It’s that time of year! Now that Halloween is behind us, the holiday season is entering full-throttle mode. The annual planning scramble for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa is at hand. No matter how you celebrate and who you exchange gifts with, the holidays present additional challenges this year. Gathering with friends and family in person will be different at best, and even casual gift exchanges will be more complicated. While it may seem manageable at first glance, the rush of activity can quickly spiral into chaos without a plan and the tools to get gifting done.
Take a deep breath. Getting organized for the holidays in advance will tame the turmoil and ensure Christmas gifts get to your loved ones on time. These 6 tips to get organized for the holidays will smooth the way.
- Write a list of the friends and family members you typically give gifts to. This year, you’ll likely need to ship more of your gifts, so add the addresses for each recipient.
- Add gift ideas for each person on your list. Note where you’ll find them online or at your favorite local stores. If your family members make their own wish lists, ask for them as early as possible this year.
2. Set up your calendar. Now that you know who you’re buying for, get your target shipping dates on a calendar. Try a shared Google Calendar with your immediate family members to schedule shared holiday events and tasks. You can even add reminders that will pop up on your screen so you don’t forget anything.
Work your way backward from your ship dates. Add time for gift shopping, wrapping gifts, packing, and shipping. The more detailed your plan, the more likely you will get each task completed on time while reducing holiday anxiety.
If you love a physical calendar, use a Stickies Planner. They stick on any shiny surface (perfect for your refrigerator) and can be reused all year.3. Create a wrapping station and use it frequently. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to wrapping. Wrapping all your gifts at once becomes an overwhelming chore, especially if you wait until the last minute. Set up a designated wrapping station with all the materials. Staying on top of wrapping will be a breeze.
- A well-organized wrapping station doesn’t need to take up a lot of space. A corner in your laundry or guest room is an ideal spot. Arrange the space with gift wrap, stacks of tags, a basket full of bows, and of course, lots of tape. Keep a pair of scissors handy, and you’ll be ready to wrap your gifts every time you return from shopping.
- Take your gifts directly to the wrapping station and set aside time every few days to wrap and tag your gifts. In just a few minutes a day, you can wrap your gifts and organize them for delivery.
4. Ship early and check the method. If we’ve learned anything about shopping online and shipping this year, it’s that we’re all doing more of it. It’s been a windfall for both e-commerce sites and shipping companies. Still, both are experiencing delays resulting from the influx of demand and the complications of social distancing.
Ship your holiday gifts well in advance of your gift exchange, and make sure you’re using a shipping method that guarantees delivery in time for your celebration. “Free standard shipping” may take as long as 5-7 business days. If your timeline is short, check your options and consider upgrading to an expedited method that promises faster delivery.
Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals will give you plenty of time to receive gifts, wrap them and ship them with time to spare. Sign up for email notifications from your favorite vendors so you know about their Black Friday deals and remember to shop them.
Spending time together will be more enjoyable and relaxing when you know your holiday shopping is done and your gifts have arrived in plenty of time.
5. Drop ship when you can. Save money and reduce your stress by shipping your holiday gifts directly to your friends and family. Even your favorite local shops are experienced shippers. The holiday gifts you buy in their stores can be shipped directly to your loved ones, often wrapped beautifully at no extra charge.
Don’t forget teacher gifts! If you have school-aged children, you know their teachers have worked harder than ever this year. If school has moved online, teachers may not be able to receive holiday gifts at their school. Never fear, teachers LOVE gift cards (and whiteboards) and they can be sent directly to their inbox. Grab one now, and cross someone off your list.
6. Plan an Online Gift Exchange. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate with loved ones. Spending time together may mean meeting online, but you’ve got this. Organize your holiday event with familiar tools. Schedule your gift-giving with online meeting tools like Google Meet or Zoom. Ensure everyone gets the spotlight when they are opening their gifts so it feels like a holiday at home.
To make the “meeting” feel special, take it outside your home office to your family room full of holiday decorations. Prepare Christmas goodies and drinks to enjoy so the holiday mood is complete.
Want to amp up your online holiday plan? Consider spending time together with a family-friendly online experience. Check out an intimate magic show or scavenger hunt to set a festive mood and bring all ages together. And if you’re celebrating with friends (kids not invited), try a cocktail class or tango lesson. All of these can be scheduled for private groups, so your friends and family will have your undivided attention.
Getting organized for the holidays this time of year means planning carefully and buying gifts early. Use your wrapping station frequently and think creatively about how to spend time with your friends and family. Follow these tips and your Christmas planning will not only be painless, but the holiday will feel special, even though it’s a little different this year.