Stress-Free Holiday Shopping, Party and Wrapping Tips

Organization guest Liz Watts tells how to give yourself a break during the hectic holiday season.

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Professional organizer and Mission: Organization guest Liz Witts offers web-exclusive tips.

OK, the holidays are supposed to be happy, but there is nothing in there about stress and clutter! Give yourself a break at this hectic time of year with these tips:


  • Start early. We all say we are going to do all our shopping in July, but it doesn't happen. Try shopping a little throughout the year, as you see items that the folks on your list would like.

  • As you purchase gifts, try to wrap them right away. This will save precious time when it comes to the December crunch! Don't forget to put a label on them, or a gift tag, so you know who it is for when it comes time for gift giving.

  • If time is a factor, shop online. You can sit in your PJs and order at any time of day, and those goodies will be delivered right to your door. It is a good idea to keep a list of what you purchased and for whom so you don't buy more than what you need for each person on your list.

Party Time

As if this time of year is not busy enough, we often decide to throw a party, too! It was a great idea when we thought about it in the calm of September, but without being organized, we might feel overwhelmed with the thought in December.

  • Relax! Create your guest list on the computer, and print labels to save time addressing those invitations. You could even create an online invitation for friends and family. They might even thank you for reducing their paper clutter. Plus, this will give you an easy way to track responses.

  • If you go the paper invitation route, keep a list of invited guests by the phone so that when you get an RSVP, you can check it off on your list.

  • As far as food is concerned, try saving recipes throughout the year that interest you. This will save you time hunting down ideas at the last minute. Another option is to order food online and have it delivered right to your front door. Many companies will ship out everything from steak to chocolate ice cream on dry ice.

Wrapping It Up

This is supposed to be the fun part, but last-minute wrapping is a common problem that happens to all of us. Here are some super-easy ideas that still keep your gifts festive:

  • Use holiday gift bags with bright tissue paper.

  • Another idea is to use a holiday box. Just place the gift in the already festive box, put the lid on, stick an adhesive bow on top, and you are all set.

  • When it is time to wrap multiple gifts, make sure you have all your supplies on hand. Keep ribbons organized by color and type in clear shoeboxes with a label. Rolls of wrapping paper can be stored in a wrapping paper holder, or in a clear bin under your bed.

Happy Holidays!

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