This week is a great week to take a breath and assess where you are with everything from gift lists to party planning. I know we all want the holidays to be a magical time of year so staying organized and on top of things will help to cut down on any stress that might be creeping in.
If you feel a bit crazed already, you may want to consider batching activities related to the holidays. For example, sit down and write out your holiday cards all in one night, spend the day making a variety of Christmas cookies you can place in tins for neighbors or coworkers, order those last minute gifts at the same time, plan your Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch menu in the same afternoon.
Gift wrapping is another holiday task that really takes up a good bit of time depending on how many gifts you have to wrap. I try to set a goal for myself and have all of the gifts wrapped and under the tree by a specific day. It does take a bit of extra planning because you have to shop in advance and make sure your gifts arrive on time. That being said, knowing that I can spend the rest of the month relaxing and enjoying my friends and family makes the extra effort worth it.
To help keep gifts and gift wrap organized, I set up a gift wrap station each year. You can use something as big as a work table if you have room or something as small as a card table in your bedroom or home office. To help build anticipation and foster privacy, you may want to consider hanging a sign on the door that says, “Do Not Open Until December 25th” or something that says, “Santa’s Workshop – Do Not Enter.” Setting up a gift wrapping station doesn’t have to be super elaborate and you can make it has festive as you want. Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your own gift wrapping station…
Choose a color palette for your wrapping papers in advance – Decide in advance the colors or theme you will use for gift wrapping this season. It will be especially helpful if you have multiple people to buy for or you will be traveling out of town with gifts. Maybe you’re wrapping everything for your little in Star Wars paper or perhaps you’re going to wrap everything in various blue because you live on the coast. Choosing a consistent color palette in advance will help you stay organized even if a few last minute gifts arrive.
Stock up on ribbons and tissue paper that compliment your color palette – Once you have your color palette in mind, start accumulating ribbon and tissue paper that will help add to the festive nature of your gifts. I’ve found ribbon at big box craft supply stores, dollar stores and even a few thrift stores for just a few dollars. We recently replaced our paper towel holder and the old one was a perfect way to keep holiday ribbons organized.
Corral gift wrap and gift wrapping supplies in one location – If you don’t have a paper towel holder you may want to consider hanging a dowel rod or even using a utensils basket like this one to keep your supplies in one location. That way you’ll have ribbons easily accessible as well as craft scissors, writing utensils, tape dispensers and gift tags together and in close proximity. You don’t want to be running around looking for supplies in the middle of your gift wrap sesh.
Make sure you have plenty of embellishments – We use everything from small gifts to ornaments on the front of our packages. It’s a simple way to go the extra mile and show someone you took the time to make them feel extra special.
Use large baskets to keep gifts at the ready for wrapping – Baskets similar to these are perfect for keeping presents together. You can make use one basket for each family member or if you’re traveling one basket per city to help keep you organized. If you don’t have baskets, don’t sweat it. You can use plastic bins, under the bed storage options or even a closet specifically designated to hold presents.
Review your naughty and nice list – You’ve probably been keeping a list of gifts you plan to give each person. Keep this list handy and visible on a message board or journal or even a piece of notebook paper at your gift wrapping station. You’ll want to reference it when you’re wrapping to make sure you’re giving the right gift to the right recipient especially if you have people on your list that like the same things. Obviously, you’re going to need to keep this list a secret so make sure you take it with you when you’re finished wrapping.
I hope these tips have helped. I know wrapping gifts takes a bit of time and effort.
Since you have to do it anyway, you may as well make it a celebration – turn up the Christmas music, pour yourself a holiday drink, put a few nibbles on a plate and light up the tree.
Pretty soon, you’ll be snuggled with your loved ones watching your favorite movie or toasting your friends at a party and all the extra work will have been worth it.