There’s the old saying that goes, “Failure to plan is planning to fail,” and there’s no time of year where this is more of a game changer than the holidays. With just a little preparation, you’ll feel in control and everyone will think you have a team of elves helping you get everything done. Here are more than a couple of our favorite tricks to help you get organized for the holidays.

how to get organized

1) Put up Christmas decorations early…preferably while it’s still light out later and warm outside.

It’s easier to put holiday decorations up when you’re not standing in a pile of snow or being whipped around by wind and sleet. Plus, when Thanksgiving is over, all you need to do is flip the switch, and it’s Christmas!

2) Start craft projects early, too!

Get a head start of holiday crafts and homemade gifts, so you can take the time to enjoy making them as much as you’ll enjoy giving them. Invite friends and family over for a festive crafts party and make your gifts while spending time with the people who matter.

3) Make a to-do list, put it on a calendar and assign a deadline to every task.

The power of the brain dump! Get organized for the holidays by taking an hour or so to really plan out the holiday season will save you many days (and nights) of unnecessary worrying.

4) Make a gift list (and keep track of the gifts purchased).

More brain dump power! If you make a list of gift ideas (and keep it with you), when you see that perfect gift for that special someone, you can check your list and see if you already have something.

5) Create a gift wrap station…and wrap as you go!

Once you have a couple of gifts, wrap them up! If you wrap as you go, it won’t be such a daunting (or time-consuming) task at the end.

6) Make a Christmas card list (consider creating an e-card). vermont country store gift card

More lists! If you take the time to make a list of people you want to send cards to, you most likely won’t leave someone out. If you’re going “old school” and sending paper cards, think about inviting friends over for a “sip and sign” party. Everyone brings their Christmas cards, writes them out and readies them to send. All while enjoying holiday cheer and some tasty snacks!

7) Set a holiday budget.

This is a no-brainer yet so many of us spend blindly thinking it will make the holidays happier. Nothing takes away the joy of the holidays like a big fat credit card bill come January. Set a reasonable budget and turn it into a fun game!

8) Rearrange your schedule and move big projects, etc. to January when things quiet down.

With less on your to-do list and social calendar, you’ll have more time for holiday prep and holiday fun.

9) Take inventory of dinnerware, servingware, cookware, baking pans, and pantry essentials weeks ahead of time.

This gives you time to order anything you might be missing, like extra place settings, wine glasses, a new tablecloth, etc. It’s also a great time to clean and organize what you’ll need to set your holiday table.

10) De-clutter in anticipation for guests, celebrations, and to make room for gifts!

A clean, decluttered space is less stressful and more conducive to creating joy—any time of year. But when the holidays roll around, it rings even truer. Also, the sooner you prepare your  guest room for guests, clean out your closets, organize your pantry, and clean out the fridge, the more time you’ll have to really enjoy the holidays. Plus, a decluttered home is the perfect blank canvas for Christmas decorations.

11) Deep clean your home or hire a house cleaner to deep clean your home (think of it as a Christmas gift to yourself!)

This ties into the decluttering tip above. A clean home is not only ready for guests but it makes decorating and planning for the holidays more joyful too. A deep cleaned, decluttered home will help you get organized for the holidays by creating a space for everything and putting everything in its place.