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let the countdown begin...

They're almost here...Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Year's...all the holidays! I love, love Christmas but have always had a soft spot for Thanksgiving - one special day with family (and friends!) and all that delicious food, wine and football. Doesn't get much better. No matter which is your favorite, once Thanksgiving hits the rest of November and December can (do) feel a bit like a runaway train. With that in mind here is how I attempt to keep things organized. And by organized, I mean organized, but also meaningful and in perspective. it's much easier to get carried away in the hysteria of over doing it with gifts and decorations if you don't have a plan from the get go.

HAPPY (almost) HOLIDAYS!

1. Meal plan!

Jot down all the big meals you will be hosting or contributing to and begin to fill in the blanks for what you will serve. In my case it's Thanksgiving, a yearly festive dinner with friends and Christmas Day brunch. Make a list or email draft for each meal and begin to fill in the blanks for what you will serve. It's not so important that you fully know now - it is only mid November - but it is very helpful to focus your plan before the fun craziness of the holiday season hits.

  • Pro tip...I save my menus and recipes for this time last year within my email...each big day (Christmas day brunch for the win!) gets a titled email saved within my "recipes" tab. I also bookmark dishes I am interested in serving this go round (like this beauty)
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2. Take reference photos

My mom has always done this and it's pretty brilliant and super simple. The purpose of the photos is two fold - so you remember where all decorations were placed last year while also reminding yourself how to put them all back in storage come January. Of course there is flexibility for switching things up but it's just nice to know. Don't want to reinvent the wheel with nutcracker placement? Done. And even more importantly give yourself a break with the clean up and place everything back in their bins and closets exactly like you did last year. One less puzzle to solve!

  • I do this for clients all the time...once I organize a certain holiday storage area I snap a photo and send it along with an obvious title so everything can be put back exactly as it was.

3. Plan and book now!

We all have a few must do events this time of year...make those your priority and get them on the calendar now. Here are a few of ours...The Nutcracker, Trail of Lights, kids cookie decorating and of course Santa (see above for last year's gem). So nice to plan ahead and then be able to spread everything out over all of December.

And this goes for charitable or giving plans also...I know for myself those can easily fall by the way side as we feel overwhelmed with buying gifts, decorating and general ridiculous running around-ness. Not this year! Whether it be Blue Santa, making cookies for your neighbors, or Adopt-a-Family set the wheels in motion now.