Once Thanksgiving arrives, everyone's lives get a little more chaotic. There are holiday concerts and parties coming up and in between are the visits to family, the gift giving and all of the meals.
If you're already feeling a bit overwhelmed, here's a simple strategy to follow, mama.
1. Lay out your plan for the next 6 weeks
Your plan should include:
- A calendar with all the events you and your family are signed up to attend. You might want to color code them by priority. Green could mean "must attend" while red could mean "optional attendance." You want to give yourself some wiggle room for the unexpected. After all, it's only when you are at your busiest that something will happen to throw a wrench into your plans.
- To-do items that aren't date-sensitive, but can't be forgotten in the schedule. This could be making time to go to the Christmas tree farm, if you're getting a fresh tree, or putting up outside decorations. Or, it might be letting extended family know your plans for Christmas morning.
- Gift shopping list, including where you will get each item from. The sooner you can start shopping, the more likely you are to find what you're looking for at the right price and in stock. If you're shopping some Black Friday deals, online or in person, the list can guide you so you're not overspending. If you're hiding gifts from the kids, make sure you note where you put them! There's nothing worse than getting to Christmas Eve and you have no idea where you stashed the presents.
- Meal plan for days that you have friends or family at home. This can mean your own family, too. It's not just about planning the family dinner on a certain holiday, like Thanksgiving or Hanukkah, but also the days before and after. The more you can have at the ready for busy days, the less likely you will be to rely on the local pizza delivery place.
2. Stock up on what you can
Make a list of items you know you use each year and stock up on those. For example, if you burn the cranberry sauce Thanksgiving morning, you'll be glad that you stocked up on two cans of it and have extras handy in the pantry.
Some ideas of what to add to your cart:
- Canned goods
- Wine, beer, drinks and mix
- Wrapping paper, tape and gift bags
- Extra gifts—have a few bottles of wine or chocolates in gift bags handy for that unexpected gift from the neighbor or crossing guard.
- Extras of most-used items, like toiletries or favorite snacks
- Firewood for the fireplace
3. Strategically decorate your home
Making the switch from autumn Thanksgiving decor to holiday mode may leave you scrambling, but it doesn't have to. Ideally, have plastic bins with decorations for each holiday in separate ones so you can put away one set while pulling out the next one, quickly and easily.
They'll also be that much easier to find next year. These can be stored away when they're not being used in a basement closet or storage area, safe and sound. For minimalist mamas, select only your favorite decorations and find ways to incorporate them throughout various holidays.
4. Be realistic when it comes to buying gifts
If you have a large family, you can suggest a Secret Santa method of gifts so your list will be more condensed. But even if you have to buy for everyone, you can plan to get it done in advance.
Leverage online shopping so you don't have to arrange childcare or deal with crowds, or plan to set aside a day that's just for you. Don't overbuy for kids too soon if possible. Kids might change their wish list in the weeks before the holiday. Many mamas found that implementing a three gift Christmas, or an experience gift, can lessen the stress and leave the kids happier.
5. Prepare for gatherings + in-law visits
If you host family or friends during the holidays, get some things done in advance so you're not worrying about them in the moment.
- Have extras of toothbrushes and toiletries
- Set aside guest laundry (towels, sheets, etc.) so you don't have to worry about laundry
- Check with family about allergies or foods that they don't enjoy before you set the menus and buy ingredients
- Make room in closets for extra coats, boots and clothing
- Give yourself a present and have a cleaning service come in and do a thorough job of cleaning the house in the days before your mother-in-law arrives
Originally posted by Modular Closets.