The Complete Holiday Survival Guide: Decorating, Cooking & Shopping

How to Get Ready for Holiday Home Decorating

Whether you decorate for each separate holiday or just for the big one, decorating your home can be time consuming. It can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days to decorate your home. Be sure you have enough time set aside for the activity and that it isn't taking away from other things you might be enjoying more. Better yet, consider hiring a company like Ditch the Clutter to come in and decorate for you. You can focus on how to get ready for the holidays in other ways and still enjoy the beauty of a decorated home without the time and hassle.

  • Evaluate the investment of time vs. outcome. Don't go overboard with the decorations if there won't be people around to appreciate them anyway. Consider skipping it all together if you won't be home for the holidays.
  • Keep it simple. Have a theme and stick to it. When decorations are a mish mash of colors or styles, it makes the home feel cluttered.
  • This time of year isn't an excuse to buy more stuff. While festive tableware sounds fun and looks great in the movies, you then have to find places to store it the rest of the year. Tables can be made festive by using fabrics and accent pieces without the need to purchase once-a-year dish ware.
  • Use craft items to shift color and mood. Rather than purchasing many large decorative pieces for the holidays; ribbons, balls and bows can bring out the holiday spirit without taking up a lot of space.
  • Reuse older holiday decorations outside when they aren't quite as bright and fresh for the main rooms.
  • Don't skip the extra rooms. Will you have guests staying over? Be sure to add little touches to the guest rooms and the bathrooms. 

How to Get Ready for Holiday Cooking

The holidays are a wonderful time to try out new recipes and indulge in things we tend to avoid the rest of the year. However, it can also be stressful thinking about all the baked goods and expectations about home cooking. And that's not even considering what all that food is doing to our waist lines!

  • Focus on traditional family recipes. Almost every family has one or two tried and true family recipes. You know, the ones that everyone asks about when no one remembers to bring it... Be sure to include those in the meal planning for the holidays.
  • Delegate some of the work. If you are entertaining, be sure to recruit other family members to bring some of the dishes so you don't have as much to do. Coordinate who will be bringing what so there are no duplicates.
  • Borrow, don't buy. As clutter specialists, we'd be remiss if we didn't suggest you borrow extra pots and pans that are needed once a year instead of buying new ones. Who in your family has that big roaster for the turkey? Is there a neighbor who won't be needing their extra serving trays? 

How to Get Ready for Holiday Shopping

Another task that can be well organized for the holidays is shopping. Whether it's holiday gifts, the cooking and entertaining needs or even shopping for that beautiful party dress, stepping foot into stores this time of year can be very stressful.

  • Make lists. Have a list for what foods you will be cooking so you can use that to create a grocery list. Have a list for who you will be buying gifts for (and what the budget is) so that you can check off when complete. Have a list of events you will be attending and what attire you will need.
  • Shop online. From groceries to gifts, much of your shopping can be done online now. You'll save tons of time and lots of hassle by avoiding the stores all together.
  • Start early! The best way to get ready for the holidays is to start as soon as they end. There's no reason you can't start shopping the end of year sales for gifts you'll hang on to for next year. Just make sure you have a place to store them that you won't forget. Short of starting in January, start now. Each time you go to a store or shop on line, consider buying that gift that would be perfect for your mother-in-law. Doing a little bit over time is less stressful than heading out for a whole day.

You don't have to be stressed out about how to get ready for the holidays. Just remember to break it up and ask for help. And remember, Ditch the Clutter is available for many of your holiday needs.

What are your favorite ways to get ready for the holidays?