Avoid the Holiday Hustle : Tips to Simplify the Season

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to get overwhelmed and wonder how in the world you are going to get it all done while enjoying the holidays. Now is the ideal time to sit down and look at what you can cross of your list ahead of time in order to reduce your stress later.

Whether you choose to do all or several of these tasks, I can guarantee that each of these tips will free up some physical and mental space in your life so you can make room for the important things. Most of these tasks are relatively easy with minimal time necessary. Tackle them on a day when you have find you have a block of time or add a task a day to your planner. Ready to make this holiday season less stressful?

Begin your menu planning, recipe gathering and grocery list making.

Set aside some time to begin your menu planning and get your grocery lists started. I like to pull out my favorite cookbooks, my trusty recipe binder and do some Pinterest browsing. This free printable is a great place to start.

Clean your oven.

With all the use that your oven will get over the holidays, starting with it clean is so helpful. While it may seem a little counterproductive to clean it before all this use, it will be much easier to clean after the holidays when you have no buildup of grime to contend with. Check out my oven cleaning guide here.

Stock up on your paper products, ziptop bags and leftover containers.

Take stock of what you have on hand and what you need. I like to start the busy season with plenty of paper products (plates, napkins etc.), parchment paper, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, ziptop bags and reusable leftover containers on hand.

Take inventory of your spices and herbs.

This goes hand in hand with your menu planning. It is no fun to find an open grocery store on Thanksgiving when you realize that you are out of that key ingredient. Here’s how I organize our spice cabinet.

Clean your appliances.

It is not as time consuming as you may think and makes such a difference. I like to save this task for week before major holidays. Make the task quicker with this guide.

Stock your freezer with baked goods.

After you have done your menu planning, look at what you can make ahead of time and freeze. I like to get a head start with homemade rolls and quick breads, cookies and other baked goods that can easily be frozen.

Stock up on wrapping paper, tape, gift bags and tissue paper.

Sales have started, grab what you need now and wrap presents as you purchase them to avoid the all at one time wrapping session.

Start on holiday cards now.

I go even easier and use Minted.com (not sponsored) for our holiday cards – we take our family pictures in October and get the holiday cards ordered.  I keep our address book on their website and have them print the addresses and return address on the cards.  It’s a little pricey, but I wait for a coupon code and find that it’s definitely worth it.

Make sure you have enough towels for your guests.

I like to double check our linen closet and make sure that I have enough hand towels, bath towels and wash cloths for all our guests. Here’s how I organized our linen closet for guests. Costco and Target are my favorite sources for inexpensive yet good quality towels.

Clean out your refrigerator and freezer.

This is a task that I like to do on a regular basis and it gets a little extra attention around the holidays. With all the extra food on hand and stocked, it is important to start with a clean and organized refrigerator and freezer. Wondering how to go about this task without getting overwhelmed?  Here’s the best and easiest way to clean them out.

Start now with a task or two and you’ll find that by simply splitting these tasks up you’re drastically reducing your holiday ‘workload’.  After all, this should be a sweet time not a stressful one!  What do you do to avoid the holiday hustle?  Tell us in the comments!

Comments

  1. Super helpful! I sometimes make dough (pie, cookie, bread) before to save time and plus it’s easier to make a bunch of similar things once you have the ingredients. Great post. You always have a way of simplifying tasks so that they seem manageable and clear, where I have tons of thoughts swimming in my head and can’t seem to get it together!

  2. You have a great list of to-dos for the months ahead. Been enjoying following your blog and it sure has helped me be more on top of the house and my life! Thanks!

  3. Sarah DeJesus says:

    This is really helpful! Thanks Becky.

  4. Thanks Becky! This looks like a very manageable list of holiday to-dos.

  5. gerri simons says:

    Thanks, Becky. Although I do some of this I do not do all of it. Might I add with Thanksgiving being the 1st holiday coming up I have already written my menu, who will bring what & what items I can prepare even 2 or 3 days ahead of time. Less to do the day before or day of Thanksgiving.

  6. Thanks Becky for all your wisdom!

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