The art of organizational management incorporates the same principals and processes regardless of the project at hand. Holidays are unique in that beyond organizing spaces, we must also consider organizing our time management, our holiday calendars, the project management of hosting dinner parties or office events and gift buying. The list goes on.

We can barely start the month of September without being reminded that the holidays are quickly approaching. Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Christmas items appear on store shelves across the nation. It is a constant reminder, and for some of us a stressor, that the holidays are right around the corner. A season that is both joyful and stressful and full of good tidings while at the same time filled with numerous projects and activities to manage. Don’t despair, help is on the way.  By following these tips, you can reduce your stress and maintain an organized holiday season.


Planning Ahead

We cannot stress this enough. Make sure to give yourself enough time and realize that time is finite. Start as early as possible when planning menus, gift buying, decorating, etc. In general lists are your friend. Make lists of everything – gifts, cards, groceries, etc. This will put things into perspective and afford a better idea of all the things that need to be accomplished. The joy of making lists is being able to check off completed items from the list. As items are checked off, it creates momentum to move forward and to do and accomplish more.

Meal Planning

Plan holiday menus early. Once the list of ingredients is created, double check your pantry and refrigerator to avoid making duplicate purchases. Anything that isn’t perishable can be purchased early. Prep any items that can be frozen ahead of time.  Plan out time to purchase the balance of the items just ahead of cooking. It may also be helpful to plan a few freezer dinners for the busiest nights during the holiday bustling when there may not be time to cook.


If you are anything like us, the holidays are among our favorites and decorating as early as possible pleases the heart. Consider using Thanksgiving weekend to start the decorating process. Regardless of when you decorate set aside the time to do just that. Depending on how elaborate you are with your decorating, it could take hours or even days to complete. Plan when to pull them all out and what to do with them – a few simple pieces here and there or a giant display to win the neighborhood best decorated house contest. Either way will take time, so plan, plan, plan.

Calendaring Events

This time of year brings the added stress of overfilled schedules. School assemblies, volunteering, shopping, cooking, hosting and worship services all increase dramatically making it a challenge to manage in our heads. Even if you don’t keep a calendar the rest of the year, taking the time now to calendar thru the New Year will prove vital to a successful, stress-free season. It will prevent common holiday pitfalls such as overbooking and ensure planned attendance at priority events.

Managing Gift Wrapping

Create a temporary wrapping and gift station on a foldable table in the corner of a little used room. Collect purchased gifts and wrap them as they arrive. Often a gift goes missing before we’ve had the opportunity to present it to the recipient. To avoid an all day gift wrapping marathon wrap gifts as they come in and store them under the table along with the wrapping supplies.

Saving Money

The holidays are expensive enough without spending extra money on items already owned or that were damaged due to poor planning.

  • Store lights properly so there is no need to re-buy every year.
  • Take inventory of wrapping supplies, linens and pantry supply before heading out to the store to prevent duplicate purchases.
  • Avoid storing candles that can melt in a warm storage location.
  • Be mindful of storing items that have food attached like children’s artwork as those little pieces can attract critters that love to nestle in and damage holiday treasures.
  • To help with the cost of the holidays, consider put money away monthly over the course of the year for these expenses; creating automatic deposit to a holiday fund through your primary bank account is a painless alternative. Before you know it the next year’s holiday expenses will be covered; no more hefty year end credit card bills or feeling badly because of the holiday budget was depleted on decorations before all gifts for family member or even yourself were purchased.

Creating a Year To Year System That Works

Once the holidays have come to an end, it’s time to pack all the wonderful decorations anew for another year. The best way to do this is to have the appropriate storage items. There are storage systems for every possible scenario, from the entire tree and ornaments to lights and wrapping stations. They are everywhere. If your decoration setup this year’s was one to be remembered and replicated, plan ahead. Take photos, actually print them out and pack them along with the decorations. That way it is clear exactly what goes where.

Most importantly, enjoy the holiday season.

Top Tips To Keep Your Holidays Under Control

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