Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pre-holiday organizing

The holiday season seems to encroach upon us earlier and earlier every year, so I’m reluctant to even bring it up in this last full week of September, but we’re on that slippery, speedy downhill slope towards Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/etc. I love all of those holidays and the fall-to-winter season in general, but I truly feel that they are best enjoyed in small doses. If you spend three months prepping for Christmas, you’re going to be all Merry Christmas-ed out by the time the 25th comes around, let alone be raring to party on New Year’s Eve.

However, you can do a bit of pre-holiday organizing that hopefully won’t kill the holiday joy in you yet. Here are some ideas for getting the process gently started:

  • Popular Halloween costumes can sell out early, so plan ahead if you’re going to purchase topical costumes.
  • Don’t buy Halloween candy far in advance unless you have a place to store it where it won’t get raided before the 31st. If not, you’ll just have to buy more when the holiday actually arrives.
  • Think about ordering your Thanksgiving turkey in advance if you want a specialty one, such as an organic free range bird.
  • Book holiday airplane flights now, in addition to rental car and hotel reservations if necessary.
  • Keep an eye open for deals on holiday cards and stock up in advance if you really like the card, the price and have somewhere to put them out of sight until Thanksgiving.
  • Order holiday stamps online and have them delivered with your mail.
  • Plan your gifts budget ahead of time. Instead of having a massive credit card bill in December or January, open a savings account for your holiday gifts and have money deposited automatically each month into year all year long, then you can pay cash for presents.
  • Think about gifts you can buy online and have delivered by the company, avoiding post office lines.
  • Alternately, consider patronizing local businesses for your holiday shopping to help the local economy, and make sure you bring a good book to the post office with you.
  • Brainstorm clutter-free gifts that your friends and family might like and that you and your family might like to give. Clutter-free gifts can be consumables, gift cards or gifts of experiences or services.

Good luck getting through the next 91 days!

Creative Commons candy corn photo posted to Flickr by calmdownlove

Creative Commons Christmas card photo posted to Flickr by wordridden

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email


  1. Just saw this helpful article about pre-holiday organizing that has more great tips:

  2. Another good DAILY source is the list plan it guide countdown til Christmas. @juliebavi