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Tips for Staying on Top of Things During the Busy Holiday Season

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Santa Claus is not the only busy person checking their list and checking it twice during the month of December.  The holiday season is glorious and magical, but it can also be hectic and stressful. Many of us are hard-wired to try to do everything- from decorating to baking to gift-buying. That is a lot of pressure and can often be unattainable without a plan to stay organized and check things off our own lists.  

So, sit down at your kitchen table with a nice cup of tea, a pad and pen, and stare down your wall calendar because you are about to take on December like the boss you are.  

The Ultimate To-Do List 

When it comes to December, even your lists have lists, which is why you must start early and be thorough. It does not have to be overwhelming. Just put on your organization hat and start writing. Ask yourself what needs to be accomplished to make your holiday season run smoothly until that ball drops on the 31st.  

An example of a big picture to-do list should include items about preparing the house including cleaning and decorating inside and out. 

Living Room or Family Room 

Begin cleaning the room that is most used or the one that will be home to a Christmas tree. This is a great time to do some deep cleaning because you will likely be moving furniture and other items around to make room for decorations.  

Ah decorations…where are they? In the garage? In the attic? Get them out soon so you can check for any ornaments that might be broken and to see if all those tangled strands of lights still work.  

Bedrooms & Bathrooms 

These rooms always need a little tidying and decluttering, especially if there are kids who don’t throw their laundry in a hamper or empty their wastebaskets. This is also the perfect time to take stock of your linens. Do you have enough fresh sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels to accommodate guests who may be staying during Christmas and New Year’s Day? Check your supplies of toiletries, hand soaps, tissues, and toilet paper. These are critical items you do not want to run low on.  


This is the room where your daily or weekly planner will be a lifeline when referring to what you need for planning family meals, baking cookies and other treats, and stocking your bar for celebrations. Let the multiple lists begin! 

• Use that wall calendar to map out meals for the month. One-pot recipes like soups and stew are easy and satisfying, especially when your obligations begin to stack up.

• Stock your pantry with staple items and special ingredients for family favorites.

• Take a look at your recipes before you begin making cookies and candies. Load up on sugar, flour, butter, chocolate, and other baking supplies because you never want to run out of something critical when you are elbow-deep in cookie dough.

• Don’t forget the beverages- additional purchases of sodas, juices, eggnog, beer, and wine will keep you and your guests happy and hydrated.

• A few prepared frozen dishes won’t be remiss when a quick meal is needed to feed your hungry bunch or to serve to unexpected guests.

Presents & Stocking Stuffers 

Some may say this is the best list of all. So, who has been naughty, and who has been nice? Making a list of all you need to buy and then setting a budget is a good place to start. Deciding on something special to purchase for everyone on your shopping list can be daunting. It is okay to give yourself a break and rely on go-to items like warm wear, books, gift cards to favorite stores, or homemade cookies and other desserts.  

And if You Are Traveling… 

Travel can add another overwhelming element to your plans for staying organized through the holidays. Consult that wall calendar again, and plan your days accordingly whether you are driving, flying, or riding the rails.  

• Book tickets, hotels, and rental cars early because everyone knows they disappear quickly during holiday travel season.

• Check your luggage. Do you have enough pieces and are they in working order? Do they all have nametags?

• Are you traveling from one climate to another? If going from warm weather to freezing temperatures prepare to pack cold weather gear.

• Staying fed and hydrated can make even the grumpiest traveler a little happier. Add some easy, high-protein snacks to your grocery list plus some bottles of water.

• Winter weather can turn on a dime so making a list of nearby accommodations can alleviate some stress just in case you have layovers or if travel is canceled altogether.

The Great Outdoors 

Now that you have a comprehensive list of all of your indoor tasks and activities make sure you do not forget to make a list of the things that are important outside.  

• Do not wait to stock up on firewood. Make sure you have a supply to get you through all of the cozy fires you want to enjoy during the holidays.

• Do you live in an area that might receive snow or sleet? Ensure that there are no slippery outdoor surfaces by keeping some bags or buckets of salt and snow shovels.

• Don’t forget your furry or feathery friends. Fill bird feeders and make sure outdoor pets have bowls of food and water.

• Winter weather can be dramatic so prepare for emergencies by watching the weather and keeping a store of flashlights and batteries, candles and matches, and ready-to-eat food.

Divide, Delegate, and Conquer 

Now that you have filled in something on all the days on your handy wall calendar and made those lists and checked them twice, it is time to acknowledge that you can’t do it alone.  

To ensure that everyone has a relaxing, enjoyable holiday season it is important to share the responsibilities, so it all doesn’t fall on one person. Maybe your to-do lists should be called your accomplishment lists because by the end of the month you will feel a sense of satisfaction and gratitude for a job well-done. 

Share the gift of staying on top of important holiday events with a House of Doolittle wall calendar or monthly planner. Happy Holidays!