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Get Organized for the Holidays

Holiday Organizing Guide

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It's almost a cliché to talk about how hectic the holidays can be. There are parties to attend, gifts to buy, cards to create and mail, houses to clean, menus to plan and decorations to hang and then store. On top of that, hosting a holiday involves a lot of organization. Choosing a main dish recipe, planning side dishes, extending invitations, choosing decorations and scheduling the big meal requires a great deal of pre-planning and organizing on the part of the host. Here, readers share their "Dos" and "Don'ts" for hosting a successful holiday.

Below we offer the best tips to keep yourself organized and sane during this very busy time of the year.

Get Holiday Cards Organized

Edit your Holiday Cards
Photo / Tinyprints

Sending out a big batch of holiday cards may seem like a time-consuming chore, especially when your goal is to declutter your life and become more organized. Why add in an additional task that involves time and money, showcases your terrible handwriting, and in some circles is no longer considered a holiday must?

I still think it's worth it to send holiday cards. Here's why:

Get Holiday Events and Hosting Organized

Holiday Organizing
Holiday Organizing

Here's what not to do during the holidays: insult someone's baked goods, not R.S.V.P., show up late, show up empty handed, or brag too much in your Christmas letter. There's even more etiquette to know when you're hosting.

Holiday Etiquette Guide | Share your tips

Get Holiday Gift Shopping Organized

Cool Yule Gift Wrap Collection from the Container Store
Photo / Container Store

Shopping for gifts, decor and groceries -- every type of shipping seems more urgent during the holiday season. Here are some tips for getting through the season.

  • Make a list, check it twice? Probably not. I'm the worst kind of holiday shopper - I think I'm very organized, but I'm not. I have lists all over the place with gift ideas for different people. Some I keep in a "home management" excel spreadsheet, some I keep in Amazon gift lists, and some I keep in my head.
  • The best way to keep track of gift ideas is to choose one venue and continually use it. I have vowed to stick with my excel list. You may find Amazon wish list tool really useful.
  • Tip: Designate a space in your home for gifts once you've purchased them. This way you can pick things up all year and save them for birthdays and the holidays. A head start on shopping will make the holiday shopping mania much less stressful.

Get Holiday Grocery Shopping Organized

Tartan Plaid Salad Plates from Williams Sonoma
Photo / Williams Sonoma
Grocery shopping gets a little amped up when you are hosting or doing a lot of baking. Here are some helpful guides to organize your groceries.

How to Grocery Shop | 7 Tools to Grocery Shop | Customize Your Weekly Shopping List

Get Holiday Meal Planning Organized

All Clad Stainless Steel Roasting Pan from Williams Sonoma
Photo / Williams Sonoma

Don't let Thanksgiving (or any big holiday gathering) overwhelm you. I have laid out a game plan with 15 steps -- 15 very easy-to-follow steps with some encouragement along the way.

All about holiday meal planning:

15 Ideas for Thanksgiving | Meal Planning 101
How to Meal Plan | How to Meal Plan Healthfully
10 Tips to Meal Plan | Organize Your Weekly Shopping List
How to Grocery Shop | A Working Mom's Weekly Meal Plan
10 Go-To Dinner Meals | The Best Recipe Organizers

Get Holiday Storage Organized

Christmas Tree and Holiday Decor Storage Ideas
Photo / Tumblr
From the decor including figurines, trees, ornaments and lights, to your holiday supplies like cards, wrapping paper and baking supplies, these guides have you covered for how to store absolutely everything you need to get through the holidays.

Get Holiday Travel Organized

Jessica Simpson Luggage
Photo / Jessica Simpson

You can use these tips all year 'round, but due to the added stress of the holiday season (extra-crowded airports, train and bus stations), I recommend you take a deep breath, read my list of tips and follow them to stay more organized and less stressed.

Must-Have Travel Tips | Travel Planning Checklist | Travel Itinerary Checklist

The 12 Days of Holiday Home & Garden

The 12 Days of Holiday Home & Garden is your one stop shop for all things holiday - crafts, decorating, cards, pets, holiday party planning and gift ideas. We'll be adding more content as the season approaches. Check back for regular updates on getting your home and pets into shape for the most festive holiday time of the year!

The 12 Days of Holiday Home & Garden
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