Be organized to remember everything
Santa’s workshop must be overflowing with lists! Do the same! Make one for gifts, one for food purchases and another one for the things to do each week. This way, you won’t forget anything. Before you go shopping, prepare an itinerary. “For every 15 minutes you spend planning, you’ll save four hours in the end! ", says Caroline Rochon, professional organizer. “Events shouldn’t manage your life; you should manage them!”
The calendar is your best friend!
Make a list of everything you have to do for Christmas. Write down everything! Christmas parties, children’s shows, shopping, ironing, sending cards, cleaning the house, getting the turkey out of the freezer, buying fresh bread, etc. Then print everything on transparent tags and stick each tag on a specific time slot. Start with events with a precise date and time, and then place your other tasks strategically.
- Print out the same task as many times as you’ll need to do it if you think you won’t complete it all at once.
- Keep a few empty time slots for unforeseen events.
- Do this exercise in reverse from the date of your reception; it will help you remember everything.
- Save your list because it will certainly be useful next year.
Prepare for the coming years
Buy plastic covers in different colors in which you’ll put your favorite recipes, decoration ideas, unused greeting cards, etc.
And don’t forget to delegate! Your spouse and children have to help you out. Have a Christmas family meeting to talk about everything that needs to be done and assign specific tasks to each family member.
- Place Christmas balls in large transparent vases around the house (bathroom, corridor, on the fireplace, in the bedrooms, etc.). You can mix colors or make many single-color vases and scatter them around the house.
- Take two bags of fresh cranberries, pins with a silver or pearl tip and a Styrofoam cone as a tree. Pin cranberries around your tree. Many grocery stores sell little rosemary trees. It’s a very cool way to decorate and spread a nice smell around the house.
- Put citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges) in transparent vases.
- Add gold ribbons to brighten your arrangement or cedar branches for a touch of green!
Final blow before your guests’ arrival!
In the weeks preceding your big reception, try not to focus on the few household chores that you’ll have to do just before your guests’ arrival.
Smells play an important role in a house, especially when having people over. Use a slightly lemony scent for a cool effect, a hint of cinnamon for a festive atmosphere, sweetened cranberries for warmth, etc. Choose whatever works best for you.
- As a seating mark-up, attach two Christmas balls with a bright ribbon or string to label with your guests' names.
- Buy one wine glass per guest and a set of crayons to write on the glasses. Ask your kids to write the guests names on the glasses and decorate them. It's an original way to designate where each guest should sit while them a little souvenir.
- Choose a classic and neutral tablecloth with which you'll be able to create new looks for almost nothing. "You can add a few decorations, such as snowflake coasters, to create a very nice effect", mentions Caroline Rochon.
- Why not try a black tablecloth with silver accessories? Add a tinsel of lights between the plates and small chocolates. Light effect guaranteed!
In early January, you will need to put everything out to be able to get them out once again next November! A long never-ending cycle! "You have to buy storage boxes for your decorations right now, as there will be nothing left in January!"
- Get a storage box for your Christmas wreath to keep its nice shape and look.
- To store all your decorations, you can get bins with special compartments made for Christmas balls and tinsels, or simply use egg cartons.
- There’s always an order in which we need stuff when we start preparing for Christmas, so store things accordingly. Make a box that will be the first one to be opened next year in which you will put unused greeting card and other useful trinkets for early Christmas preparations. Proceed the same way with other boxes and label them by specifying what is in the box.
No stress, please!
Finally, there’s no need to aim for perfection! Don’t try to be a supermom and learn to delegate. For example, let your spouse or children be responsible of gift wrapping! Not everything will be done to perfection, but it’s no big deal! Make the experience fun for everyone and do it in a joyful and loving atmosphere. Put some music on, have a glass of wine, make hot chocolate for the kids, etc. Change your entire attitude towards Christmas preparations. Don’t see it as a boring chore but rather as a great opportunity to spend some time together.
Special thanks to Caroline Rochon, professional organizer and President of de À la Carte, Services d’organisation.