An Organized Christmas Brings More Holiday Cheer

Nov 21, 2023 / Kastle Waserman

Christmas winter holiday season is full of wonderment, with sparkling ornaments, gift giving and family celebrations. But few would call it relaxing. Working towards an organized Christmas with our expert tips can help.

Many of us are trying to make the most of the season while also maintaining our regular schedules. With our advice for making holiday preparations less stressful and more fun your family will have an organized Christmas and a holiday season to remember.

Holiday Time Management

For many, good time management is even more important around the holidays, with so much to do in just a few weeks. Debbie Lillard, a professional organizer who has three children and a large extended family to take care of—shares her schedule for getting it all done in time for Christmas:

Week 1 – Shop for gifts, order Christmas cards and decorate outside.
Week 2 – Shop for gifts and decorate the inside of the house.
Week 3 – Wrap gifts, send Christmas cards and decorate the tree.
Week 4 – Shop for food, bake cookies, and enjoy!

Of course, there’s no “one size fits all approach,” which is where some strategic small bursts come into play.

“People get hung up on, ‘what is the right way to do something,'” says organizer Meghan Jackson of Joyful Spaces. “The most important thing to do is just get started! If you have a free hour here and there, you can pick a small goal and make some progress. Set a time for half an hour, make it family time, or find a friend to exchange time with and help each other.”

Decorating for the Holidays

Bringing festive garlands and sparkling lights into the house always makes it feel like the holidays; but dragging the boxes from storage and getting it all done can sometimes feel like a chore.

Lillard suggests capitalizing on the tradition some families already have of decorating together to make the project fun and festive. Pull all the holiday storage boxes into one room and put everything out on a table. Group the items by where they go and then each member can take a space to decorate. Play holiday music to get into the spirit!

The decorating process is also a great time to take stock of what you have on hand.

“As you’re going through holiday stuff, if you see something (like decor that doesn’t fit your space or your taste), this is the perfect season to donate it or pass it to other family members so it’s not just collecting dust in your storage closet year year,” says Jackson.

Decorating doesn’t have to break the bank with these budget-friendly tips from our blog.

Organizing Christmas Gift Wrap

rows of colorful neatly organized wrapping paper

Gift giving is one of the joys of the season, and for many of us that includes making each package look as special as the thought we put into buying the present. At the end of the season, however, wrapping paper often gets tossed out of the way, to the bottom of a closet or somewhere else where it gets crumpled. Lillard suggests buying one of the many gift-wrap organizers available on the market.

“Whatever you use, keep it all in one place with tape and scissors. For gift bags, I put all the Christmas ones inside the biggest bag I have and all other occasion gift bags go in another.”

She also emphasized smart shopping to avoid ending up with too much bulky gift-wrap and bows, or items that don’t match.

“Keep it simple with a few styles of wrapping – one for kids, one for adults, and re-use any gift bags you already have when possible.”

Be sure to read up on other space-saving holiday tips on our blog.

Sending Holiday Cards

aerial view of a woman sending holiday cards

With the convenience of email, sending holiday cards seems to be a fading gesture because it can be so time consuming! But if you still love the old-fashioned tradition, Lillard again suggests turning it into a family event to save time.

“You can do it one evening while watching TV. Update your list of addresses and create mailing labels. Then someone signs the card, another seals the envelope, another sticks a stamp and return address label on the envelope and that’s it,” she says. “The old “assembly line” approach works great!”

For incoming cards, you can purchase a display stand, such as these options, or get crafty and make your own.

“Just use a simple string and some clothespins hung on the wall with hooks, and clip on the cards as they come in,” Lillard said.

She also had a clever suggestion for the photo cards that are so popular now.

“I cut out the photos after the holiday and put them in my own photo album!”

Keep Your Guests in Mind

Whether you host friends, close family, coworkers, or long-lost relatives, it’s likely that your house will see some visitors during the holiday season. Keep these visits fun and stress-free by preparing ahead of time for what your guests might need.

“Your guest room can turn into a storage space during the rest of the year, so be sure to take some time to tidy up those spaces before you have anyone over,” says Jackson. “It’s important to think through what your guests will need so you can prepare ahead of time. Some things to pay attention to include:

  • Linens, including extra towels and bedding.
  • Clear out the hall closet or coat closet so you have space during a larger party or get-together.
  • Toys, activities, and other kid-friendly items for your youngest guests.
  • Extra soaps, shampoos, or other toiletries.
  • Ingredients for allergies or dietary needs.

Be the host with the most with more tips on maximizing space when you’re hosting during the holidays.

Packing Up Decorations at the End of the Holiday Season

smiling couple decorates a christmas tree

“When the holidays are all over, it’s time to pack things up and put them back in storage.” Lillard admits it’s the saddest part of the season. “I like to do it quick like ripping off a Band-Aid!”

It’s another way to bring the family together one last time. “Put away any gifts that are still out; un-decorate the tree, putting each ornament in its own box or bag, or wrapping it in tissue. Have one container that is all ornaments and mantel decorations. Then go around the house like a scavenger hunt and bring everything back into one room.

For packing, wrap soft items like linens, stockings and garland around the breakable items, if they don’t have their own box. Strands of lights can be wrapped around a plastic cord wrap Then put everything back in your holiday storage bins.

For her holiday decorations, as well as those of her clients, Jackson likes to use “clear bins in different sizes. Get the kind that are stackable so you can easily store stuff away. They are compact, efficient, and can help keep dust out.”

When it’s time to put away the holiday decor, Debbie admits she likes to “leave the candles and wreaths up another week. Then they get packed away in their own box until next year.”

Now that you’ve followed these expert tips, you’ll be sure to have an organized Christmas for years to come.

Watch this video for a storage idea for hiding all those holiday gifts!

Laura Bolt contributed to this reporting.

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