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Holiday LifeHacks: Tips To Keep Your Days Merry & Bright

There are a few holiday lifehacks I’ve developed over the years to help me manage what can feel overwhelming in these next weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many have asked “How do you buy presents for 11 grandchildren?” or “How do you plan Thanksgiving for 25?” Using life hacks makes it doable for me and I think all of these can be applied to any size family.

  • Collaborate on your Notes app. Our family uses Notes for meal planning, trip itineraries, fashion lookbooks, and childcare arrangements. The best part is that everyone can contribute and then I use the note afterward, to remind myself about things I would do differently the next year. Here’s an example of one Note we did for Thanksgiving 2020 and my red X’s reminded me the next year to eliminate a couple of items.

  • Christmas List & Budget - for years, I used an excel spreadsheet to make our Gift List and budget. Then a few years ago, I found a great (free) app that accomplishes the same thing. First: setting the budget per gift/person keeps our finances in check. We have a separate checking account for Gifts and put money in it every week during the year. (more on that in a budgeting newsletter) So listing all the people in the app we will buy for and ensuring the total doesn’t go over our planned spending, keeps me from impulse buys or overspending and also makes sure I don’t leave anyone out. The app I use is “The Christmas List (Easy Budget and Gift Tracking) and allows you to import contacts from your phone.

  • Christmas Card Addresses - many years ago, I started a Christmas card list using a label template in Word. So every year now, I just go through the previous year’s names and addresses to update, print the labels on a clear label sheet, then print a page of our return address labels. It might not look as pretty as hand addressing the envelopes, but this way I’m able to write a personal message inside each of the cards.

  • Order Household Products - this one might not seem like a holiday lifehack, but I’m grateful every year for taking time to do it. Early in November, I inventory all our household products and order or purchase enough supplies to last through December. This includes: Toilet paper, Paper towels, Napkins, Plates, Plastic Cutlery, Trash liners, Dish detergent, Hand soap. It’s such a simple task, but also freeing to know that when I’m enjoying family times and Christmas events, I won’t be interrupted by making a last minute run to the store for toilet paper. This year, I’m adding toiletries to my inventory and purchase-ahead list.

What holiday lifehacks help you manage the hustle and enjoy the season? I’d love to hear your ideas and learn from you! Comment or write to me, and I’ll include them in future posts.

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