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When autumn hits, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year tend to come quickly, leaving us with a never ending list of things to do. While the song isn’t wrong by claiming it’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, it can certainly be the most stressful. Determining where to celebrate and with whom can be a challenge, as well as maintaining our homes, preparing for company, and finding the perfect location to store our decor.

As the age old English Proverb goes, the three phrases that sum up Christmas are, “...Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not Included.” These simple tips will help you maintain some order this holiday season, providing you with opportunities to enjoy, rather than worry.

Choose Your Priorities… And Make Yourself One!

Sit down with your partner to determine what your priorities are this holiday season. Who are you set on seeing, who can you do without seeing (crazy political relatives, perhaps?), and where are you willing to travelif at all. Most importantly, set aside time to do things that you personally want to do, even if that’s simply watching cheesy movies with your wee-ones while eating a tub of popcorn (we won’t judge). As much as you love all of those who are in your life, making that time for yourself and your own immediate family is important too.

Ready, set, go!

Get a head start. Create lists for both gifts and meals in order begin your shopping early. Doing so will allow you to wrap gifts several weeks beforehand, as well as make some side dishes to freeze, giving you less to do as the holiday draws near. No one wants to be basting a ham with one hand while tying a bow with the other, so start now and give yourself the gift of time to enjoy!

Deep Clean & De-Clutter, PRONTO. Like now… Go, go, go!

Give your home a deep-clean early in November so that you will only have to maintain it through the holidays. Trust us, the psychotic dance of the crazed cleaner isn’t a Christmas memory you’ll want your kids to have. A deep clean now will make a touch up when company comes over a breeze.

In order to de-clutter, rent a local self storage unit to pack away items you are replacing with Christmas decor. With sizes and prices designed to fit every price point, finding one that fits your budget won’t be difficult. Your home will feel less cramped, and when the season is over, you can place your holiday decor there for safekeeping the whole year through.

Create a “How Can I Help List”

When company comes over, people are always asking how they can help. Rather than pray to the heavens they simply leave you alone to do it yourself (cue laser-beam, back-off stare), have a list of assignments people can help you with readily available, so they can take tasks that are truly helpful (rather than annoying). One neat idea is to place all of the assignments on post it notes on the side of the fridge. When someone asks what they can do, point to the papers and let them grab one. Boo-ya.

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."
—Roy L. Smith

Remember, the season isn’t about the wacky, busy, holiday hustle we get into. It is a time to reflect on family, friendships and faith. And with a little extra planning through easy preparation and storage ideas, this winter will be one you’ll be able to enjoy.

Now go make some beautiful memories!