If you’re anything like me, then you’ve said the phrase, “I should have started sooner” before. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a procrastinator, but rather a “prior planner.” Even when I’m feeling “on top of my game” I still occasionally find myself saying I wish I would have done this or that sooner. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays around the corner, I’m already in full holiday-planning mode. I just celebrated Thanksgiving on the East Coast and with travels to Hawaii for Christmas almost here, I’ve made an extra conscious effort to plan ahead this year! Here are my planning tips for getting ahead this holiday season:
Present Planning All Year Around!
The season for gifting is almost upon us, which also means the season for shopping is near as well. For many, holiday shopping can be a frustrating and exhausting process—from crowded parking lots, to the endless hunt for the “perfect” gift, and that last minute scramble to check everyone off your list. But it doesn’t have to be this way…
The spirit for gifting is important to me, and I take pride in trying to give thoughtful gifts to the special people in my life. For me, considerate gifting is just as much about the spirit of giving, as it is about the planning process. As I shared earlier, I’m a prior planner, therefore I have a “gifts and presents ideas” note in my phone to remember ideas all year round. I also jot down ideas in my day planner and make note of any items purchased in advance. I take note of the subtle hint for a gift idea from a family member or friend. It’s important to think about the person you’ve giving a gift to—their personality, interests and likes—rather than be pressured by the Christmas countdown. So start your planning early, and don’t forget, gifts should be personal and creative, and not about the price tag!
All Wrapped Up!
Start your holiday wrapping early! Once you’ve got your gifts, start wrapping! There’s nothing worse than a multiple-hour wrapping session…so I suggest spreading out present wrapping over a few sessions. I’m notoriously known for buying extra holiday wrapping paper—so wrapping early helps me to take accurate inventory of what of I have and what I need. Might I suggest turning on your favorite holiday flick (The Holiday or Love Actually are my personal favorites!) to get you in the spirit! Early purchases and wrapping also increases chances of early (or on-time shipping of gifts) and avoiding excessively high shipping fees!
Make it Ahead!
With the holidays, come parties! I love hosting, especially during the holiday season. I enjoy entertaining my nearest and dearest in my home—from festive feasts to intimate cozy gatherings—there’s nothing better than social holiday get-togethers. The only downside to hosting is feeling rushed or unprepared as guests begin to arrive. For me, there’s nothing worse than feeling behind or having a guest ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?” Recently I’ve become a believer in “make it ahead.” Through cookbooks and food blogs, I’ve learned to prep, assemble, and even cook in advance, which means less stress the day-of and more enjoyment socializing. One of my favorite cookbooks is Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead—she shares many ideas for kitchen and cooking prep and make ahead meals that are sure to lead to a successful party! Planning ahead will not only yield a fuss-free occasion but will also allow you to enjoy your company instead of being held up in the kitchen!
Here’s another tip: pull platters and serving pieces that you’re planning to use a day or two ahead of time. Use Post-It notes on each to remind you which food goes where—not only will this ensure that you have all the serving vessels you need, but also eliminate that last minute rush of what-goes-where!
Happy (almost) holidays to our TK readers! We’re sending happy wishes to you as you prepare for the holidays! Do you have any tips or suggestions for getting ahead of the holidays? If so, please share them with us!