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 »  Home  »  Home & Family  »  Holidays Without Hassles
Holidays Without Hassles
By Karen Sencich | Published  12/17/2007 | Home & Family | Rating:
Karen Sencich
Clients call Professional Organizer Karen Sencich “The Universal Remote” to life. The owner of Havoc to Harmony helps others click through life transitions. Dealing with a new job, a new home, a birth or death can be very stressful. As an award winning, hands on organizing expert, Karen offers organizing sessions through Sheridan College. Her work has been featured in Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, The Toronto Star, on Canada AM and Roger’s Daytime. She is the author of the new “Tackle it Now” programs. Visit her at

View all articles by Karen Sencich
Brampton - It's crunch time! Only a week left to get everything done for the holidays while still juggling a job and countless other family details. The recent inclement weather hasn't helped matters. Here is an assortment of seasonal tips from the downloadable book "Holidays Without Hassles" to help keep you sane.

Harness Help

No one says that you have to do absolutely everything yourself. You may have a source of underutilized help right under your nose.

Make a list of all outstanding tasks that MUST be accomplished before the big day and postpone non-essential items until the New Year.

Determine what must be done only by you and what you can delegate to your spouse or family.

Relax and enjoy watching holiday videos together once all the daily jobs have been accomplished.

Trade off errand running, babysitting, baking or gift wrapping with a neighbour.

Hire a student to help babysit, wrap, bake or decorate.

Organize & Prioritize

Do high priority items first in case bad weather hits or if cold and flu season catches up with you. Stock your medicine chest and check your vitamin supply.

The children will be home from school by the end of the week. One way to occupy their time is to have them tidy up the toy area to make room for new toys. Collect items they have outgrown in blue bags and donate to a charity.

Make a preliminary grocery run to ensure availability of the turkey and special seasonal foods. Leave perishable foods until later.

Are there any jobs you could do now that won't need to be done again? Polishing the silver, washing the china and crystal or getting the table settings ready? Also clear out the fridge and freezer and prepare the guestroom if you'll be having out of town guest.

If you tidy up and deep clean now, then the house will only need a quick spruce up before company arrives.

Plan holiday outfits for the whole family. Does everything fit? Does anything have to be laundered, dry cleaned or mended? Do it now. 

Motoivation to Multi-Task

Crank up the holiday tunes while you clean the house or bake up a storm.

Pop in a seasonal video while you wrap or finish off your holiday cards.

Plan quick, easy, freezer-to-table comfort food dinners like chilli.

Gift Ideas

Did you remember everyone on your list? Here are some last minute gift ideas.

Hostess gifts – dress up a bottle of wine with a fancy wine bag, wine charms or coasters.

Gifts for service providers – your hairdresser, paperboy, mechanic or babysitter will likely enjoy a gift card for movies, restaurants or coffee shop. Teachers certainly appreciate these kinds of gifts instead of a bounty of "best teacher ever" gifts that end up in their next garage sale.

q Teenagers – Teens are traditionally hard to buy for. Tuck in a gift card for their favourite clothing store along with their favourite snack food. Organizing items are good for students living in residence. Purchase an underbed plastic tote and fill it with pre-packaged snack items to take back to the dorm. Add a tin of home made holiday goodies. 

q SeniorsIf purchasing any technology for seniors (a portable phone or DVD) be sure to include instructions for how to use it. Homemade gift certificates for snow shovelling, grass cutting and home repairs are also popular. Gift certificates for their favourite hair salon are also welcome.

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