I love, capital L-O-V-E, love this time of year. It warms my heart and starts the celebration of family season. In North Carolina, the leaves would have already started to turn, the State Fair would not be far off and bundling up started to become a must. I’m actually jealous of my husband’s fishing tournament today up in our So Cal mountains because it was sweater and fireplace weather. I adore seeing all the houses dawn their festive wear be it creepy spooky Halloween or cheery festive lights and happy décor that comes with Christmas.
But if you are anything like me, this is also when the schedule starts jumping into hyper drive with things to get done and commitments. And try to enjoy the joy of the season can sometimes turn to hurry up and get through the season. I get it. I’ve been there and sometimes will visit on occasion. When schedules include my son’s basketball practices which totally mess up family dinners, basketball games and tournaments, doctors’ appointments, multiple holiday parties and everything else we can manage to squeeze in our busy days, its easy to get overwhelmed.
I always say the easiest way to handle being overwhelmed is by having a plan that you attack one bite, I mean bit, at a time. Here’s what I do:
Make a Schedule – General and Specific
First I have an overall master schedule that I can look at each year and second, I fill in the specifics of each year in my calendar. For example:
Last weekend in August I develop my specific schedule for the three months of holidays and determine budget for any new décor items I want to buy or make for each holiday.
Last two weeks of September, begin making or purchasing items I want to add to Halloween décor.
Last weekend in September, pull out Halloween décor. Decorate over that week as per the decoration plan (explained below).
First week of October determine if having Halloween gathering or going elsewhere. If doing a get-together at my home, create plan and send out invites.
First weekend of November, “tear down” Halloween, put up Thanksgiving décor and check out Halloween clearance.
Second week of November, begin Thanksgiving plan if making dinner or having at our place. Start making the Christmas décor I planned to create. Start looking for bargains on items I wish to buy.
Black Friday and Weekend, shop early bird specials for DIY supplies and any presents not already purchased. Begin decorating house for Christmas. Schedule parties planning to hold for Christmas.
Add events to calendar as they come in so I can avoid overbooking.
Shop for gifts as I see them starting minimum in September (I actually will do this all year long but I pick it up in September). Make a list each year of what was purchased or made as gift so I don’t repeat in following years.
I take this Master Schedule and then each year I will schedule the specifics around known events in my calendar. Then these become like any other appointment. I’m more apt to keep them.
Establish a Budget
Budgets keep me in check. Its like the invisible cop or guard standing on my shoulder telling me to watch my spending. I establish spending budgets for holiday parties and meals, gift buying and creating or purchasing new décor items.
Inventory What You Have
Often times I would see something I adored, bought it, often painstakingly took it home only to discover I already had something similar or even the exact same thing. By taking an inventory of what I had helped control my impulse spending. Not only do I do décor items but I also do glasses, plates, silverware, etc. It allows me to truly shop for what I need and not just Oh that’s so cool standard of purchasing.
Make a Plan/Layout
One of my major time killers was decorating as I had to figure out what goes where each year. So I in the past I made a layout so I would know for the next year. And I will be doing one this year. I would update it ever three to five years as you accumulate new items and get rid of older ones.
Have a Pack Away System
This may seem like overkill but I have multiple Halloween boxes and a bounty of Christmas boxes. I would struggle each year to figure out what went where when it came to put things back in their boxes. That was until I had a brilliant idea…A Pack Away System.
As I packed the box, I wrote a detailed list of what went in each box, labeled the box and then labeled the box with a unique number. In the end I had a master list. Say I only needed red and green ornaments. I knew exactly which box had them and didn’t have to search.
General tip, label the boxes “Box 1”, “Box 2”, etc. instead of putting the list on the box. Things change. You get new stuff, get rid of old, etc. Make it easy to adjust your list.
Hope this help keep you in control and therefore in the holidays spirit. Let me know if your are obsessed with this time of year too!