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  • Writer's pictureCathy Borg

Simplify Your Holiday Preparations: An Expert Guide to Getting Organized

Simplify, Organize, Celebrate: A Festive Guide to Holiday Preparations

50 something woman in Santa hear making heart symbol with hands

Does the prospect of decorating, gift wrapping, shopping, meal prep, and hosting guests get you in a lather?

Sit down. Take a few slow deep breaths! Now read this guide.

I'm sharing strategies that will have you stick-handling each holiday task with the finesse of a Maple Leaf hockey player. Let's make sure your festive to-dos are joyful experiences.

But, who am I kidding? Let's just shoot for better than last year!

The following is a list of suggestions for streamlining your holiday preparations. It's not for the Instagram perfectionist. Just for regular folks, on a budget of time and money. People like you and me who want to do the best we can, with what we've got. (I like to keep my money in my bank account. I bet you do too.)

First Suggestion - Simplify and Organize Your Decorating

Decorating your home for the holidays should be fun, not a slog. Picture a space that radiates festive cheer without inducing a headache. A few thoughts on how to achieve that:

Mantlepiece with evergreen boughs, fairy lights, red candles

1. Simplify Your Ornament Strategy:

  • Decorate the Mantelpiece:** If you have a fireplace, turn the mantelpiece into a focal point. Place a mix of larger and smaller ornaments along with greenery to draw attention to this showpiece.

  • Make a Grand Entrance: Make your entryway welcoming. Hang a wreath on the front door or ornaments from the ceiling at varying heights. It's a fab display that sets the tone as guests enter.

  • Dining Table Delight: Boost your dining experience. Nestle ornaments within the centrepiece, make sure they complement rather than overpower the table setting.

2. Organize Decor by Theme:

I love a good theme. Don't you? It makes it so much simpler to come up with a put-together and gorgeous holiday look. Here are some theme-based decor examples:

  • Winter Wonderland: Decorate with silver and blue ornaments, white twinkling lights, and faux snow accents. Incorporate snowflakes and icicles for an enchanting touch.

  • Rustic Charm: How about a warm and rustic theme with earthy tones? Use burlap ribbons, wooden ornaments, and pinecone accents. Make it cozier with warm fairy lights and cinnamon-scented candles.

  • Modern Minimalism: Keep it simple with a modern minimalistic theme. Choose a monochromatic colour scheme, perhaps white and gold. Decorate sparingly with sleek ornaments and geometric shapes for a chic and sophisticated look.

Dining table centrepiece with fairy lights, pine branches

3. Integrate Simple Everyday Items:

Let your holiday decor blend in with your day-to-day surroundings. Consider these:

  • Bookshelf Brilliance: Sprinkle small ornaments among the books on your bookshelf. This unexpected touch adds a subtle festive vibe without being too much.

  • Kitchen Creativity: Hang festive touches like miniature wreaths on cabinet handles or put out holiday-themed dish towels. It brings a bit of holiday cheer into a space often overlooked.

  • Nature's Touch: Co-mingle natural elements like pinecones, twigs, and evergreen branches into your décor. Place them in vases or incorporate them into wreaths for a naturally pleasing look. (They smell good too.)

As you can see, being strategic about placing ornaments, sticking to a theme, and integrating holiday elements into your everyday surroundings, really helps create a festive atmosphere without breaking the bank.

Second Suggestion - Simplify and Organize Gift Wrapping: The Art of Presentation

Gift wrapping is an art that adds a personal touch to your holiday presents. Let's take a look at how to make this task delightfully easy:

1. Customized Gift Tags: Create personalized gift tags that add flair:

  • Handwritten Notes: On the tag, write a short note to the recipient. It could be a personal message, a favourite quote, or even a holiday-themed joke.

  • Mini Wreath Tags: Craft mini wreaths using festive materials like twigs, berries, or even sprigs of pine. Attach a small card with the recipient's name for a rustic, charming gift tag.

  • Origami Tags: Create simple origami shapes, like stars or cranes, from festive-colored paper. Attach these to your gifts.

I don't know about you, but when I receive a special note that someone has taken the time to think about and write to me, I feel special. And isn't that what we want for the person we are giving the gift to? To let them know they are special to us.

round brown box with gingham ribbon & home made tag

2. Reusable Wrapping choices:

Use reusable and creative wrappings to hug Mother Earth. Consider cloth wrapping, ornate boxes, or even unusual materials that not only look fantastic but are also environmentally friendly. TEA TOWELS are the one gift that can also be a wrapping. Try Japanese furoshiki gift wrapping, which has been used in Japan since the Edo Period and involves wrapping gifts in reusable cloth. It’s also a great way to help reduce the 540 tons of plastic-finished, non-recyclable wrapping paper that Canadians throw away each year.

6 colourfully fabric wrapped gifts
furoshki - fabric wrapped gifts

3. Organize Gift Wrapping:

Streamline wrapping with an assembly line approach. Lay out all materials, from wrapping paper to ribbons, in an organized manner, making the wrapping process swift and enjoyable.

4. Simplify Shopping Strategies:

Whether you're an online enthusiast or prefer the in-store experience, strategic shopping strategies are essential for a hassle-free and enjoyable spree:

  • Lists: Craft a comprehensive shopping list to stay focused and efficient. This not only saves time but also prevents impulse purchases.

  • Online: If opting for online shopping, utilize wish lists and shopping carts to organize your selections. Take advantage of early sales and discounts to make the most of your budget.

  • Instore: For those who relish the in-store experience, choose off-peak hours to avoid crowds. Plan your route and stick to your list, ensuring a stress-free shopping adventure.

Young man shopping online for Christmas presents

Third Suggestion - Mastering Meal Prep: The Holiday Culinary Challenge

Holiday cooking can be a joyous affair with the right strategies in place. Let's simplify holiday meal preparation and get organized this festive season:

1. Simplify Pantry Organization:

Begin with a well-organized pantry. Group ingredients by type and discard any expired items. This ensures you have a clear view of what's available for your holiday culinary creations.

2. Organize Efficient Refrigerator Layout:

Optimize refrigerator space by designating specific areas for holiday ingredients. Keep frequently used items easily accessible and designate a space for leftovers, minimizing food wastage.

3. Prepare in Advance:

Take advantage of downtime by prepping ingredients in advance. Chop vegetables, marinate meats, and prepare sauces ahead of time, so you can focus on enjoying the festivities when the day arrives.

Young woman mixing flour with mother sharing a joke

Fourth Suggestion - Create Welcoming Spaces: Setting the Stage for Festive Gatherings

Preparing your home for guests involves more than just tidying up. Let's explore how to create welcoming spaces that set the stage for memorable gatherings:

1. Entrance Elegance:

Clear the entrance of clutter and create an inviting atmosphere. Consider seasonal decor and adequate lighting to make your home feel warm and welcoming from the moment guests arrive.

2. Organized Coat Closets:

Ensure your coat closet is guest-ready. Declutter excess items, provide ample hangers, and consider adding a basket for scarves and gloves, creating an organized space for winter gear.

3. Linen Closet Love:

Make bed linens and towels readily available for guests. Consider adding a touch of luxury with festive linens that add to the holiday ambiance in guest rooms.

Good luck with your holiday preparations. I hope you try a few of these suggestions for streamlining your holiday preparations. My wish for all of us is to create enjoyable and memorable experiences. Let's embrace the holiday spirit and allow the joy of the season to guide our preparations.

We're here to love and be loved in return.

Simplify, Organize, Celebrate.

Happy holidays to you!


Start a new stress-free tradition🎄 Let us help make it easier for you.

Contact us at In and Out Organizing. Working in person in the Greater Toronto Area.

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6 comentarios

Julie Bestry
Julie Bestry
12 dic 2023

Unless you have kids or grandkids, Hanukkah is a relatively sedate affair. Most people don't decorate beyond putting up the menorah, and even that is considered part of the religious and cultural ritual rather than decor. (The big deal is the food!) I've always been exhausted-by-osmosis seeing all the efforts that go into Christmas revelry, so I appreciate your common-sense approach. #3 in the first section sounds lovely; little touches sound so much prettier than covering every surface with decorations! And I've always been a fan of those furoshki for wrapping gifts. It's good for the environment, doesn't involve being good at wrapping (which I am not!), and it's so pretty! This is a great guide to a sensible but lovely…

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Cathy Borg
Cathy Borg
12 dic 2023
Contestando a

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Thank you too for the insight into Hannukah.

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Janet Barclay
Janet Barclay
11 dic 2023

#3 is my approach. We do little to no entertaining over the holidays, so we don't do much decorating, but I do like to put little Christmassy things on the wall unit and around the living room.

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Cathy Borg
Cathy Borg
11 dic 2023
Contestando a

I only host a dinner. However because my eating area is small I have to do some reorganizing and making sure there's room for coats and boots is a must.

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Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
11 dic 2023

The holidays are such a festive time of year. But for many, they can add extra stress. I love your suggestions for personalizing the holidays and making things flow more easily. The most important part is having time with family and friends. All the other stuff comes after.

One of the easy decorating things I do is with our outdoor potted plants. They die in the fall, so instead of planting little firs or things, I remove the plants and fill the pots with scented pine cones mixed with ones I collect from our yard. Then, I sprinkle the pine cones with glitter. It's easy to do and has a lovely scent when you pass them.

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Cathy Borg
Cathy Borg
11 dic 2023
Contestando a

Great idea. Oh I love it when it's simple.

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