10 Smart Ways to Conquer Holiday Chaos

10 Smart Ways to Conquer Holiday Chaos

Minimize the chaos while maximizing the holiday enjoyment with these 10 tips.


It's almost December, which means your calendar is likely filling up with holiday soirées, office parties and family festivities — all packed into one short month. Aside from that, you might have some last minute shopping to do. Added together, all your obligations could result in a fast-paced, hectic holiday season. Here are 10 tips to ensure you keep your schedule in check and your stress levels down.

1. Clear Tables, Shelves, Mantels and Countertops.
Place magazines in the recycling bin, hide all those knickknacks in a basket somewhere and store big dishes or small appliances you don't need in a cabinet. You'll breathe easier if you head into the holidays with a de-cluttered home.

2. Simplify the Décor
A beautiful tree or decorated mantel is a lovely thing, but a few glitzy touches can go a long way. A simple strand of lights, a few festive votive candles or a pretty bowl full of ornaments or fruit are all quick and easy decorating projects.

3. Keep Kids Entertained with Fun Activities or Games
While planning your get-together, designate one room just for children in which they can play.

4. Preplan Meals.
We tend to focus on the big holiday meals, but don't forget about all of those in-between ones! Take time to make a detailed shopping list of everything you'll need for the entire week before heading to the store. Load up on finger foods, healthy snacks and ingredients for easy-to-make meals.

5. Prepare Food Ahead of Time and Freeze It
This includes dishes for the main holiday meal as well as dinners for your family during the week. Pasta, casseroles, lasagna and soups all freeze very well.

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6. Set out Everything the Night Before
If you have a day of cooking ahead of you, set out the utensils, pots and pans, spices, and nonperishable ingredients the night before. Do as much ahead of time as you can to keep the day stress free.

7. Delegate
Shopping, cooking, cleaning and gift-wrapping tasks can be handed off to someone else. Have a quick family meeting and decide who will do what. Give each person a checklist. Even your kids can pitch in!

8. Shop on the Internet
Unless you absolutely love the experience of hitting the mall in December, order your gifts online. Internet shopping has never been easier, especially with the rise of online wish lists. An added bonus: When you order online, you can have your gifts shipped directly to the recipient.

9. Ship Gifts from Home
Ready to mail out those greeting cards? Forget waiting in line at the post office. Instead, buy stamps online. You can even print postage for bigger packages at home.

10. Cut down on Your Obligations
Don't be afraid to say “no.” Decide ahead of time which functions you will be attending and stick to your schedule. While you're at it, don't forget to schedule some downtime just to relax.

Although these may seem like little things, if you do each one, your final weeks of the year can be as enjoyable as you could hope.

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