Truth be told, I really and truly can’t stand all of the Holiday Checklists/To-do’s/Spreadsheets that come out at this time of year. I know I am a Professional Organizer and am supposed to love all things organized but these lists actually make me have a physical reaction when I read them. Maybe it’s anxiety (“oh snap – I hadn’t even thought to put #34 on my list!”). Maybe it’s stress (“how will I ever find the time to get all of these things done?!”). Maybe it’s the peer pressure (“you mean everyone else does all of these amazing things for their loved ones, homes and pets?!”).
With that being said, what kind of Professional Organizer would I be if I didn’t offer you my own spin on a Holiday Checklist? I’ve put together some thoughts, advice and resources that when I read them I actually find them helpful rather than having a mild panic attack. Hope these little tidbits help you to clear your holiday outer and calm your holiday inner…
- Manage Expectations – let’s be honest, no matter how much we know that we shouldn’t expect “the perfect holiday”, we all hold onto that glimmer of hope that this may actually be the year. It’s good to have hope and be optimistic … the problem lies in the fact that every family member has a different definition of “the perfect holiday”. So kick off your holiday season with a family meeting in which every member of the family shares one or two things that would float their holiday boat. Write them down, put them on the fridge and read them a couple times a week. You might just be surprised how everyone steps up and works together to meet each other’s expectations.
- Holiday Cards – isn’t it amazing how beautiful and creative some of the cards are that you receive? Friends put a lot of thought into these cards and I really love looking at them during the holiday season. I honestly feel bad when it’s time to pitch them in January. I recently saw the great idea on Pinterest of using your phone to take a picture of the photo on the card and using it as your contact picture for that person.
- ‘Tis the Season for Tipping – ugh, how stressful is it trying to figure out not only who you need to tip but also how much is appropriate? It gives me holiday brain freeze because I so want to show the appreciation I feel for all of those people who make my life so much easier. However if I were to tip all of them what I truly believe they are worth I would break the bank. Thankfully, those always-on-the-ball writers at Real Simple have compiled a pretty comprehensive and realistic guide for us to use.
- Hostess Gifts – I am always grateful for the families who open up their homes during the craziest time of the year to fill us with food, drink and holiday cheer. Bringing a bottle of wine, a candle or some fancy soap always seems so inadequate and really doesn’t express how happy I am to be part of their celebration. I did a little research to find some unique and heartfelt hostess gifts that I am going to give a try this holiday season…
- A “Morning-After” Basket – fill it with a special holiday coffee blend, ingredients for Bloody Mary/Mimosas or such, some muffins/scones/banana bread, a CD mix with peppy music so they can get their groove on while cleaning up.
- A Holiday Cheer Basket – pick a favorite holiday drink and create a basket with all the necessary ingredients and some fun, holiday glassware (click here for a little inspiration)
- If you are creative, make a beautiful flower arrangement in a special vase that she can keep and think of you every time she uses it.
- If none of these ideas grab you, check out these additional ideas at Such the Spot blog
- The Elf on the WHAT?? – for those of you with young kids who have that infamous Elf on the Shelf you know what I’m talking about. The kids adore him and the behavior results are worth it, but it seems that there are two definite and distinct camps of parents when it comes to the Elf. If you want to have a little fun with your Elf check out this list of creative ideas.
However if you happen to live in one of those homes with a lazy Elf who forgets to relocate every night, you might enjoy this point of view .
Well, there they are – my contributions to the Holiday Checklist. Hope the only physical reaction you had was a smile and a surge of inspiration.
Kristin Van Dusen is a professional organizer and owner of Wayne-based Design and Conquer, www.designandconquerllc.com.