Organizing Your Holiday Event
It is not too early to plan for your special event during the holidays. Special occasions demand organization because they break into our daily routines. Here are some organizing tips to help make the holiday events less stressful and more successful.
Schedule ahead. The closer you get to the special dinner, party or gathering, the more detailed the schedule. Once you have decided on a date, send out a "save the date" invitation to those you want to come. Our schedules have become so busy that waiting until the holiday festivities begin may be too late. About 2-4 weeks ahead, send out the invitation asking for a response. Phone calls are more personal but take more time. If you have a large gathering, this may too time consuming for you. If you mail invitations, you may need to follow up on those who do not respond.
Planning the menu, decorations, etc. should be scheduled in writing on your calendar/planner. Break down each task and work backwards from the date of the event, allowing sufficient time to get it done. The week before the event should be broken down into the preparation needed for each day. The big day can be divided into tasks for each hour working backwards from the time of the event. All planning should be done on paper or a computer file so you can make notes as you go.
Be flexible. Murphy’s Law is especially enforced during the holidays. The grocery store will not have the ingredients you need and no white candles will be found to replace the one you broke. Even if no substitutes can be found or made and there is no time to wait, remember life will go on. Try to see the bigger picture, adjust your plans and move on. Be creative and try something new or out of the ordinary. It may give you surprisingly great results.
Focus on people. Don’t get so caught up in the mechanics of the event that you ignore those you invited. If you can hire help during the event, it will allow you to focus on those you attending. After all that is the purpose of the occasion. If needed, you can enlist the help of a family member that will not be offended, and do not be too proud to accept offers of assistance from those attending--just don't abuse their willingness to step in. Relationships are more important than food, gifts and decorations. Be sure to ask questions of everyone to get them involved in the occasion.
Keep a record. Take notes as you plan and prepare. Record the menu and any thoughts about it as you prepare the food and afterwards. Make note of the preparation time, the amount left over, etc. Take pictures of the decorations you used as a future reference. This will help in planning the use of permanent decorations and those you may need to add in years to come.
Keep a copy of who you invited, those who were able to come, the schedules you made and any adjustments to them, and your evaluation of the entire event. All of these will save time in planning future events or remind you never to do it again! Save all of these in a folder on the computer or place them in the file cabinet so you can refer back to them.
Holidays can be hectic but planning ahead and organizing the tasks can help make them more enjoyable. If you have comments or questions, we would love to hear from you. You can contact us through our website, OrderlyPlaces.com or by email, maryfrances@OrderlyPlaces.com.