Holiday Planning in 3 Easy Steps


The holidays are fast approaching. Are you starting to panic? Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. There is still time to plan. The key is a successful holiday season is creating a comprehensive plan.

The holidays are coming whether you are ready or not. The three steps of holiday planning: brainstorming, planning and delegating can take you a long way towards having a holiday party or dinner that everyone will enjoy. Click To Tweet

Step 1 – Brainstorm

Sit down with your immediate family and decide how you want to celebrate the holidays. Where do you want to spend your time? At home with local family or friends, or do you want to travel to be with loved ones? For some, the holidays are about tradition, and where to celebrate may be part of that tradition.

Once you have made this decision you are ready to involve others. Make some phone calls or send an email to see if your plans will work out for everyone else. The earlier you express your desires the better. You will be more likely to get what you want if you speak up first.

Step 2 –Plan

Planning your event (s) will take some time, so start now. Write everything down. Creating a timeline for yourself will help you through the scheduling process ensuring that nothing is left out.

If you need to make travel arrangements, do so as soon as possible. On top of saving some money, you are more likely to get the schedule you want.

Invite guests if you are celebrating at your own home. In today’s busy world an invitation by email is adequate in most circumstances, in my opinion. Plan your menu if you are entertaining others. If you are going to someone else’s home, it’s always gracious to ask if you can bring something to share. It relieves the burden of the entertaining responsibility of the hostess and also allows you to show off your culinary skill on one special dish.

Don’t forget to add shopping to your planning timeline – gifts and food. Make a list of the people you want to buy a gift for and any gift ideas. It’s a smart idea to carry this list with you, on your smart phone or on a piece of paper in your wallet. You never know when you might see something that will be perfect for that special someone. Gift shopping on the Internet can save lots of time, so if you are not already doing it, consider jumping on to the web.

Food shopping should be scheduled close to the date of your event. But, you can get ahead of the curve by planning your menu in advance and making a list of the ingredients you will need. Consider splitting grocery shopping into two trips, one for the non-perishable and frozen items and the second and final trip of the fresh stuff.

Step 3 – Delegate

Now that you have spent some time working on your lists and making up a timeline of events, it is now time to implement your plan. Do you have to do it all alone? The key to successful event planning is delegation. What can others do for you? What should you delegate? Consider what you don’t like doing and delegate those tasks. Maybe cleaning or decorating your house is not your cup of tea. Ask family members for help or delegate total responsibility of this task to them. You can always hire someone else or barter with a friend or neighbor. You may have a friend who would be happy to decorate your home for the holidays in exchange for a couple of your famous home-baked pies. Be creative. Today’s markets have a wide variety of prepared foods that will also save you time. Delegating some of the food preparation to your local grocery store or caterer could be the ticket to you enjoying your holiday event.

The holidays are coming whether you are ready or not. The three steps of holiday planning: brainstorming, planning and delegating can take you a long way towards having a holiday party or dinner that everyone will enjoy. Now, I better start my planning!

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Seana Turner on November 18, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Brainstorming is the most fun step:) It is wise to get everyone involved at this step because they are “bought in” when it comes time to delegate. Couldn’t agree more on securing travel arrangements. I know you can sometimes get good travel deals at the last minute, but I don’t enjoy the element of risk involved. I’d rather buy my tickets early and be certain I have a seat!

    • Janet Schiesl on November 22, 2019 at 7:42 am

      I agree that planning ahead is key and getting everyone involved in this part is important to being able to delegate tasks.

  2. Linda Samuels on November 18, 2019 at 9:45 am

    The holidays can be stressful because of planning, decision-making, and other events. Pacing yourself and deciding where your limits are is a worthwhile conversation to have. We have certain holiday traditions that I look forward to each year. There are also times we’ve needed to rethink or adjust them. Currently, I’m in pre-Thanksgiving mode. We’ve been hosting our families for many years now, so we have a pretty good system and well-developed lists. There are many lists of to-dos and a lot of things to coordinate. I try to keep my focus on the why- why are we cooking and cleaning and food shopping and…? We’re doing it to create a loving place for our family to gather and be together. I focus on the why. When I do that, the preparation becomes a joy and act of love, rather than a stress-filled experience.

    • Janet Schiesl on November 22, 2019 at 7:45 am

      I’m luck this year. We are traveling to visit family for Thanksgiving and since it’s just the two of us, it’s easy. I am looking forward to it!
      I’m also like you. When we are hosting, I start planning early. I don’t like surprises and I want to be relaxed on the day of the celebration.

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on November 18, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Great tips! We do a Facebook Group for our private gatherings. And, we decide and create this group in September. That way, no one will have already booked the date.

    • Janet Schiesl on November 22, 2019 at 7:47 am

      That’s a great idea. Never thought of that. It would eliminate all the emails and phone calls. I might try this idea for Christmas.

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