Three Easy Ways to Organize The Holidays

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Three Easy Ways to Stay Organized This Holiday Season

A holiday planner on a cream colored background with Christmas Gifts and ornaments.These three easy ways to stay organized will help your family enjoy a fulfilling and peaceful holiday season this year.

You may be so overwhelmed that you can’t possibly imagine staying organized through the holidays. I understand! But it is possible, and it doesn’t require a professional organizer or even a professional therapist like me to make it happen.

Spend just a few moments with me here, and I think you’ll agree.

3 Easy Tips

#1 Don’t give up your healthy habits

There’s a good chance you’ve already established some habits that give you homeschool sanity. They might be things like:

• Personal or family devotions
• Having the kids do chores
• A morning-time routine
• Running the dishwasher each night
• Daily exercise
• Getting to sleep at a decent time
• Drinking plenty of water or eating a variety of vegetables

We benefit greatly from the habits we’ve established. But for some reason, some of us (ahem, guilty!) think that because it’s the holidays, we should take a break from our healthy habits. We stay up late, indulge in lots of treats, and tell ourselves we’ll get back to our routine later.

There’s just one problem: Getting back to our routine becomes difficult. The kids are whining about it- or we are. We feel sluggish and unmotivated. We figure we’ll start fresh in the new year with homeschooling, cleaning, and exercise.

Don’t get me wrong. Taking a break for the holidays can be rejuvenating. But it should be planned. Otherwise, we feel like failures and our kids start behaving like they have a substitute teacher. Know what I mean?

Bottom line: If you want a different routine over the holidays, don’t fall into it. Plan for it.

#2 Begin the holidays with the end in mind

Organization will be long forgotten if we don’t have a vision for the holidays we want. To crystallize that vision, discuss the following with your family:

• Activities you want to commit to
• People you want to spend time with
• Food you want to enjoy
• How you want to feel
• How you can honor God this holiday

Before I had a vision for our holidays, I wore myself out buying piles of gifts and staying up late to wrap them. I saw that my children wanted time to rest and enjoy playing with their new gifts with their siblings on Christmas morning instead of jumping into the car to drive a long distance. I was exhausted by going to church on Christmas Eve late, getting my jumping kids to bed, and then getting gifts laid out and put together for the next day.

You can’t organize what you don’t know. When you are clear on what is most important to you and your family during the holidays, you can make decisions about what to stop doing. You can also confidently add activities that matter most to your calendar. You can shop for gifts with a limited list. You won’t be constantly adding one more thing.

A clear vision will make any number of holiday planners functional for you. Otherwise, you’ll be overwhelmed by the various pages. And your planner will end up in the box with the broken ornaments.

Bottom line: Discuss the holidays with your family and agree on how you will make them meaningful.

#3 Plan your day

Once you’ve committed to keeping up your daily habits and you have a shared vision for your holidays, you’re ready to plan one day at a time. If you don’t plan daily, you’re very unlikely to get many of those holiday to-do’s done before Christmas Eve. And you’ll be disappointed. Ask me how I know.

Your daily plan is where you will make a loose schedule that includes time for your habits, your holiday tasks, and everything else you have to do in a day.

Often homeschool moms tell me that their day never goes according to plan. I understand! I have six kids (the adult kids ask me for as much as the kids at home), two dogs (who have been fighting lately), and a husband who works out of our home.

Even with interruptions, the truth is that you will have more peace of mind and will get more done WITH a plan than without one. Each time you are interrupted, don’t throw up your hands in despair. Interruptions ARE our life. Instead, simply return to your plan. Start where you are.

Bottom line: Create a plan for each day during the holidays that includes your habits, your holiday tasks, and your other to-do’s.

Don’t Wait!

Don’t be tempted to wait until after the holidays to get organized – it’s a time when we most need organization! I offer a free sample of my Organized Homeschool Life book and planner that can help you get started. Grab it here. Then listen to How to Have a Saner Christmas This Year and I Deserve a Donut After All That Homeschooling (on avoiding holiday weight gain) from The Homeschool Sanity Show.

Which of these steps is most likely to help you stay organized this holiday season?

Let me know in the comments.

About the author: Dr. Melanie Wilson is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six. She is the host of The Homeschool Sanity Show and the author of The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner, A Year of Living Productively, and Grammar Galaxy, a language arts curriculum.

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