blog » December 5, 2017 by Nicole DeAvilla

Holiday Planning: Get Organized This Christmas With Joleen Peoples! by Nicole DeAvilla

5 years ago
Holiday Planning: Get Organized This Christmas With Joleen Peoples!

Busy and need help focusing and getting organized these last few weeks before Christmas? There is still time for an organized Christmas! We were excited to welcome Joleen Peoples, mother of two, creator of PeoplesLifeOnPaper Etsy shop and author of "Christmas With a Plan! A Week-by-Week Guide to Creating a Memorable Christmas," as our #30Seconds Twitter chat guest. Read on for Joleen's tips for an organized, less-stress holiday season!

Q: Why are holidays stressful?

Experts say holidays can be stressful because of high expectations, overspending, not doing everything you want to do. We expect Christmas to be “perfect,” regarding food, gifts, time with friends and family and when things aren’t perfect, we stress or get frustrated. The holidays also sometimes remind us of what we don’t have, what we can’t afford, what we are missing. To have the best Christmas this year, we should get organized and focus on what we have, and what we are able to make, buy and do.

Q: What are some ways to do this?

  • Start planning. Even if you haven’t yet, start now to organize the next few weeks so you fit everything in. Write down as much as you can – gift ideas, meals or desserts you’d like to try, decorating inspirations, etc. Take lots of photos of ideas.
  • Create a budget and really follow it. This is most important as it shows you up front what money you have or need to save.
  • Set realistic goals that work for you and your family such as host only one gathering, or see one holiday show or volunteer at one event. And, adjust as the weeks progress, so if you haven’t made custom truffles to mail to relatives yet, maybe do that next year.
  • In an ideal world, planning would begin in November, or even in October. We’ll save that for next year!

Q: You suggest people use planners to reduce stress – and you have created more than 40 of them including one for Christmas. How do they help?

Planners give people visual guides of what to do when, and help them really think about all the tasks that go into reaching any goal. I started creating planners for myself when my kids were little, my time was limited – and my brain wasn’t always where it should be. Planners helped get me on track – and were great to refer back to for things like planning a great Christmas.

Planners also helped me be realistic and focus on what I reasonably could accomplish with the money and time available. I gave some of my planners away as gifts and realized they could help lots of people get organized and de-stress.

Q: How does a Christmas planner work?

Christmas planners encourage you to focus on the many little steps that make a great holiday. They have pre-written worksheets and lists to brainstorm, organize and plan budgets, menus, gift lists, photos, cards, holiday outfits.

Planners are a place to keep those recipes, magazine articles, photos, etc., of ideas you gather in the weeks and months before Christmas. They also include ways to involve kids, build new traditions, try new activities and make great memories.

Q: Christmas is less than three weeks away. Is it too late to use a planner?

With such a short time to go before Christmas, a planner might be just the thing to get you on track. Start by setting simple goals for the next three weeks and writing them down in your planner. This includes parties, baking, shopping, cards.

Planners should include tasks that align with each goal – so you can focus on what you need to do to reach goals and keep your sanity. Be sure to fill out weekly checklists and calendars to see what needs to get done and when.

Set a budget to get you through the next few weeks using money you have already saved. Getting organized helps avoid overspending!

Q: Speaking of budgets, money is always a stress factor – at Christmas and any time. How do planners help?

Budgets may seem hard, but they are important and help reduce stress. Christmas planners make it easier with predesigned budget worksheets that should include items beyond gifts – such as decorations, food, postage, wrapping supplies, photos, outfits. Planners should have plenty of space for budgeting, including reminders on relevant pages so you can keep track as you shop. Written budgets help you see what you spent – and give you a place to start planning better, earlier and more realistically next year!

Q: Gift giving stresses me out because I worry about gift size and who I should include. How can that be easier?

  • Experts agree that we go overboard with gifts in an attempt to impress or please everyone. The first step with gift giving is to finish your budget. This is crucial, so you know how much money you have! Then create a “master gift list” complete with dollar amount for each person on the list.
  • If your total exceeds your budgeted gift-giving amount, you might have to remove a few people or reduce some gift values. Consider group gifts or homemade gifts to help reduce dollars spent without paring down your list.
  • Use a planner to keep track of gift ideas, wish lists, write clothing sizes, compare online deals, track what’s been wrapped and delivered.

Q: What are some more tips for organizing Christmas?

  • Organize your kitchen so Christmas ingredients are in a special spot. Use a planner to keep recipes and ingredient lists and shop early.
  • Track your decoration inventory and note what might need to be repaired or replaced (think after-Christmas sales!)
  • Make your calendar your best friend and really plan the best days and times to do everything you’d like this year – and follow it!
  • Bake or cook in batches when you have the time and freeze treats and meals until you need them.
  • Really stay on top of shopping and gifts purchased, and be sure they are all mailed in time.

Q: I think I have a handle on this year but how do I make it easier next Christmas?

That is the best part of a Christmas planner – it becomes a reference tool for planning future holidays and it can be used all year long to track gift or decorating ideas, family photo locations, new traditions, new recipes and more. “Christmas With a Plan!” has a unique “Debrief” section to analyze this year’s Christmas and think about what you want to do better next year. Remember that in our view, Christmas is best planned in six weeks. That means next year, planning starts November 18! Remember that date!

Be sure to follow @peoplesplanners, visit her on Facebook and read Joleen’s 30Seconds tips!

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Elisa Schmitz
So excited to chat with you, Joleen Peoples ! Thank you and see you tomorrow night! :-)
Toni B
Can always use more tips to get organized!
Nicole DeAvilla
I so need this! See you all tonight!
Meredith Schneider
Oh Joleen Peoples! I always could use organizing tips!

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