The season of giving is here! For some of us, it means getting to pass out the gifts we’ve been carefully stockpiling all year. For most of us, though, it means we’ll be in crunch time right up until December 24th. It’s a bit ironic that bringing joy to our loved ones comes with so much inevitable stress. If you’re hoping to better organize your gift-giving this year, we’ve got your back.
Lists, lists, lists!
If you’re more Type A, this could sound like fun. If you’re more Type B, though, it might feel a little silly. Try to bear with us! There’s a lot to be said for plotting things out concretely rather than letting them just bounce around in your head. At the very least, if you’re falling short somewhere, you’ll see it coming rather than getting a nasty surprise the weekend before Christmas!
Whether it’s expansive or just a few columns on a sticky note, jot down a full list of the people you’re planning on gifting to this year. If the one list is unwieldy, you can break it up into separate groups by age (ex: young children, teens, adults) or by event (ex: work party, large family gathering, Christmas morning).
You can adjust the format of your lists based on your gift-giving goals. The options are numerous–you can keep track of the number of gifts needed per person, ideas vs. what you’ve already shopped for, etc. For more ideas and even printable templates, we recommend this helpful article.
Planning ahead doesn’t just mean preparing for what you’ll be giving to others–it means preparing to be a receiver, too! Any parent knows the headache of working holiday gifts into already-cluttered kids’ rooms. So do yourself a favor and pare down before the influx comes!
Toys are the most obvious example, but it doesn’t hurt to identify your own problem areas ahead of time as well. Whether you’re a book lover, a kitchen gadget collector, a stationary freak, etc., give your most-gifted areas a quick glance and do your best to thin out what you don’t use/don’t love. You’ll thank yourself come January!
Recruit Sustainability to Your Team!
“Sustainability” can feel like a chore, especially over the busy holidays, but you can actually make it an ally! A big part of going eco-friendly is cutting out unneeded excess. Going sustainable with your gifts–like planning trips, baking, or hand-crafting rather than buying items–can cut down on the space taken up in your home, shopping time, etc. Check out our previous article for more ideas.
Making a Workstation
If you’re lucky enough to have a craft or wrapping room at home, we envy you! As organizers, we see every kind of household–the ones with dedicated year-round work rooms, the ones with designated holiday stations, and the ones that lose a table (or entire areas of the house!) to a mess of wrapping paper every holiday season.
If your home falls into the third category, we know your pain. Don’t despair, though. There are plenty of ways to take your space back! Making a wrapping station can go a long way toward containing the chaos. If it’s your first time, check out our guide from last year to get started.
Make a Schedule (and stick to it!)
Easier said than done, we know. If you’ve looked up productivity tips before, you’re probably sick of hearing it. But planning and accountability are repeated so often for a reason: they’re the cornerstone of keeping your goals on track. And, even when you fall short of your schedules, they do help!
Even if it’s only for 15 minutes, sit down with a calendar, your phone and a notebook (if you made your gifting lists, bring them along too). Evaluate the time you have between now and your gift-giving deadlines. A simple awareness, rather than putting off the thought for later, can make all the difference. That being said, the best way to make sure you keep up with your gifting is to actually put aside the time in your calendar. But how do you find the time?
Unless you know for a fact you’ll only have three back-to-back days in December to get all your shopping done, it’s probably not best to try doing everything at once. So go small!
Whether it’s an actual planner or an app on your phone, look for slots of time where you can slide in a trip to the store, a spare half-hour to browse online, etc. Add it to your calendar the same way you’d add any other appointment. For best results, budget a recurring slot (15 minutes once a week, for example) to review your progress. That way, you have time to adjust if you fall behind or if your plans change.
If you’ve been working with the previous tips, you’re already doing a lot to avoid procrastination. Scheduling and working in bite-sized chunks are go-to’s when it comes to goal-setting. If you’re still worried about your follow-through, though, there are plenty of other coping strategies available.
- Find an accountability partner. It’s very likely that someone in your circle is struggling just as much as you are. Link up, keep in touch, and team up for shopping or crafting sessions!
- Use alarms. If a “gifting” appointment has come up on your calendar but you’re dragging your feet on actually getting started, grab your phone and set a 15 minute timer (even if the time you scheduled was longer!). Tell yourself that you’ll stay on-task at least until the ringer goes off. Some work is better than none, and you may even be lucky enough to get into a zone that lasts long past the timer!
- Get into the holiday spirit! Put on a fun sweater, blast holiday music on your speakers, make some hot chocolate–take the opportunity to bring in your favorite rituals of the season. We only get to indulge once a year, after all. Why waste the precious time being stressed when we can try to make it fun?
Just remember: the stress around this time of year gets to everyone. You’re not alone! If you’re looking for some community to help work through the season, our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook is a great place to start. We’d love to hear from you!