During the holiday season you should be festive, not frenzied! The holidays can be stressful, between decking the halls to hosting family and friends for dinner, there is no shortage of tasks on your to-do list. The best way to stay festive (and stress-free) is to stay organized, and not be afraid to take a break every now and then.
Start wrapping presents early, but add ribbons, bows, and tags later (label gifts with sticky notes so that you don’t forget who gets what). Unadorned boxes are stackable and, as a result, will be easy to store and transport.
Think Small for Decor
A full-size Christmas tree may make a big impression in your home, but don’t underestimate little ones. Miniature potted evergreens, arranged along a hallway or by the fireplace, add a lovely — and living — touch. Rotate them throughout the season so that they get sufficient light. After the holidays, plant them outdoors.
Tackle To-Dos in Good Company
If you consider writing and addressing holiday cards to be more tedious than fun, don’t trudge through the process alone. Invite friends over for an evening of “card pooling” (or gift wrapping or cookie baking). With a bottle of wine and more than a few laughs, the task will be an easy and enjoyable one to cross off your list.
Keep Universal Tokens on Hand
Chances are you’ll need some last-minute gifts, either for an unannounced guest or for friends who extend 11th-hour invitations. Stock up on a few items that would appeal to almost everyone (including you, should they still be in your care come January). Several jars of locally made preserves are good to have on hand, as are beautifully wrapped soaps and bottles of wine.
Tend the Bar
Take inventory of liquor-cabinet staples, including tonic water and other mixers, and restock those that are running low. Also chill a few bottles of Champagne, as the best holiday fetes are often spontaneous. I also like to stock my coffee and espresso bar, because you never know who may pop in unexpectedly.
Put gratuities into personalized cards. Amounts vary by region and length of service. Here are some basic guidelines: cleaning person, one week’s pay; newspaper carrier, up to $30; babysitter, one night of sitting, plus a gift from your children.
Buy Baking Staples
Cut back on last-minute grocery trips by stocking up on baking ingredients early. Be sure you have the basics you’ll need most often: butter, flour, granulated and brown sugars, baking powder and soda, yeast, and vanilla extract.
Remember to Unwind
During the merry mayhem of cocktail parties and shopping-mall jaunts, it’s important to enjoy some peace and quiet every so often. Before your schedule fills up, pencil in a few personal hours (or even days). Solidifying the plans, whether buying advance tickets to an afternoon movie, going to the spa, or making an appointment for a manicure, ensures that the much-needed downtime won’t be passed over for more-pressing errands. One of my favorite things to do is to cozy up on the sofa with a cup of espresso, and relax while I re-charge. There’s nothing like making a hot cup of espresso at home and enjoying the flavor and delicious aromas.
I’ve been a fan of Peet’s Coffee for years, and whenever I see one, I must stop. But, now I can have their dark, rich, and intense espresso daily at home. The Peet’s Coffee Espresso Capsules are compatible with Nespresso Original machines, which makes it simple to brew at home. The capsules are made of aluminum, and they are colored so you can easily tell which flavor is which. My personal favorite is the Ristretto blend. This flavor is quite rich, and keeps me energized during these busy holiday months. You can purchase these capsules easily on Amazon.com or Peets.com.
Anyone else love Peet’s Espresso Capsules? How do you stay organized and stress free during the holidays? I’d love to hear!