Cooking. Shopping. Decorating. Hosting. The holiday to-do list can
easily be overwhelming. Don't burn your holiday candles at both ends; prevent
burnout with careful preparation. Doing so will save you time and money and put
the merry back into the season.
Make Your List,
Check it Twice: Grab a binder or notebook and list all that needs to get
done. Plan your menus and recipes and create shopping lists. Ditto for
gift-buying and card sending. List it all, making wallet sized versions for
when you're out and about. This way you can remember who you need to buy for
and what's already been purchased. Sticking to lists helps prevent costly
impulse purchases and unneeded duplicates. At the end of the season, store the
notebook with holiday decorations to pull out the following year for an easy
Time Blocking for
Stress Reduction: The holidays require a lot of "elving" time before the
fun begins. Take your planner and schedule time for shopping, wrapping and
baking. Be sure to pencil in all parties and religious celebrations as well as
any holiday volunteer time. And remember that many hands make work light.
Consider a wine and cheese wrapping night with girlfriends or invite family over
for a day of baking. Finally, be sure to pencil in down time for exercise,
mediation or a simple, restorative nap.
Cards: Stationery makers often offer discounts for early card purchases.
Place an online order now for best prices as well as a head start. Rather than
suffer through a hand-cramping-all-at-once-writing-of-the-cards, take the total
number of cards you are sending and divide by the days remaining to the
holiday. Write the cards during down times such as doctor's office waits or at
the car repair shop. Spread out the cost of cards by purchasing the stationery
one month and stamps the next.
Ease: To save time and money, hit
the computer instead of the malls. Many retailers offer free or reduced
shipping. If you must head to the stores, try to do so early on the weekend or
schedule an after work shopping night when stores are open late. The crowds
will be smaller. Or consider shopping local mom-and-pop merchants who often
offer perks such as free wrapping and helpful customer service. No matter where
you shop, stick to a list to avoid costly impulse purchases.
Cooking: Again, an ounce of preparation prevents a pound of holiday stress.
List-making and early shopping let's you take advantage of money-saving sales
and coupons and will ensure you have all ingredients on hand. Make double and
triple batches in the weeks ahead to freeze. And stick to simple dishes or
consider potluck meals. Spread the work over as many days and (helpers!) as you
Meaning: Before the holidays begin, take time to assess what they mean to you.
Do you value time shopping with friends or baking with your daughter? Is
volunteering at your place of worship the season's highlight? Do you love
taking in a holiday show? This season, say no to what is extraneous and
emphasize what makes the season special to you. Too often our calendars fill
with meaningless activities; this season stick to celebrating what matters most
Wishing you a healthy, happy holiday season!
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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.