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The Holidays are Almost Here. Are You Prepared?

By December 15, 2019April 13th, 2020How To Organize, How to Organize Your Life Blog

We all know the holidays are coming. Television and email ads have bombarded us for months now. My local tv station gives a countdown – and today marks 9 days until Christmas and only 8 more shopping days. Nothing like a little pressure.

Are you overwhelmed?

Gifts need to be purchased and delivered, holiday parties given and/ or attended, holiday dinners organized, and holiday outfits put together.

Giving Gifts:

While the intentions of the massive amounts of advertising are to give us ideas of things to give our loved ones, they also give us the feeling that if we aren’t out there shopping, we’re not fulfilling holiday promises.

All any of us can do is our best when giving gifts. If you think about the person and look for a gift that not only is something the person may want or need but also fits within our gift giving budget, then you are golden.

Parties and Dinners:

Recently on the blog, I’ve talked a lot about giving parties and attending dinners. All that advice holds true for holiday parties and dinners. Here are the basic steps to follow:

  1. Design a menu for the party
  2. Shop for non-perishable items in advance
  3. Schedule time to pick up the perishable items
  4. Schedule time to decorate and set the table
  5. Keep the conversation light and friendly
  6. Relax and enjoy the party yourself – knowing that you’ve planned everything to the extent possible
  7. If something doesn’t go as planned, breathe because you’re the only one who knows the plan

Holiday Outfits:

Holiday clothes are on sale now. If you don’t have an outfit put together yet, this week is a good time to shop. Take advantage of the fact that the holidays are around the corner.

Attitude is everything:

When Christmas day arrives, remember that you’ve done everything you can to plan for a wonderful day. You can only control yourself and your reactions, not those of other people. If someone isn’t as thrilled as you had hoped with the day that is on them.

Decide that it is going to be a good day. Enjoy the day off. Appreciate the decorations, the music and the companionship of those with whom you spend the day.

Focus on what is, not on what is not.

When the feeling of overwhelm creeps up on you, breath. Think back to the planning you have done. Then relax. Everything is under control. Let the holidays unfold. Participate in the festivities and enjoy!

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization


  • Good advice for every day! “Focus on what is, not on what is not.”

  • Seana Turner says:

    I truly resonate with your suggest to focus on all the good that IS instead of the few things that are NOT. This year particularly people seem to be feeling behind. I think the short season is a big part of that. One minor snafu and it is easy to find yourself overwhelmed. I’ve been telling clients all week to just let a few things go. The holidays will not be a “fail” if a certain decoration doesn’t get put out, or a certain party has to be skipped. Sometimes, the best moments are simply sitting together in a warm room with a favorite drink. No bling needed.

  • Yes. “Focus on what is, not on what is not.” I think most holiday stress comes from having unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. And focusing on what cannot be, or what is outside of our control, sometimes prevents us from enjoying what can be, and what is within our control.

  • Your beautiful phrase, “Focus on what is, not on what is not.” resonated with me too. That suggests the quality of presence and gratitude. One of the things I’ve been especially aware of over the last decade is how holiday traditions change and morph over time as people move or pass away. There have been times I’ve felt sad that treasured traditions are no more. But I’ve also come to recognize that as some fade away, they make way for new ones to emerge.

    For me, this season will include some different ways of celebrating. Instead of focusing on the traditions I’ll miss, I want to lean in towards the new ways of celebrating.

  • “Focus on what is, not on what is not.” also stood out to me as excellent advice for the holiday season. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips. Happy Holidays!