1. Christmas Binder Relieves Christmas Binder
In 2005 Anita Cramer shared the idea of creating a holiday binder to keep up with all the lists and ideas. Taking her advice, I put together a binder and have been pleased with the organization it has brought for two years. Going a step further, I include all the events my family celebrates throughout the year. I call the binder my “special occasions” book. Now I feel organized and can quickly pinpoint a gift idea, card list, or party menu without tearing the house apart. And better yet, I have a place to put ideas and recipes that I compile during the year. My special occasions book is a 3-ring binder purchased at Wal-Mart. Sections are divided with tabs and include: Thanksgiving, Christmas Decorating, Gift List, Christmas Card List, Homemade Goodies, Recipes / Menus, Christmas Parties, New Year, Valentine, Easter, 4th of July, Birthdays, and Mother’s / Father’s Day. I use plastic page protectors to house pages torn from magazines, recipes, and gift receipts. The tabs and page protectors can also be found at Wal-Mart.
2. A Place for Everything
While unpacking Christmas decorations, Kristie Markham packs up her home decor items that are not needed during the holidays. By packing the household items into the empty Christmas boxes, items will not get damaged. Also, it will speed up Christmas clean-up as regular decor items will be readily at hand when packing up decorations.
3. Right on Schedule
Take 30 minutes, sit down with your calendar and plan December events. To reduce stress levels, write in scheduled time for yourself and your family. Mark your calendar for the fun occasions you do not want to miss with your family.
4. More Food, Less Work
Now is the season to be busy, busy, busy and having time to fix supper gets even harder. Plan meals that can be easily doubled for dinner, such as chili and spaghetti — and mini meatloafs (just cook the meatloaf mixture in muffin pans). Loi’s Taco Soup recipe makes a large pot that is perfect for freezing and goes well with Spoonbread. Just making one meal a week that is doubled will give you a meal for next week. That saves time, money, and energy. For some easy recipes, visit the Recipe Box.
5. What’s for Dinner?
Whether you’ll be hosting a party or just planning a Christmas dinner, make your menus now. On day 7 of the 12 Days of Christmas series you will receive a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menu.
6. Gift Wrapping Station
Set up an area that can be gift wrapping central. Over-the-door shoe hangers work great for organizing ribbon, bows, tissue, tape, scissors, etc. I have one I purchased a few years back on clearance that looks like a shoe hanger but is made for gift wrapping. It is two-sided with divided pockets on the front for small items and one large pocket on the bag for rolls of wrapping paper.
7. House Cleaning 101
Clean the house thoroughly now and then maintain it through the holidays. Ronda Riley, owner of a cleaning service, says that many people think that everything has to be perfectly clean at all times. But Ronda says that cleaning ceiling fans, blinds, and baseboards does not have to be done every week. Do normal cleaning weekly but add one additional item. If you’ve cleaned this week, maintain it through next week and clean deeper the following week. ( It helps to keep a notepad or computerized list of all the household chores. Get the extra feeling of accomplishment as you mark off what you’ve accomplished and have a reminder of what needs to be done the next time.) If you paid a cleaning service to clean every other week you would get the same results. If you have the extra money, consider hiring someone to clean before the holidays. Let them do those extra jobs that are bugging you. To get the house in order, remind family members of their individual responsibilities. Have rules for the kids: before going to bed, their rooms must be picked up.
8. Check Shipping Charges
Don’t get caught in a bind needing a package shipped immediately and finding yourself paying top-dollar. Redroller.com quotes prices for Eastern Connections, DHL, Overnite Express, and U.S. Postal Service. Iship.com gives pricing for FedEx, DHL / Airborne UPS, and the Post Office.
9. Hire a Helper
From addressing Christmas cards to wrapping presents, a teen helper can be a sanity-saver during Christmas–and the teen can earn Christmas gift-giving funds.
10. A Season of Prayer
Staying organized during Christmas is a job in itself. The answer to all the scheduling, cleaning, and organizational issues is spending time in prayer. At the beginning of each day, take a moment to pray and spend time in the Word. With four children, my Bible time varies daily. Usually it is around 9 AM after the older children are in school and I’ve gotten the kitchen cleaned up from breakfast. Some days prayer and Bible reading time are while I’m in carline. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord can take a day in which I have more to do than waking hours and, by His direction, allow me to get everything done in record time. Make prayer and reading God’s Word a daily priority–that’s really the best organizational tip for Christmas or any other season.