Getting Organized for the Holidays {Part 1–Getting Ahead}

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Easy ways to get organized for the holidays ahead of time this year. Save stress, prepare and be ready when Christmas arrives!

 

Christmas is suddenly less than FOUR weeks away. Which is so exciting, but also stress-inducing for most of us moms. I know in my home I carry the full weight of the holiday prep along with everything else that I am tasked with day to day. Sure, my husband is great at setting up the tree and putting the lights up outside but since I truly enjoy the wrapping, baking, shopping and decorating most of that falls {by choice} to me. He likes to remind me that he is always fine with eating off paper plates on a daily basis, as you can tell low-maintenance really only applies to only one of us 🙂

You may have already read here on the blog that this year I was determined to not find myself in the frantic, last-minute rush that has characterized the last few Christmases for me {which consequently followed with health issues from overdoing it starting December 26th}, so I worked WAY ahead of time this year to develop The 2016 Holiday Planner. This is just a simple collection of worksheets that enables you to plan ahead to accomplish what needs to be done in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This way when the holiday rolls around, you can find the time to actually enjoy it! Sound good?

Over the next few days I’ll be sharing some ways to get ahead for the holidays this year, starting this week because the clock is ticking! Even if you aren’t a planner/list making type of person, knocking out a few tasks each week will save you so much stress during those last few days leading up to the holidays, so some of these ideas might be useful.

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GIFT LIST

This is a great time to sit down with a cup of something warm and make a list of everyone you buy for and what you plan to buy. Not only is this good for budgeting but it will help you knock out several gifts at once so you can take advantage of shipping discounts. If you need ideas our Holiday Gift Guides {HERE, HERE and HERE} are available to help you brainstorm. Also, even if you don’t use Amazon enough the rest of the year to justify a Prime membership, you can start a 30-day free trial to get you through the holidays, you can’t beat that for convenience.

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PLAN ENTERTAINING/PARTIES

This is also the time to plan your holiday entertaining. Not only do calendars fill up quickly at this time of year, but you’ll need to get your invitations ordered if you are mailing them, or compile emails to sent out invites electronically.   If you spend a few minutes planning your holiday party now, it will also save you time as you are run around the next few weeks, you can pick up decorations and even some party staples while you are out and about. One less trip to a store at this time of year is one less trip to the store, am I right? Lunch breaks are a great time to knock out errands if you work in an office, and that time is especially valuable at this time of year I know from experience, so pre-planning will help you accomplish as much as you can in a short period of time.

 

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See an easy holiday party idea {Soup & Sweets Party} here.

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

 

 

MENU PLANNING AND FREEZER COOKING

I remember last year in the frantic-ness of the holiday wishing I had spent more time planning our meals in December and more importantly, having some things on hand that could just be heated up on our busiest nights.  This year my goal is to get ahead and make and freeze several dinners that we can pull out the nights we have concerts or late rehearsals. It seems those school concerts always do me in–those are the nights we are frantically trying to get out the door, find the right colored clothes and still get the kids fed!  Some of our best recipes that freeze well are Macaroni & Cheese, White Chicken Chili {add cream at the end}, Assorted Soups and if you are really motivated, we have a great post with 25 Freezer Meals you can make ahead for $135!

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If fitting a cooking session isn’t possible time-wise {or interest-wise}, friends of mine swear by meal delivery services like Hello Fresh. I can’t think of a better time to have a few meals ready to be prepped then in December. Have you tried them?  They offer nice introductory discounts so if there is ever a time to try them, I would say it’s now!

Spending a few minutes menu planning is well worth it, as making one trip to the grocery store each week rather than each day or so is such a huge timesaver. I also pay for a month long online grocery subscription service at this time of year. I use Harris Teeter and pay $16 for a month of shopping online, then having the groceries loaded into the car. It is a huge time (and energy) saver, and I also feel like my lists are better organized shopping this way.

 

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HOLIDAY CARDS

If you send holiday cards this is another thing that probably needs to get started this week. If you haven’t arranged photography (if you don’t already have a picture)  you should go ahead and schedule that. We always use Minted {as a former holiday card designer I am so picky, and I think they just have the best ones} and they are having a cyber monday sale today for 20% off which is huge {use code CM2016}. {FYI–The planner has a list where you can keep all your holiday card addresses, this way they are all set for next year too.}

 

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I’ll be back tomorrow with another round of tips and tricks for getting ahead this year. If you are ready to get squared away for your holiday, you can order The 2016 Holiday Planner by clicking the button below to be taken to the online store. I have both the printable version {which will be emailed directly to you ASAP} or a printed version {very limited quantities left} that I will mail out ASAP, both will help you stay focused and on track with your holiday prep for your best holiday ever.

 

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Don’t forget you can also download your FREE Holiday Decorations Planner Worksheet by clicking the button below. Like many of us you may be kicking your decorating into high-gear this week, this will help you get that aspect of holiday prep organized (this is the exact sheet that is in the planner!}.

Click Here for your FREE Holiday Decor Planner Worksheet

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Finally, we are so excited that we will be co-hosting the 12 Days of Holiday Homes Tour this year. It will start this Friday, December 2nd and continue each day for 12 days showcasing beautifully decorated homes from some of our favorite bloggers. Then on December 13th we’ll be having a link party so you can show off your holiday home! It is the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it?

 

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Thanks for stopping by!

XO,

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Our posts contain affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, we will earn a small commission, which helps to keep our content free.  You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise, since that would be tacky! Please see our full disclosure policy here.

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