifts for your friends, family members and co-workers. Not only is it difficult to come up with ideas, but shopping can be very time-consuming and financially draining. Consider reducing your gift consumption without sacrificing the fun of giving and receiving gifts. Instead, try drawing names for “Secret Santa” or hosting a gift exchange with a lower budget. This way, everyone still gets a gift, but you won’t have to spend the same amount of time or money.  

Gifts don’t have to be expensive, and they don’t have to be a tangible object either. Consider going out for a nice meal with friends instead of buying each other gifts or take a loved-one to an activity or performance. These “clutter-less” gifts don’t have to be enjoyed during the holiday season either – they can wait until sometime in the New Year, so you aren’t scrambling to fit everything in December. Postponing your gifts will also help keep your spending down during the holidays.

 

Take time to relax

There may be a lot you want to do over the holidays, but it is important to make sure to do set time aside to relax and spend time with friends and family. Plan on meeting with friends for lunch or set aside time for after-work drinks. If you really want to relax, a trip to the salon for a quick pedicure or manicure with friends might also be a good way to unwind. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time but getting together can be a great way for you to take a break while spending time with your loved ones over the holidays. Finding time to get together can be more special than just sending them a gift.

 

Purchase supplies ahead of time

It’s not too early to start purchasing your groceries for the holiday meal. Start looking for sales on cranberry sauce, condiment spreads, crackers, pickles, and other non-perishable foods. Turkeys, hams and other meats and fish can also be purchased in advance and frozen – just be sure to give yourself enough time to safely defrost them before preparing. Some desserts and baked goods can also be made up ahead of time. You can start baking simple bars, dessert squares and cookie dough now and freeze them. Whenever you have people over or need a dessert, you can simply pull them out of the freezer before the meal, so they are ready to go when you need them.

 

It can be hard to have fun over the holidays when mental clutter is weighing you down. Take time to relax over the holidays and make visiting family and friends a priority. Do what you can ahead of time but remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own. Giving gifts is a popular holiday tradition, but it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time or money. With these simple steps, you can enjoy the holiday season!  

Eliminate your holiday meal stress!

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Hosting a Christmas meal can be exhausting and expensive. A lot of preparation goes into planning a menu, buying the ingredients, and putting each dish together the day of. Then, there is always a home to clean, a table to set, and beverages to be put together as well! This makes the holidays tiring and stressful, and doesn’t let the host enjoy the meal with family and friends.

Planning early or making a schedule only goes so far – a lot of work must still be done the day of, and a lot of the stress cannot be avoided. However, if you’re hosting a holiday meal, consider lightening your load by assigning others to bring a dish!

Just because you are hosting the meal, doesn’t mean you should be afraid to ask for help. Side dishes like casseroles or vegetables are easy for others to bring and quickly heat once they arrive. You can also ask some of your guests to bring one or more desserts. If your aunt makes the best green bean casserole, or your sister has time to make a dessert, don’t be afraid to ask them to contribute to the meal. Beverages or appetizer dishes are also easy to assign to others.

Allow yourself to enjoy the meal by taking some of the load off of your feet. Many of your guests will be happy to help and contribute to the meal. To prevent people from bringing the same item, or bringing a dish that doesn’t fit with the meal, consider delegating a specific dish or giving each guests a couple of options to choose from. This way, you will still have control over the menu and dishes, but won’t have to prepare everything yourself. You can also stay more organized the day of by confirming with each guests a couple of days before whether or not they will need to heat anything in the oven or microwave, so you can plan your own cooking.

Make the holidays more enjoyable this year, and spend time with your family and friends. Too often, hosts spend most of their time organizing menus, shopping for ingredients, and preparing turkeys, and don’t get to visit with their loved ones. There is only so much organizing you can do beforehand – the only way to really cut down on stress is to eliminate some of the tasks that need to be done for the meal. Get your guests to help and bring a dish of their own, or even dessert – anything to help you enjoy the meal with them!

This year, have a relaxing an enjoyable holiday!

Get Organized this Holiday Season!

This week is a busy time for many people. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Boxing Day (or Week), New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are all happening within days of each other, and these holidays usually involve parties, family meals, gift giving, family visits, and a whole host of seasonal activities. We’re here to offer some advice on how to stay organized during this busy time!

Keep a calendar

With all of the events and activities going on, it’s important to make sure you have everything written down, either on a physical calendar or in your phone. You can set reminders a couple days before the event so you know what is coming up, like Christmas dinner, and what you need to be doing before that event. If you’re having family over, this is also important so you can make sure the house is clean and the guest bedrooms are ready. This way, you can enjoy time with your family and not have to run around the day of.

Don’t try to do it all

Many people feel pressured to squeeze in every holiday-themed event or activity that they hear about or get invited to. This should not happen! The holidays are supposed to be a time to relax with friends and family, the keyword being relax. The holidays don’t have to be stressful unless you make them stressful. Sometimes, it’s best to say no to some people and arrange to meet them before or after the holidays in a time that works best for your schedule. December, especially the week before Christmas, should not be the time that everyone tries to get together. It’s okay to say no – it may be that your friends and family are going through the same thing!

Leave some time to relax

The holiday season is notorious for being stressful (see points one and two!) but it doesn’t have to be. Take some time for you to relax – whether it’s at home or with friends and family, as long as it doesn’t involve you feeling stressed or disorganized. Taking this time can help you get back on your feet and assess what needs to be done. It can be easy to forget what’s happening or what needs to be done during this week when you’re constantly moving from one event to the other. Once the week is over and the holidays are done, you’ll be left dealing with all of the other things you may have pushed aside to make room for these activities. Take the time for yourself to re-organize your coming days, relax, and give yourself a break!

Pack ahead of time

For people who are travelling over the holidays or visiting relatives, it’s a good idea to pack as much as you can before you have to travel. This seems like common sense, but it’s easy to put packing off during this time, especially if you’re travelling after Christmas. However, it will make your life easier and more organized if you get as much as you can packed before you have to leave, so that you can enjoy your other holiday events without having to leave early to pack or be rushed to pack the day of. Clothes, shoes, accessories, books, and other items that you don’t use day to day can be packed in your suitcase ahead of time. Toiletry items like toothbrushes and hair accessories can be packed in your travelling bag but left out for you to use. This way, it’s ready to go but still available for you to use before you leave. If you’re travelling by air, it might be a good idea to check-in to your flights online 24 hours in advance, and either print out your boarding tickets or save them on your hand-held device ahead of time.

Once you’re ready to return from your travelling, our Unpack to Organize after Summer Vacation post can help you stay organized before you even get home.

 

Enjoy the holiday season by staying organized and keeping track of what is happening. Cut down on your to-do list if necessary, and make sure you take time for yourself. If you’re travelling, get as much as you can done as early as you can. This week doesn’t have to be stressful if you don’t want it to be!