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Hi everyone, I’m Alli, a slightly distracted, mildly frazzled, always crazy busy with something even when I’m doing nothing, wife and mom. I’m sure many of you can relate to those feelings. I blog over at Scattered Squirrel where I share my scatter-brained approach to everyday living, which usually includes a bunch of printables, time management tips, and ideas for finding systems that work for you – even if you have to think outside the normal box to find them. I am so happy to be here with you all today!
I can’t believe that Christmas is only a few days away. It’s one of my favourite times of the year. Gathering with family and friends; baking and eating lots of yummy treats with my boys; and of course, leaving the structure and schedules aside for a few days. With only four more sleeps until Santa comes, it’s about that time where I tackle the last-minute organizing tasks that will help make the next few days a glorious time of going with the flow and not worrying about anything except getting the turkey in the oven on time. I thought it would be fun to share them with you all in hopes that they help make your Christmas as stress-free as they do mine.
Last Minute Tips for a Stress Free Christmas
Last Minute Organizing Tasks for a Stress-Free Christmas
My goal every year is to try to create a stress-free Christmas to my family. As part of that I try to give our family a bit of a break from routines around the holidays. I like being able to embrace the spontaneity and embrace the fun that is all around us. To be able to do that and not completely lose my mind, I have a few tasks that I do to help make sure I’m preparing us for a successful stress free holiday.
Put Reminders Where You Will See Them
One year I forgot to take the turkey out the freezer. I didn’t remember it until Christmas Eve, and there was no way it was going to thaw in time for Christmas morning. I felt awful. Luck was on our side though, as it happened before my husband started taking over turkey roasting duty, and it turned out that I bought a bird that was supposed to cook from frozen otherwise we would have had toaster waffles and leftovers for Christmas dinner that year. That scare has stayed with me though, so I post reminders for things like that where I can see them.
- on the fridge
- in my planner
- on the family calendar
- on the cook book/recipe file
- on every single shopping or to do list I make from about the 19th on
I leave nothing to chance anymore. I include reminders for anything I don’t want to forget about. Thawing the turkey, pulling out the cookies we made earlier in the month, remembering to start the rolls early, anything that I don’t want to forget.
By creating the reminders early, I no longer have those little nagging thoughts that I’m forgetting something. And if one of thoughts does pop into my head, I can check the list to assure myself I am not forgetting anything.
Last Minute Deep-ish Cleaning
I try to do a good deep cleaning of the house in the middle of December, but with Christmas only a few days away and me wanting to give the family a bit of break from chores and routines I give everything a go-over once more, especially the main living areas and the kitchen. To help make it a little more fun I enlist the help of the entire family with the promise of hot chocolate and holiday goodies when we’re done. We crank on the Christmas carols and try to get through the chores as fast as we can.
Knowing the house has recently been cleaned means I worry less over the next week. It also means we can relax a little on the chore fronts. Which leads me to my next tip.
Make a Holiday Chore Plan
Giving myself and the family permission to not get everything done, doesn’t mean nothing gets done. I can only imagine the mess I would wake up to after the holidays. Instead of leaving it to chance I give everyone a list of holiday chores they are responsible for. It’s a short, necessity only version of their usual tasks. Things like taking out the garbage, dishes, dinner clean up, and helping tidy up the home are usually what we end up with.
Having a plan in place means no one argues and I’m not left trying to coordinate disaster recovery operations on Boxing Day.
Gather the Supplies for a Gift Unwrapping Survival Kit
I wouldn’t say this is crucial, but it sure has helped our family. It doesn’t take a whole lot of work, just gathering items from around the home. In our kit we have:
- fully charged batteries in the sizes we need for toys and other gadgets (we only use rechargeable batteries, so I charge them on the 23rd)
- box cutter (sometimes it’s needed)
- mutli-head screwdriver for those toys that are screwed into the anti-theft packaging
- camera with fully charged battery and spare SD cards
- bandaids (because I usually end up with a nasty paper/box cut or two)
- garbage and recycling bags
I put all that stuff in a little basket and set it on one of our side tables so it’s close at hand on Christmas morning. Then I put our recycling bin somewhere close by where it won’t be in the way. That way cleaning up wrapping paper can be done as we go. I also keep a small garbage can near it for those bits and pieces that can’t be recycled.
Preparing For Christmas Morning
Taking a few minutes the night before to be ready for the morning goes a long way to make Christmas morning run smoothly. While the kiddos are putting out milk and cookies I’m prepping the coffee maker for the morning and setting out bowls and cereal on the table so they can grab a quick breakfast when they get up. The rule in our house is no one is allowed to wake up Mom and Dad until at least 6 am, at which time they can go downstairs and grab some cereal and open their stockings. That usually give us enough time to get up and get some coffee in us before the real fun starts. We don’t have a traditional Christmas breakfast. Some years we do brunch, others are cinnamon buns. Either way I prep what I can the night before so I can be in and out of the kitchen quickly Christmas morning.
I started my journey to a more organized life almost 9 years ago, and it still sounds really weird to me to use the words organize and Christmas in the same sentence. It took me a few years to finally understand that taking time to be organized for the holidays doesn’t take away from the magic of the season. Once I understood and embraced that, I realized that it was the exact opposite. Taking the time to get a little more organized for Christmas adds to the joy of the holiday. It makes a big difference in how stress-free our Christmas is. These simple organizing tasks allow me to focus on what really matters spending time with my family and enjoying the season with them, instead of running around trying to get everything done at the last-minute.
I hope that your holiday season is full of wonderful memories, joy filled activities, and is as stress-free as possible.
Happy Holidays Everyone!
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