The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration with friends and family – but it can also be a tremendous source of stress and financial burden. Stay a step ahead this year by planning for an organized Holiday Season with AHRN.com!
Military families often have additional considerations when the holidays roll around. Will we travel to see family (sometimes on the other side of the country or world)? How many gifts will need to be shipped? Did all of our holiday decorations and mementos survive our last PCS? How will our new home fit with our holiday traditions? Although many of us may still have jack 0′ lanterns on the front porch and Christmas seems an eternity away, the eight weeks between now and the end of the year are packed with opportunities for fun. A little planning and thought now frees up time and energy to fully enjoy the moments as they happen!
Write it down
From mid-October to the end of December, we often find our schedules whirling with an increasing number of to do lists and social obligations. School and work parties, fun community holiday celebrations and travel can make it difficult to remember even our normal routine! Give yourself a head start by writing down your holiday plans in a way that you can check back and monitor what still needs to be done. Digital organizers like Evernote or Tick Tick keep your holiday to do lists accessible on the go.
AHRN.com Tip: create a secret Pinterest board or Pocket App tag to save great gift ideas you come across all year long
If you swear by pen and paper, Pinterest and Etsy have a broad range of printable holiday organizers available. Whichever route you choose, keep your planner somewhere convenient and remember to check it regularly to stay on track! Schedule 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a week with reminders in your phone calendar to review what can be done NOW for a smoother holiday down the road.
Menu Plan and Meal Prep
You want to be able to enjoy the time with friends and loved ones as you nosh on delicious holiday dishes – but someone has to do the cooking! A little menu planning and prep ahead dishes can make all the difference! Choose your menu with an eye to ingredients that can be diced or cooked ahead of time (especially appetizers and desserts!). Then, make your shopping list and prep plan, scheduling plenty of time to get it done. Remember that freezer and shelf stable ingredients can be purchased weeks before the holiday meal – easing the strain on your budget too! Not sure where to start? Take a look at these delicious prep ahead holiday meals!
Gifts, decorations and groceries are all easy to lose track of. Especially when you are shopping all year or purchasing online and shipping directly to the recipient. Save your money and focus your energy by keeping a running list of everything holiday related. Also, keep communication open with your spouse regarding gifts so you don’t find yourself with much more than you intended! Decorations are easy to pick up at the store early in the season before you’ve taken a look at everything you have already. A thorough inventory of what you have already is powerful tool in preventing buying something just because you forgot you liked it last year too!
With family and friends making more frequent visits during the already busy season, keeping your home in order can be chore! Get a head start by hiring a cleaning service for a deep clean early in the holiday season so you are able to keep things tidy with a quick speed clean!
After Action Review
Once the holiday season is winding down, you have an opportunity to set yourself up for an even more organized holiday next year. Take the time as you are packing up the decorations and cleaning up the house to inventory your decorations, organize your holiday storage, and make notes about what made this year easier and what could use improvement.
We want to know:
What is the most stressful part of the holiday season for you?