The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!

The approach of the holidays can push some people into super-stress-mode. I’m hoping to provide a few tips to make your life a bit easier. I think a key component to tackling this or any project is organization – something I learned during my days in the corporate world of operational and strategic planning while having several projects to manage at one time.

While a formal plan seems a bit much for most folks, breaking down tasks on lists can be very helpful. I actually use spreadsheets to plan gift buying, party planning, etc. and I use them year-round. When using a spreadsheet, you can track and budget for the occasion at hand. I build a timeline to schedule shopping, sewing, baking, writing out/mailing cards, etc. Although making and baking gifts are a bit tedious, these items are truly made with love specifically for that person on my list. (Last Christmas, I sewed all of my Christmas cards for family members!)

My gift spreadsheets are for 1) friends and family, and 2) clients. Family members “wish lists” are modified and maintained throughout the year (plus I ask what they’d like for an upcoming occasion). These items are saved for this or future occasions. Both spreadsheets detail who received what items and/or what card for past occasions … a history per se. I’d hate to give the same client homemade brownies 2 years in a row.

I use an event planning and party planning spreadsheet as more of a guide to make sure that all details are addressed and nothing is forgotten. I use a fill-in-the-blank format, add the details for the event, add in my budget, and go.

Hopefully, you will find building lists or even spreadsheets to organize your holiday season lessens your stress and makes the process of gift giving easier.

Happy Stress-free Holidays!