Holiday Planner: How to Relax and Reduce Stress during the Holidays

Holiday dinner table setting

It’s holiday time. The biggest holidays of the year are upon us. Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, do you always spend them stressed out and frustrated?

  • Do you forget to do things for the holiday gathering like make the carrots?
  • Did you forget how many people are coming over and don't have enough chairs?
  • Do you plan out your serving pieces and utensils, or even a seating chart?
  • Do you know what time relatives need airport or hotel pickups?
  • Do you have your card list ready to create address labels?
  • Did you create a gift list to make shopping easier?
  • Did you plan so you could prepare some items ahead of time and freeze them?

There's always so much to do for holiday gatherings. And much of the stress can be solved by planning. Planners will help you reduce your stress this holiday season so you don't forget to do anything.

As an organizing expert, I look for timesavers. Using a Holiday Planner saves you time as you plan ahead. Here are some of the things you want to plan:

Guest Lists

A guest list helps you plan your seating and know whether you need to borrow extra tables or chairs. It also helps you decide if you want to have a separate kids’ table.

Quick tip:

If you want to assign seats, use a seating chart and make place cards at least a week ahead of time.  Avery even sells a package of printable place cards that you can create on the computer and add a graphic.


Holiday Meal

Of course, the biggest prep is the holiday meal. You will want to plan your food starting with recipes, and who is going to bring side dishes or dessert to save you from living in your kitchen for days!  And if you prepare some items ahead of the big day, especially those items that you can freeze, that too will save time on the actual holiday.

For the actual day, a cooking schedule with times and temperatures will make cooking move along faster, and even listing your serving pieces and utensils can help keep your mealtime running smoothly.

Quick Tips:

Pull out chairs, tables, and tablecloths the night before. Pre-set the table the next morning with the dishes, silverware  and glassware.

Use sticky notes on your serving pieces so you don’t have to refer to your list, especially if you have some kitchen helpers getting everything out and on the table at the same time.


Out-of-town Guests

If you have out-of-town guests, be sure to plan some activities for the time they are in town. You also may need to pick them up from the airport, take them to a hotel, or provide transportation to your house for the holiday. Plus, if they are staying at your house, the guest room and guest bathroom need to be prepared. Another thing to plan ahead.



Even if you don’t have out-of-towners, you might want to plan some activities to do or see, especially if there are children or grandchildren. Many cities have planned activities around the December holidays, so check your local listings. Otherwise, there are always movies or games, especially for kids. And many people like to just drive around neighborhoods to look at house decorations.


Next Year

You can also use your Holiday Planner as a guide for next year’s holiday with notes about how it went and what not to do next year. Maybe you made too much of an item, or not enough. During Thanksgiving my daughter noticed that hardly anyone touched the salad, so she made a note to not include salad next year because there were so many other side dishes.


Don’t have a Holiday Planner?  For any December holiday, go here:   December Holiday Planner

Happy Holidays to you and yours!


Eilieen Roth

Your Organizing Tour Guide

Similar Posts