A: Dear Jolly,
Great question. Every year it seems like the holiday season is a distant event then, BAM, it's December and the invitations to cheese and wine parties appear out of nowhere. Here are a few tips that help keep me organized during the festive season.
Declutter & Donate-Declutter your closets, toy boxes, and storage spaces. Get rid of items that you aren’t using or don’t want to clear up space. If you haven’t actively used something in a year, let it go. There are numerous charities that will put your unwanted items to good use.
Simplify Card Giving-If cards are a priority, it’s ideal to tackle them early. The same goes for mailing parcels, be aware of delivery deadlines. I have a friend who always sends me a card in the New Year instead of in December and I always look forward to receiving it. There’s no rule that says you must send cards at a certain time of the year.
Another option is to automate your card list. Enter contact information in a simple spreadsheet using separate columns for each category such as first name, last name, mailing address etc. You can add columns for gift ideas, ages, and birthdays. Refer to it year after year, updating information as necessary. Take it a step further and convert it into mailing labels so addressing cards is as easy as print, peel and stick!
Make a List & Check It Twice-Write a list of people that you buy for, set a budget and stick to it. Avoid impulse and panic purchases, no matter how shiny or tempting the item might be. Of course, allowances should be made for special holiday treats. Take an inventory before you buy, know exactly what you have before you buy anything new. Don’t overspend. If a budget doesn’t allow for cards or gifts this year, then send free e-cards with a personalized letter.
Consider Alternative Gift Giving-I’m a proponent of simple, heartfelt gifts, especially those that make shopping easier. Consider handmade gifts such as baked goods, jams and customized playlists. When possible, buy local. Gift cards, like dinner and a movie,