Day 1: Get Organized

Take Inventory

Do you have enough wrapping paper? Ribbons? Gift tags? Christmas cards and stamps? Do you need to replace any decorations? Do you have enough serving platters for the big Christmas party you’re hosting? 

What about all the food you’ll be cooking in the next few weeks? Create a list of the things you usually make, or things you would like to make, and then take an inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer.

Cook It Forward

Do you have things for quick dinners on the go? If you’re up to it, go ahead and freeze some doubles when you have time. You know they’ll come in handy on busy December nights.
You may also want to consider preparing that special Christmas dinner ahead of time and freezing it. For LDS Living’s delicious make-ahead menu, complete with turkey, side dishes, rolls, and desserts to serve 12 people, click here.

Set up a Wrapping Station

Find a nook or cranny with a little bit of privacy and storage space—it might be a walk-in closet, a corner of the basement, or even the laundry room. Gather all of your wrapping materials there: paper, bows, tape, scissors, bags, and ribbon. Try to wrap gifts the same day you purchase them, or set aside time for weekly wrapping sessions. That way, you won’t be feverishly wrapping presents until 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve. 

Prep for Guests

Schedule a few hours for a cleaning session the day before guests arrive. Organize linens (sheets, towels, washcloths). Make sure you have supplies to accommodate any special needs, such as a gluten-free diet. By checking with guests ahead of time, you’re less likely to be taken by surprise. (“Oh, I thought you knew we were bringing our two dogs.”)

Involve Others

It’s easy to try to do everything yourself so it is done just the way you’d like. But involving family members and delegating responsibilities can make holiday planning a fun family activity that teaches kids how to organize and how to be a good host or hostess. Let them help decorate for a party, help with the cooking, or help deliver neighbor gifts. Assign your husband to make a trip to the post office.

Think Outside the Box

Look at your planning carefully and consider what could be moved. What would happen if you sent a Happy New Year letter instead of a Christmas card? Is the week before Christmas really the best time to have a party? What if you had an “after Christmas” party instead? That way you wouldn’t be competing with everyone else’s festivities. You could even hold a potluck dinner where everyone brings holiday leftovers.
Organize for Next Year

After the holidays are over and you begin taking down the decorations, look at everything with a discerning eye. Don’t let unwanted or broken ornaments find their way back into the storage bins. If you hate it, give it away. If it’s broken, throw it away. And carefully label boxes so you aren’t digging around for things next year. 


What's your biggest holiday headache, and what do you do to handle it?
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