Skip to main content
How to Organize Your Life BlogOrganizing the Things in your Life

5 Tips to Stop Procrastinating Around the Holidays

By November 21, 2021May 31st, 202410 Comments

What is it about the holidays that makes some people put off shopping until last possible minute? I know a few who intentionally delay shopping until Christmas Eve. Then they complain about the crowds, the lack of inventory, the amount of money they spent, and how late they stayed up wrapping gifts. They say they wish they would do things differently. If this is you and you want to stop procrastinating around the holidays, read on, I have tips for you.

Mindfully think about procrastinating around the holidays

Take some time to reflect. Why do you think your feet are stuck in the sand? What’s preventing you from taking action and shopping sooner?

Be honest with yourself and then evaluate the following roadblocks and solutions. Decide if you are falling victim to one of them and then figure out what you are going to change so that you stop this vicious cycle.

Here are some possible roadblocks and solutions to consider

The roadblock is the holidays start too soon

In October stores start putting up Christmas decorations in their shops. Christmas cards adorn the card section of the local grocery store. Everything is red, green, blue, and white and we haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving yet.

The solution:

Decide when you will be ready to start thinking about the holidays. Is it November first, right after Thanksgiving, or do you want to wait until the first week in December? Once you determine when you will feel ready, push yourself into action to stop procrastinating around the holidays.

The roadblock is you want to buy the “perfect gift”

You are waiting to determine the perfect gift for each person. You want to wait and do your shopping all at once. Since you don’t have the perfect gift idea for everyone on your list, you are waiting. You could be waiting a very long time.

The solution:

In organizing, we often talk about ‘good enough’ as it applies to an organizing problem. When you are considering what to buy someone as a gift think about what comes close enough to being perfect. We all know there is no such thing as truly perfect. Is your idea close enough to perfect to pass muster?

If this solution doesn’t work for you, try switching gears completely and think outside the box. What can you give that will strike a chord with the recipient? Think about a gift of service.  Can you take care of the children for an afternoon? Would they like some gardening help or some chores done around the house? Be creative.

Another option is to write a thoughtful card. You can tell the person how much their friendship means. That is a gift to treasure.

The frustration is that you are running out of time

There are so many gifts to get and so little time. You feel overwhelmed and like you will never be able to get it all done, so why try.

The solution:

Make a list of all the people you want to give gifts. Get out a paper calendar and decide how many people you will shop for each day until you are finished. When you do a little each day it is much easier to conquer the list and move forward.

Recognize that you can make some gifts as well as give gifts of your time.

The problem is that you don’t like to wrap

Maybe the reason you’re procrastinating around the holidays is that you don’t like to wrap gifts, or you think you don’t do a good enough job wrapping.

The solution:

Don’t let your dislike for wrapping paralyze you. Use the combination of a pretty gift bag and tissue paper. They make wrapping easy for people who dislike wrapping. You can find them at the grocery store in addition to places like The Container Store, Target, Walmart, and CVS to name a few.

The best tip to stop procrastinating around the holidays is to decide to engage as much as is comfortable for you. When you are comfortable the holidays will take on a different feel. The overwhelming feeling goes away so you can relax and find joy in the little things.

For more tips on planning and prioritizing sign up for Diane’s monthly newsletter.  

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.


  • My husband usually shops at the last minute, but secretly I think he likes that hustle and bustle that happens at the end. Me, I want to be done by December 1st, so I can focus on baking and celebrating with friends. Shopping on the internet has made it much easier to holiday shop with less stress for me.

  • Seana Turner says:

    In our town one of the youth organizations offers wrapping services for a donation of any amount. It is such a great idea because it provides a needed surface and you feel less guilty about not doing the wrapping because you are helping a good cause!

  • Great advice! Another advantage to using bags instead of wrapping paper is that they’re reusable! Instead of single-use wrapping paper that gets thrown away immediately, bags can simply be stored and used again the next year.

  • As I read your holiday procrastination obstacles and solutions, it occurred to me how much unnecessary stress we can add to this season. With some planning, letting go of perfect, and reframing, the stress can be alleviated. When we’re stuck, it can be challenging to think clearly. I love the different suggestions you made to workaround the stuckness. I can see people having some ah-ha moments as they read your wisdom.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    While I don’t procrastinate on holiday-related tasks, it’s probably because my participation in the holidays is limited. (Small family, no co-workers or little kids, and I don’t celebrate Christmas). But I do think I struggle with some rebellion against the ramp up to the holidays getting earlier and early. My father used to annoy my mother on July 4th by saying, “Well, the summer is over.” On the one hand, the summer (like the holiday season seemingly starting with Halloween) seems to stretch out ahead of us; on the other, it all whooshes by so quickly! Your advice provides nice bumpers to soften that blow.

    Also, I can’t wrap any gift that isn’t perfectly square; it ends up uneven and with way too much tape. I let the good people at Amazon make a box my wrapping, but if necessary, you can get lovely gift bags and tissue paper at dollar stores and party shops. Put a floof of tissue on top and nobody has to know that I’m all thumbs! 😉

Skip to content