Getting ready for the influx of festivities that accompany the holiday season can be accomplished with a well laid plan. Here are some tips that will be helpful in preparing for a most wonderful and meaningful time of the year.

  1. Prioritize – Set Manageable Expectations

Take some time to set realistic and manageable expectations bearing in mind that it is a holiday “season” not just one day and activities can be spread out to help lessen stress and increase the enjoyment shared by all. Make a priority list of your most important events and activities for you and your family.

  1. Purge

This first step can relieve the anxiety and lack of focus that cluttered spaces can cause. Donate the gently used items in your home that are no longer being used to a local charity. Doing so will open up space for the incoming, while donating items will bless someone else in need.

Starting now you can:

  • Clean out refrigerator and pantry well before it’s time to do holiday cooking; non-perishables that you won’t use could be donated to a food pantry.
  • Declutter kids’ rooms and find things to discard or donate. This might be a new holiday tradition of choosing gently used toys to donate to a shelter. Get the kids involved.
  • Refresh the guest room and bathrooms that might be used by guests during holiday parties.
  • Make the master suite a refuge for during the busy holiday season.
  • Clean out coat closet and make space for guest coats. (Consider donating any coats that have been outgrown or replaced to a shelter)
  • Clean out a closet or space for gifts, wrapping paper, etc., as you buy them. Ideally, setting up a gift-wrapping station where you have everything you need at hand to wrap gifts would be a huge bonus this time of year.
  1. Meal Plan

As the hustle and bustle of the season gets in full swing, the extra activities can make for rushed dinner times that often involve fast food and take out. To alleviate the extra steps of making dinner every night, consider putting a meal plan in place and making some meals ahead of time. Storing them in the freezer for an easy defrost, heat, and go healthy meal.

  1. Prepare cookies

Going along with the meal planning theme, cookies and cookie dough are perfect for preparing beforehand because either baked or unbaked dough can be frozen for later use. The added benefit of having pre-made cookie dough on hand in advance allows you the opportunity to be the home that always has fresh out of the oven cookies on hand!

  1. Make a list (and Check It Twice)

An important part to being organized is creating a holiday season to-do list. Include everything from mailing out cards to making cranberry sauce. Everything you need to buy/do should be on your list. This helps to stay focused ensuring the important tasks of the season do not get lost in the busyness that we all experience this time of year.

  1. Out of the Box Giving

Consider a year of giving service instead of giving gifts. How much would your neighbor or grandparents love a promise of a shoveled driveway or lawn mowed? It’s been said that the most precious gift given is the gift of time. Setting up lunch or coffee dates into the new year with a friend or family member who is often alone will allow the spirit of the holiday season to keep giving throughout the year.

  1. Set some time aside for yourself!

The responsibilities of your family’s holiday celebrations should not rest on your shoulders alone. Share the load. Create some space during the holidays for you to recharge your own batteries.