Just because you’re working out of the house doesn’t necessarily mean you have more time to prepare for the impending holiday season.  In fact, trying to keep tasks for your work, your family, and the holidays separate may prove to be more of a problem than you anticipated, especially since you are already on such a tight schedule.  And yet, you feel like now that you have given up the commute and adopted what should be a flexible timetable, there’s no reason you can’t do it all.  In fact, you are correct.  Although it can be difficult to pare down your schedule in order to get everything done, all you really need is a comprehensive to-do list, and you should try to include the following items.

1.       Shopping.  This can be terribly time consuming, especially if you don’t have a plan.  So sit down and make a list of all the people who need gifts and try to brainstorm what you want to get them, how much to spend, and so on.  If you can find a way to streamline the process, say by ordering online or compiling generic gift baskets for the majority of recipients (with just a few special items for your family and closest friends) then you’re going to save a lot of time down the line.

2.       Decorating.  While it can be tempting to tackle the decorations on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are certain special items you’ll want to make a family affair (decorating the tree, lighting the menorah, and so on), but when it comes to putting up lights, hire a service or put your husband to work.  And as for other household decorations?  Get your kids on board with cutting out snowflakes and coloring gingerbread men to hang here and there for a festive and personalized atmosphere.

3.       Baking.  There’s no better time of year to get the house smelling like cookies, cakes, and breads than when the weather starts to turn cold.  So make sure to schedule in a day or two throughout the season to get your bake on.  You can not only use it to gratify your family, but also to donate to the food bank, your church, or friends who could use a sugary boost.

4.       Parties.  Sift through the invites and choose a couple of events to attend (your husband’s company party is probably a must, and you can’t miss out on your sister’s yearly soirée).  But don’t think you have to say yes to every Tom, Dick, and what’s-his-name that decides to send you an invite.  Choose the ones that are fun every year and avoid the rest.  This will save you both time and money you don’t want to waste.

5.       Family.  Don’t forget the most important part of any holiday: the family gatherings.  Whether they’re coming to your house to be fed and entertained or you’re driving or flying to visit them, make sure to budget your time accordingly.  Home prep can be easily derailed by coughing kids and other demands, so give yourself a buffer.  And remember that holiday travel is always more time-consuming than other seasons, so try to skip major travel days if at all possible.  After all, you want to be in good spirits for the one time of year your whole family gathers together.

Jennifer Kardish writes for Online PhD Programs where you can find information about various online colleges and find the school and program that is right for you.

Image source:  epicself.com

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