There are so many holiday traditions that I love doing - but some of them can become stressful (or just not available) if I push them to the last minute. I want to be present with my family during the holidays so we can make memories and just soak up the season together.
To have a simpler holiday season, there's some prep work put in the months before. Here are 5 things I do in October and early November to have a less-stressful and more organized holiday season.
How to Have a More Organized Holiday Season - Things I Do Early
1. Schedule Family Photos and Order Holiday Cards
We typically schedule our family photos for the first week in October. This usually means I get the pictures back by the end of October and can order my holiday cards. Even without our final picture ready, I can design and pick out our cards, update any mailing addresses and start ordering labels. Sending and receiving holiday cards is one of my favorite traditions, but if I leave it to the last minute, it can add stress to the busy season.
2. Purchase Cute Wrapping Paper
I like having coordinating wrapping paper. Sometimes I have different wrapping for each kid, or I just have 2-3 prints that all coordinate together. I also like to get some special wrapping paper for presents from "the big guy" and hide that away. Cute, quality wrapping can sell out quickly so I always check this off my list in October. My favorite wrapping paper is from Merry Market.
3. Order Matching Holiday Pajamas
With a family of 6 in all sizes, it's hard to find matching pajamas last minute - all of the cutest ones are usually sold out. Most stores release their holiday prints in early October, so it's a great time to guarantee you'll get all the sizes you need.
4. Plan Our Family Experience
One of our kids' major gifts for Christmas is an experience that the whole family gets to do together during the season. Sometimes we stay in a hotel downtown for a night, other years we've gone to a play or a special holiday event like going on the Polar Express. We like to get this booked and on the calendar for the season before tickets get sold out.
5. Organize Gifts
I haven't always been an organized gift giver, but in the past few years, I've created a great system that works for me. If you're a collector of gifts and a deal shopper like I am, follow these tips.
All year long, I keep a note on my phone of wishlists for each family member. When their birthdays and Christmas roll around, I can see if it's something they still want or need. Doing this gives me a foundation instead of just coming up with gift ideas on the fly.
I start my holiday shopping as early as August so it helps with budgeting. By keeping a list of what each child wants or needs, I can buy something as soon as it goes on sale during pre-holiday promotions.
When I grab those gifts from the store or they come in the mail, I inventory them on a list on my phone. I also have a bin set up for each kid, so as I buy something, it goes into their secret bin that I have hidden away from little eyes. I pull from this bin to start wrapping once Thanksgiving rolls around because I try to have all my shopping done by then!
What do you do to make a stress-free holiday season? I'd love to see your ideas!
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Jen Martin is the founder of Reset Your Nest, Utah's premier home organization business. At Reset Your Nest we believe pantries should be just as beautiful as living spaces, and living spaces just as functional as pantries. To schedule a free consultation with Reset Your Nest, click HERE. Make sure to subscribe to the Reset Your Nest blog for new posts in your inbox, and follow Reset Your Nest on Instagram for organizational tips and tricks.