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Controlling Christmas Chaos

The holiday music is blaring throughout the grocery stores and echoes throughout malls across the country. Everywhere we look we are bombarded with reminders of the number of "shopping days" left until the big holiday. Another invite to a holiday gathering, another gift to buy, another event we need to attend, and the list of things to do just keeps getting longer and longer.

With the busiest weeks of the year approaching, here a few reminders to help you control that chaos before it strikes:

Review Your Calendar (Often)

Before saying 'yes' to another invite, be sure to check your calendar. What's scheduled right before or after this new event? What are the locations of each event? Is it prudent to sign up for it, knowing those answers? Don't be afraid to say no, if you feel it will make your day too rushed or overwhelming. Also, check your calendar for potential gaps that you can utilize for downtime, resting or catching up on emails or phone calls.

Just Say No to Excessive Gifting

There is no rule that says you absolutely must have a wrapped gift ready for your local delivery man or the lady who performs your dry cleaning. These folks may appreciate the gesture, but they certainly aren't expecting it. In fact, in our experience, a handwritten thank you note with a piece of chocolate seems to go a long way with most acquaintances, so think in terms of simplicity. Don't ever give a gift in hopes it will produce a return gift for yourself, and don't just give because you feel you must out of obligation. Give because you want to, or because it brings you joy.


The holidays are a great time to declutter your closets and donate gently used coats, blankets and winter apparel. Take them to a nearby shelter or non-profit organization, especially if you know you'll be buying new things this season. Many shelters and such organizations have a list of needs during the holidays. Ask for their most wanted items list and you may be able to pick up many of them for just a few dollars during your next grocery trip.

The holidays don't have to be chaotic. Take control of your days and time, and be intentional with where you spend your time and money. It makes all the difference.

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