Get Organized This Holiday Season: Tips For Avoiding Last Minute Chaos

The holiday season will soon be in full swing, and while some people can’t wait to get out the Christmas decorations, others dread the busyness that comes with this time of year.

But fear not! Even if you’re swamped at work and have a full social calendar, we’ve got some suggestions for staying organized during this holiday season. We know it can be overwhelming, considering all there is to do – gift shopping, baking, getting Christmas cards out and the tree up and decorated, and the exterior of the house. And there are travel plans to get underway if you’re planning to go away this year, as many families are after the isolation and restrictions of 2020 and most of 2021.  

But if the family pitches in, and of course if your nanny is with you to help before the holidays, you can get through these weeks with flying colors.

Here are some tips for avoiding Christmas chaos and hitting the road (or staying home) with everything taken care of.

1. Your nanny can help even if they’re leaving.

Whether your nanny gets time off during the holidays can be negotiated in their employment contract, so both of you know whether you need to plan for their absence during this hectic period. If your nanny leaves on, for example, December 10th for a trip home to their own family, you’re on your own; however, before then, your nanny can do plenty to help get your holiday to-do list started.  They can do some baking and meal prep to help stock the freezer. They can also help with travel plans, providing you give them lots of notice so booking tickets and lodgings is straightforward. The same goes for buying and mailing Christmas cards – give the list to your nanny in November and they’ll have them ready for signing by December 1st.

2. If you’re going away, look into vaccine requirements at your destination.

These rules vary in different cities, states and countries, so be sure you know what the regulations are before you leave. Your nanny will be glad to check into which policies are in place where, and learn what (if any) documents you need to take with you and keep handy.

3. Make lots of lists, and check them more than twice!

If you’re packing for the family, make a list of all the clothing each person needs, along with footwear and personal care items. This is another area your nanny can help with well in advance. Do the children need winter jackets where you’re headed, and if so, do they still fit? These minor details can become big headaches if they are left unaddressed until the last moment.

4. If you’re traveling extensively over the holidays, should you hire a house sitter?

No one likes to think of issues like crime over the holidays, but the fact is that house robberies rise substantially in most cities over the holidays. Perhaps ask your nanny/household manager to look into hiring a reputable house sitter to keep an eye on things. And don’t forget the dog! Look into doggy day care if the pets need care while you’re away, or ask your nanny to look after them while you’re gone, for additional pay. Extra duties like this are usually fine with nannies who aren’t planning a trip themselves over Christmas.

5. Get out the decorations early and make sure the lights work.

If you are staying home this year and hosting friends and extended family, no doubt you want your home looking festive and welcoming. Be sure to bring out the wreath and all the lights (and everything else) from the attic or basement, and get everything shipshape before you start putting things up. If your nanny is remaining in town over the holidays, they will gladly tackle this chore while their charges are at school one afternoon.

6. Start shopping now, if you haven’t already.

Start shopping now, if you haven’t already. Waiting until late December and rushing around buying gifts is a habit lots of busy people fall prey to; however, this year that could prove to be a real problem. Hiccups in the supply chain caused by delays in shipping during the pandemic have meant that everything from toys for tots to household goods haven’t arrived to meet demand. In other words, the earlier you shop, the better. If you’re too busy at the office to step out and get some shopping done, ask your nanny for help. They know your child, and will no doubt be glad to seek out the perfect present from you – and Santa! This “do it now” rule holds true for mailing packages as well; the postal service has been swamped recently, and has advised that if gifts aren’t mailed by mid December, (depending on the destination) they likely won’t arrive in time for Christmas morning.

The holiday season is filled with joy, celebration and lots of presents piled high under the Christmas tree. But giving outside our own circle, to strangers or charities and non-profits that need financial support, is an emotionally satisfying way to give back to our communities.  Giving to strangers, whether they are acquaintances down the block o

Getting organized for the holidays means knowing what has to be done early, like mailing cards, and what can wait until the last moment – like taking out the menorah the night before Hanukkah begins.Spend an afternoon jotting down all the things you must do, then write another column filled with the things you would like to do. You may discover that there are many items on that list that can be dispensed with, at least this year.  As for the necessities – ask your nanny for help, and you’ll sail through the season with grace and aplomb – ready for just about anything.

r a large charity across the globe, is an important part of the holiday season. This type of giving, in which nothing is expected in return, makes the world better in ways both large and small. And giving instills in children the sense that they belong to a world much larger than the one beyond their home, and that people share responsibility for each other, even if they live many miles apart and have never met. Giving back is a way to pay it forward, as the saying goes, and that is beneficial to everyone, most particularly during the coming holiday season.