12 Hacks for a Stress-Free Holiday Season
& Safety Advice for Young Children and Pets
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With Thanksgiving (11/22/18), Hannukah (12/2-10/18), Christmas (12/25/18), and New Years just around the corner, these are your 12 tips to save time, money, and lead to a stress-free holiday season. Snag Your Best Kept Secret for Holiday Gift Giving Freebies by signing up to my blog. You will also have access to all my other freebies.
1) Card Organizer
Are you overwhelmed by having to find and write over 50-holiday cards in one sitting? Save time by storing cards in labeled occasion slots, keep cards, envelops, stamps, address labels, and even pens together for fast and easy access. Consider writing 2-5 cards a day starting today. This will break up your task into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Deluxe Card Organizer Kit
There is plenty of room for cards that are a variety of sizes. Holds up to 75 greeting cards (not included) Matching card calendar lists each day in each month, traditional and modern anniversary gifts, holidays and addresses of family and friends Decorative Damask patterned keepsake box can also be used for storing scrapbooking supplies, photographs and cards from family and friends 12 matching double-sided divider tabs – monthly and title/occasion matching calendar and datebook. This card organizer has been proven to save me time and money by not having to run around the house looking for cards, envelopes, stamps, and pens in different locations. Since the card organizer is in a visible/easy access place in our home, my husband and I know where to go to get a card for any occasion at our fingertips.
2) Use Happy Holidays/ Season Greeting Cards
Also, you might choose to buy Happy Holidays/ Season Greetings cards, so you will not have to guess the faith of your co-workers/neighbors/teachers. Hannukah is just around the corner. You can convert a vacation/special event photo(s) into a card(s). Then all you have to do is address the envelope, stick on a return address label, and stamp.
3) Stock up on Forever Stamps
No time like the present to stock up on Forever seasonal stamps. (All the stamps shown are Forever Stamps. This means if the price increases over the years, it does not matter. You can still use Forever Stamps.) Plan on the number of cards you have, and then buy an extra book of stamps. These can be used next year, pay bills, and everyday mail. We will stock up on Christmas stamps and Snowy Day and other holiday stamps for our family and friends of other faiths and everyday mail. Stick them in your card organizer for easy access.
4) Hang Up/Set Up Your Advent Calendar
I suggest that you buy them now because they go fast! (Click pictures to learn more and find additional options.) This is a super fun tradition to count up to Christmas from December 1st. My family always had Advent Calendars to count up to Christmas. Even as adults, we still love the chocolate calendars. Great for children eagerly anticipating Christmas! They can also be used to teach your children math concepts, such as- counting, calendar, sorting… (Please always be aware of small parts around small children and pets. Just a reminder Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs. Also keep in mind any food allergies.)
There are different types of advent calendars.
5) Hannukah is coming soon! Be Ready with these Essentials
Menorah-(Please always supervise children and pets around open flames. I have seen menorahs burn on completely empty stovetops for safety.) You can also use Menorahs that do not use fire. Make sure you have candles that fit your menorah, Dreidels, Hanukkah Gelt. Traditionally, Hanukkah Gelt is milk chocolate wrapped in gold foil. Dreidels can be a fun and educational way to introduce children to Hannukah. (Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Please also be aware of small parts and food allergies.)
6) Break Out the Holiday Music
The business magazine Fast Company published an article online based on research that explains music can increase productivity basically because it creates a positive mood. (Read the article here.) I find that I get things done quicker when I listen to upbeat music. So when you are wrapping gifts and decorating the house, and writing cards, think about cranking up the tunes. Here are some of the best holiday CDs.
7) Ornament Organized Storage
Are you wasting time and money looking for ornaments and rebuying decorations? Label and keep your ornaments organized/lights/all decorations in one place. Stop wasting time looking for decorations with this simple storage solution that has adjustable ornament slots (you can modify the slots to fit almost all your ornaments/lights/decorations) You can use bubble wrap/tissue paper/packing paper to secure fragile ornament in the dividers. Some organizers come in green as well. Keep the boxes the ornaments the come in to keep them secure. They will fit in the organizers.
Innovative Home Creations Christmas Ornament Storage,
We own this & love it! Handles make this container easily portable. We adjusted the slots to accommodate lights and larger ornaments. Provide Good Protection For Decoration Accessories
Zober Premium 600D Polyester Christmas Ornament Storage Box with Lid –
We have one of these organizers, too. The main difference is that you cannot secure the lid.
But, this has not been a problem for us. This organizer also has handles, so it is easy to move.
8) Deck the Halls & the Tree
Please supervise young children and pets when handling and hanging ornaments and decorations.
Please note: CHOCOLATE, POINSETTIAS, & MISTLETOE ARE HIGHLY TOXIC TO BOTH DOGS & CATS. (Try synthetic flowers instead and keep them out of reach of young children and pets.) LOOSE TINSEL MAY BLOCK THE INTESTINES OF A CAT OR DOG IF INGESTED. (Skip the tinsel.) Hang ornaments higher on the tree out of reach. TRY TO GET A HEAVY STRONG BASE, SO THE TREE WILL NOT TIP OVER. UNPLUG OR TURN OFF LIGHTS WHEN THEY WILL BE UNSUPERVISED. SECURE CORDS. OR SKIP LIGHTS ALTOGETHER. (Our cat chewed cords, and I have seen young children try to put cords in their mouths. Try to distract your little ones and pets with toys and play. For cats and dogs, you can use *Bitter Apple sprays on cords as a deterrent when you are not around. You will have to spray frequently.)
Are you a collector? Hallmark ornaments and Department 56 decorations come out with new collectibles in different themes every year!
Department 56 Decorations are collectibles. You will want to save the packaging and the paperwork that states the authenticity of the decorations. The packaging also helps with storage and organization.
Because we still have a curious cat, and we had a cat that chewed cords, I bought a curio cabinet with clear/glass doors that shut, but that had enough of a gap for the cords to fit under the doors when the doors are shut. I am not an affiliate / or anyway associated with Raymour & Flannigan, but that is where I bought the curio cabinet and entertainment center that holds almost all our North Pole & some Frost Department 56 decorations. Every night, we unplugged all the cords and secured them inside the curio cabinet and entertainment center and closed the door. We rested well knowing that our cats were safe.
If you have an enclosed space for your decorations, measure /read measurements of the decorations before you purchase them, so they will fit.
Animated Skating Pond
This will be your favorite Department 56 decoration. Click on the picture to get more details and watch a video of the skaters gliding across the pond.
9)Wrapping Paper Organizer bag
Make gift wrapping a breeze with this easy to access wrapping supplies bag (gift wrap supplies not included). Ours is in our downstairs closet. Keep everything in one place. Handles make it portable to any room in the home or take it anywhere. Transparent pockets let you see what you have, and what you need to buy at a glance. Store holiday, birthday, wedding, baby shower…wrapping paper all year round!
Holds and organizes wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, bows, ribbon, tape, gift tags, scissors, and tape- (This is an awesome organizing feature all year round. Stop wasting time looking for individual items.)
10) Have Wrapping Essentials on Hand
Stock up on Clear Tape, Ribbon, Bows, Scissors- Keep all these handy all year round in your gift wrap storage organizer at all times. This way they are out of reach of small children and pets when not in use. Scissors are sharp and ribbon can block intestines if swallowed by your pets. Check the status of your supplies before and after you wrap your gifts. Get new supplies right away if you are running low after you have finished wrapping your gifts. This will save time on your next wrapping session. These items are nonperishable so they will not go bad from one year to the next.
Wrangle up some -Wrapping paper- Christmas paper, You also might consider purchasing some winter scene paper that can be used for other occasions and for other faith’s holiday gift giving. New Year’s Eve Party gift, Birthdays, Valentine’s Day…
Gift Bags- Gift bags and Decorative Tissue Paper can be reused. Easy and fast to wrap, and give gifts. Can be used as Winter Party Theme (Decorations)-Winter scenes gift bags can be used for other occasions as well as other faiths, or you can celebrate Christmas with a seasonal Christmas design that can be used again year after year. *Tissue Paper- Multicolored packs provide an assortment of options for gift bags, or fun design tissue paper to spice up the season.
11) Label All Storage/ Organization Containers
Using labels on organizers show you immediately where things are. This saves time (digging through your closet-only to find out it is in your attic), and money (stop buying the same holiday items multiple times because you cannot find them from the previous year.) You can use a computer to type out labels. Write out labels on index cards and tape it on your storage containers. Put lights and outdoor decorations in see-thru bins on shelves in the garage with labels. Use a label maker to create and affix labels on to storage containers. Always look at the dimensions of your storage spaces/shelving before purchasing bins. My husband and I have started a major decluttering/organizing project in our house, and I have become a huge fan of see-thru containers. You can see what is in containers without opening them up.
12) Use a CheckList, Storage, and Labels for Gifts
You are probably gathering a holiday gift wish list. Beware, if you do not have the list at your fingertips, you run the risk of rebuying the same gift, blowing the budget by buying another gift for the same person, or worst of all, realizing you do not have a gift for that special someone because you cannot find the gifts you already have, and you thought you bought it already.
See-thru bins will be my hero this year. Put all your gifts for the holidays in a see-thru bin with a highly visible label. (Of course, parents with children will have to be more slick about recording and hiding this info.) Set up the categories however you want, just remember to check off items that have been bought or made. This list can be made in Excel, or Word, on paper, or you can subscribe and get a free Festive Holiday Gift Wishlist.
Making a gift?
If you are making your gift, you may want to record how long you think it will take. For me, it takes about 3xs as long as I think, so I multiply my time by 3. Also, keep in mind any glitches (such as if you need the internet, and it goes down one day or is slow.) Pad your time and start early to take mistakes/ glitches into consideration. Sign up below, and get The Best Kept Secret to Gift Giving 1 & 2. These lists are used for gifts you buy and gifts your create.
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