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Unwrap the Magic: Essential Tips for a Joyful Holiday Season

Start with Operation Organized Christmas

Now that you're rolling over and recovering from your Thanksgiving coma, its time to roll into the next phase of the holidays. Get your Christmas on! Are you ready for party hopping and gift wrapping? Don't worry, I'll help you turn the stress into success with a dash of holiday magic!

Trimming the tree and setting up the holiday decor is usually a personal preference. When do you unleash the festive frenzy? Do you deck the halls before or after the Thanksgiving leftovers are finished? And what about your family? Are they part of the decoration committee, or is it a one-person show? No matter the strategy, the endgame is always the same: to create a magical wonderland ready for Christmas Eve and be ready for Santa's mysterious visit on Christmas Day. It's a bit like a race, but instead of a finish line, we're racing towards the jolliest day of the year. How can you make this holiday hustle less of a hassle? Having a plan in place will keep you on track.

When you are organized, there is a rhythm to the organizing and a momentum you keep to transition from one holiday to the next. If you stuck around with me this far, you may very well be an expert planner and organizer by now. Once you make a plan and stick with it, you can let everything else fall into place.

Planning for the holiday season involves several tasks to ensure a smooth and enjoyable celebration.
Getting ready for the holiday season means doing a bunch of things to make sure your celebration goes well and is lots of fun. If you're just a regular family having a good time and not a big business making a huge show out of Christmas, then these tips will help you stay organized without going overboard with decorations.

Take these steps for Operation Organized Christmas:

1. Getting Ready:

Decide how much money you can spend on decorations, gifts, and food.

Make a list of people you want to invite over.

Plan what foods you want to cook for the holiday.

2. Decorating the house:

Pick a day to put up decorations.

Decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments.

Make the house look festive with lights, wreaths, and other decorations.

3. Gift Giving:

Write down who you want to give gifts to.

Decide how much you can spend on each person.

Buy or make the gifts.

Wrap the gifts in pretty paper with bows and tags.

4. Planning the Feast:

Plan what foods you want to have for the holiday meal.

Make room in the fridge.

Write a list of things to buy for the meal.

Buy some of the things that won't go bad early.

Plan when to cook each dish.

5. Cleaning Up:

Clean the house before you decorate. Hire help or get kids to pitch-in

Make space by putting away things you don't need.

Get ready for the guests you invited over.

Make room in the coat closet.

6. Cooking and Baking:

Make a cooking schedule. Figure out when to use the oven and stove for each dish.

Make some dishes ahead of time and freeze them.

Ask family or friends to bring a dish to share.

7. The Day Before the Feast:

Start cooking early and follow your plan.

Double-check your food and drink inventory

Set the table nicely with special plates and glasses (using paper this year). Think sustainable).

Create a music playlist and pick some movies to watch later.

8. Day of the Feast:

Check with guests bringing food to make sure everything's okay.

Have a spot for nibbles, appetizers, and drinks.

9. Take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Enjoy the holiday with your family and friends.

Ask someone to take photos and videos to remember the day.

-Play games or watch your holiday movies

10. Cleaning Up After All the Fun:

Plan how to clean up dishes and the kitchen. Who can you recruit to help?

Use recycling and trash bins for garbage.

Keep some leftovers and send some home with guests.

11. After the Holiday:

Thank people for any gifts you received.

Decide what to do with the Christmas tree.

Wrap up decorations to store or donate.

Journalize your experience and get inspired for the new year.

In summary, Operation Organized Christmas turns holiday stress into success with smart planning. Start by setting a budget and guest list. Make your space festive in "Decorating the House." Be thoughtful in "Gift Giving" with a list and budget. Plan your feast carefully and make space for guests.
When "cooking and baking," follow a schedule and collaborate. The "Day Before the Feast" and "Day of the Feast" need attention to detail. Post-celebration, tidy up, express gratitude, and handle leftovers responsibly. "After the Holiday," reflect, thank, and plan for the next year. Keep it simple, stay organized, and enjoy a joyful holiday season.

Visit the "Holiday Organizing Challenge" with Mercury Organizing's Facebook group.(Challenge ended; visit again next year.)


Blog post by Elizabeth Lulu Miranda: Lulu has been working as a home and office organizer in Chicago for over 15 years. She brings new perspectives on how to have an organized life. Writing for the Mercury Organizing blog “Create the Flow" and her personal blog “What would Lulu Do?"

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