Christmas Organization

10 Simple Tips to Reduce Holiday Overwhelm

It really is the most wonderful time of the year even if we feel slightly crazy!  However, as a grown-up, the lists are long and all in addition to our normal full lives.  Every single person I have talked to lately has said “I am overwhelmed.”  So, how can you reduced holiday overwhelm?

10 Simple Tips To Reduce Holiday Overwhelm

Do a Brain Dump & Create a To Do List

I get overwhelmed by the number of items that need my attention.  Not to mention all the decisions that need to be made from what to get my dear Aunt Sally and what to serve for Christmas dinner.  

Sit down and get it all down on paper.  There’s something magical about taking what is in your head and putting it on paper.  Suddenly, you can think again!  

There’s something magical that happens when we take something from in our brain and write it down on paper.  It’s like our brain takes a sigh of relief and we can think more clearly.

holiday to do list

Do A Little Everyday

Once, you have your to-do list.  Take a look and prioritize what needs to get done first.  As you get deliveries, open up the boxes and place everything where it goes.  Wrap the items you can.  

Create a Gift List 

There are a lot of people to shop for and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  Download this free shopping printable by signing up here and monitor your shopping progress.  Having a game plan and seeing your progress will help so much.

Use Throw-away Minutes

We all have those moments in our day.  5 minutes before you need to pick up your child from school.  10 minutes before you need to leave for your appointment.  Usually, we hop on social media and start scrolling.  Instead use those minutes and knock something off the to do list.

Set A Timer

Often times we don’t start a project because we think it will take a while.  Our competitive side comes out when we are racing a clock and I am always surprised how little time a task takes.  Set a timer for 15 minutes, you will be surprised how much you can get done.

It’s Okay to Say No

Every “yes” to something means a “no” to something else.  Make sure you are saying YES to what really matters.  Saying “no” doesn’t mean forever.  Maybe, it’s just not the year for Christmas cards or you can’t attend that charity Christmas party.  It’s okay to say no so that you can say to the best stuff this season!  

Ask for Help

There is no award for preparing for Christmas all by yourself.  So much of it falls on our shoulders but our kids and spouses are happy to help.  Yes, you might have to let go a bit of control but just think you are teaching your kids how to prepare for Christmas, a good life skill.  Look at your list and see what you can delegate. 

Make A To Do into an Activity

Every year we stuff Christmas cards into envelopes together as a family.  It would take me so much longer to do it alone and even young kids can help with the task of licking, stamping and stuffing.  This activity is actually one of our advent activities we do.  

What to do list item can you turn into a fun activity for your family?  Wrapping gifts, cooking baking, and decorating are all great options.

daily journal with Christmas cup

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Fill Up so You Can Pour Out

This time of year, I believe the lie I don’t have time to work out or do my morning quiet time.  What ends up happening is I become crabby.  So, what fills your cup?  You might not fit in a full hour workout but can you do a quick run or walk on the treadmill?  Can you get up 20 minutes early to enjoy some quiet?  

Make sure you are getting enough sleep too!  The fastest way to crabbiness for me is lack of sleep.  Caffeine can only go so far. 

Curate A Perfect Christmas for Your Family

Have you ever seen a curated art collection?  It’s not every single piece that the artist did, it’s a sampling.  Now, take that thought and apply it to your Christmas.  You do not need to do every single Christmas thing.  

Quite frankly you will burn yourself out.  Ask your family what they enjoy about the holiday season and focus on those things.  Curate the kind of Christmas that matters to your family and let the rest go. 

It’s ok if your Christmas doesn’t match every influencer on Instagram!

Just Remember…

As You Prepare for Christmas, think about how you can make whatever you are doing more enjoyable.  Try lighting your favorite holiday scented candle and turning on some of your favorite Christmas music.  Overwhelm happens to all of us but it doesn’t have to stick around.  Take some time to jot down it all, fill your cup and little by little you will be prepared for the most magical time of year!

Still Needing Some Christmas Gift Ideas, check these posts out – 


Prepare for the holiday season with this free Christmas shopping list printable!

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    Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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    10 Simple Ways to Prepare for Christmas in November

    It seems there are camps this time of year. You are either Camp Thanksgiving or Camp Christmas is coming. While I love everything about Thanksgiving, I also do most of the heavy lifting for Christmas in November so I can enjoy the season even more. So, what do I do now? There are 10 simple ways to prepare for Christmas now and if you do them, you will thank yourself later!

    1. Create a Christmas Shopping List

    Go ahead and print off a printable shopping list like the one above and start making a list of all the people you need to shop for and ideas you have. Once you have that started, you can determine what you need to buy and where.. When you have a plan and a list, you are more likely to stick to your budget and shop purposefully. Sign up here to get access to the shopping list printables.


    2. Create a Christmas Budget

    This could be interchanged with creating a Christmas list. For me, I like to determine who I am buying for and then set a budget from there. For my husband’s family, we draw names and have a set price limit for each gift (around $30 for kids and $40 for adults) which really helps. I tend to stick to the same price point for other family members too. Then I also determine what my kids want and establish a reasonable budget for their gifts. There is no need to go into debt to celebrate the most wonderful time of year.

    3.  Begin Shopping

    Now that you have a list you can begin shopping.  Often times on Amazon things go up in price as the season goes on.  Last year, my son wanted a particular lego set and the price jumped 30% after Thanksgiving.  Supply and demand people.  Shop early!

    I also was that parent buying a $20 American girl dog from a 3rd party vendor because it was sold out on the website and that was THE ONLY THING my daughter really wanted for Christmas.  Don’t risk items selling out if you see it and you think you want it, buy it and tape the receipt to the item.  You can always return it.

    Check out these gift guides for great ideas to get you started –

    Advent Calendar Gift Guide

    Best Toddler and Preschool Toy Gift Ideas

    20 Best Gifts for Tween Boys

    20 Best Tween Girl Gift Ideas

    Practical Gift Ideas for Every Guy On Your List

    10 Practical Gifts for Ladies 

    Family Games Gift Guide

    Picture Books Gift Guide


    4.  Create a Christmas Bucket List

    There are only 24 days until Christmas in December.  You might say that’s obvious but inevitably if you don’t plan for the things you really want to do, your days will be filled with other engagements.  Every year, we plan to go to a lighted holiday display and have a pizza picnic in the car, I put that on the calendar now so that we don’t miss it.

    The Simple Purposeful Living Shop will be selling a simple, fun and purposeful Advent Activities kit. The kit comes with 43 perforated ideas to put in an advent calendar so you can plan to do a little simple fun with your family.  Buy yours here.  Bonus, $5 from every sale of that kit goes back to adoption care as part of the Simple Purposeful Living Gives Back project!

    Annual Christmas Lights and Cocoa Party

    5. Plan Your Family Christmas & Christmas Parties

    If you have family and you are coordinating when to have Christmas, start planning now.  Have you ever tried to coordinate 2-5 families’ schedules and find a date that works?  If you have, then you know it’s good to plan early!  Be flexible with one another,  although Christmas is on December 25th, the spirit and purpose of Christmas can be celebrated on any day!

    It might be an office party or inviting your small group over for a Christmas meal, but whatever it is, it’s good to let people know early so they can mark their calendar and gives you time to plan a fun party.

    Need some party inspiration, check out these posts –

    Snowball Party Games

    Adult Party Game Ideas

    Simple Sweet BBQ Meatballs Recipe + Simple Party Menu

    6.  Find & Purchase Christmas Attire

    It’s never too early to think about what your family will wear for Christmas.  For some of you, this is not important but it’s one of two times a year I try to have all 3 of my children coordinate, the other is Easter.  The days are fleeting they will comply.  Even if you don’t want to dress clothes, who doesn’t love matching holiday pajamas?

    Last year I waited too long and it was hard to find coordinating clothes and pajamas in all the different sizes.  Take it from me, shop early so you can get exactly what you want.

    7.  Prepare Christmas Cards

    Go ahead and take a family photo or compile some photos from the year and order your cards.  Places like Vista Print or Shutterfly have some great options.  Right now Vista Print is running 50% special with code NOVEMBER19 and Shutterfly is running 50% off + extra 20% sitewide.

    You have time to gather all the addresses of your card recipients, get stamps and get a fun, festive return address stamp.  Create an assembly line with your family and get them all ready to send and then mail them right after Thanksgiving.

    8.  Purchase Wrapping Supplies

    It’s a great time to stock up on Christmas gift wrap.  My favorite place to buy it is Hobby Lobby.  Their paper is thick and high quality and you get huge rolls.  Costco also has large packs of tissue paper for a great price.  Don’t forget bags, gift tags, bows, tape, and scissors.

    Once you have purchased all your supplies, create a space in your home, maybe a spare bedroom or a drawer in a buffet or dresser so you can be ready with all the essentials in one spot.


    9.  Create a space for your presents

    Around here little minds will want to know what I have bought so I create a space in our storeroom to hide all the presents.  I hide them in totes out of eyesight and reach.  I will periodically pull all of it out to make sure I have everything I need and crossed off the list and wrap it all up.

    Many times the Christmas totes that are emptied of decor are where I hide all the presents :).


    10.  Put Up Your Exterior Christmas Decorations and Lights

    Especially if you live in the midwest,  it’s safe to say the cold is going to set in soon (if it hasn’t already).  Take advantage of a warm day in November to put up all your decor.  You don’t even have to turn them on but when you are stuffed full of turkey the day after Thanksgiving all you have to do is plug them in.

    Are you motivated to get started now?

    No matter what camp you fall in – Thanksgiving first or bring on Christmas, you can do these few simple things now.  I promise you will thank yourself come December when you have fewer items on that to-do list.  Give yourself the gift of a headstart this Christmas season.  You don’t even have to put up the tree.  What are you doing now to prepare for Christmas?

    Don’t forget to get your kids a fun advent calendar?

    Advent Calendar Idea for Every Age

    You might also like these Christmas-related posts –

    5 Tips to Reduce Holiday Overwhelm

    Have you Lost your Christmas Spirit?

    Christmas Party Game Ideas

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    Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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    Simple Tips to Organize After Christmas

    Tips to organize after Christmas
    How is Christmas over already?  Now that it is, I want a nap.  Then, it’s time to tackle cleaning up!   Taking a little extra time and organizing after Christmas will help set us up for success for next year.  Take some time now and thank yourself later!  Trust me!

    Fix it Before You Put it Away & Buy Replacement Items

    If you want to finish up a craft, laminate an activity or fix a broken ornament — do it now.  I always think I will remember or have time next year and that’s never the case.
    After Christmas is the perfect time to take advantage of season clearance and stock up on replacement items like lights and artificial trees.  I was so happy to see replacement lights for our tree that had partially distinguished last year.  No need to run to the store and disrupt our decorating!

    Stow Away Christmas Cards & Update Addresses

    I love them and hate to just toss them at the end of the season SO we punch a hole in the corner and tuck them onto a little metal ring like these.  My kids love to flip through the cards throughout the year.  We place our card on top and we have years worth of photo cards!
    Update addresses in your address book or on your compute.  Some years if I am in a time crunch I can print them off since it’s in an address template.  I have also used the list for baby announcements and invitations.  It seems people move and I add to my list annually so that way I know exactly where to start next year and how many cards to order.

    Label Your Totes

    When I pack away my Christmas gear, I label what’s inside and each year I re-label if need be.  You would be surprised when you need something random in the middle of the year and the last thing you want to do is dig through every box.  This year I forgot to label which box our elf was in and guess who made a premature appearance.  Label the box your elf is in, take it from me.

     Place Like Things Together

    I have one box for all of my Christmas tree decor.  My ribbons, lights, tree skirt and star plus some ornaments.  Then, I have a box just for my stair garland.
    We store all of our Christmas decorations in Rubbermaid totes.  We built custom shelves that fit these totes 3 across perfectly.  I love that everything is in plastic so heaven forbid there’s heavy rain and our basement has water, everything is safe!  We also hang our wreaths in front of the totes on nails so they don’t get damaged.

    Make a Donate Bin & Label

    Place any items you didn’t use this year in a separately labeled tote so that you can donate or consign at the beginning of the Christmas season next year.  Most places will not take Christmas items now so it pays to be organized and ready!

    Organize Presents

    Find every gift a home.  You can read more about how I organize toys in this post.

    Clean & Redecorate 

    Now, last but not least a house can look sparse when all the Christmas decor disappears.  It’s the perfect opportunity to do a quick deep clean.  Then, redecorate with your everyday decor!

    All Ready for Next Year

    Pat yourself on the back, you did it!  As sad as it is to leave Christmas behind for the year, it feels so good to organize, purge and prepare for the upcoming year.  When we do it right now, we will be so thankful next Christmas!

    Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple, purposeful life!
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