Create checklists, cheat sheets, and tracking forms
boonchoke/Shutterstock We all know about writing to-do lists and while this can be helpful what can be even more helpful is creating reference lists you can use year after year. Write them out this year, then store them with the decorations at the end of the season, and you’ll have a guide for future holiday seasons. (You may want to check out these 50 tips for staying organized year round.) Not sure where to start or which list to make first? Try one of these ideas:
Gift cheat sheet: No more stressing out wondering if you bought the right size; make a note of clothing and jewelry sizes, preferred colors, and favorite sports teams for the people on your gift list.
Online purchase tracking form: Start a sheet to track all your online purchases. Make a note of what you ordered, from where, and when it is due to arrive. One glance at your form and you’ll know what you are still waiting for and if it is overdue to arrive.
“Find-it” checklist: This guide to holiday gear will help you avoid the last-minute stress of finding something you own—but may not remember where you put it. Simply make a list of things to track down in advance, like the oversized serving platter, extra food storage containers for leftovers, table linens, the dining table leaf to extend the table for guests—and check out these tips for making seating charts—folding chairs, special outfits you’ll wear, and any gifts you may have purchased early and put aside. Avoid stressful, last-minute dashes to the store by plotting out your recipes, list the ingredients, then check your pantry so you don’t start making your signature cookie only to realize you are out of ground cinnamon.
Capitalize on your calendar
Nerthuz/Shutterstock Entering an event is just the beginning of how to best use your calendar. Stress-proof your holiday season by taking time now to add in other dates. First, pencil in anything you have committed to or purchased tickets to attend; then add in all the non-holiday events like birthdays. Next, look over all the events that require you do something, like bringing a gift or baking a treat, add in a reminder a few days before each event to keep them from creeping up on your unexpectedly. Schedule necessary appointments, like a salon or barber appointment, a rug cleaning, dog grooming, manicure and look over the dates to see if you need a pet or babysitter. Don’t forget to pencil in holiday tasks like a wrapping gifts, baking, cooking, and grocery shopping—just be sure you don’t shop on this day. If you don’t block off the time then the time might not be there for you to get these things done. Finally, set aside few hours for yourself throughout the month; this spare time will be valuable for catching up on things or simply stopping to enjoy a cup of cocoa.