Simplify your ‘to-do’ list

Karen Caffarini

(StatePoint)  Trying to get everything done on your holiday list can be tough for even the most organized among us. From decking the halls to buying and wrapping the gifts to cooking and cleaning for guests, it’s easy to overlook something or someone on your list.

Before you run around town to a million stores, take some time to get organized. With a little smart planning you can simplify your holiday list and make your season go from hectic to jolly.

Plan Your Menu

Don’t just remember to add big items to your shopping list. While nobody forgets the ham or turkey, it’s easy to overlook essentials like vanilla, nutmeg, flour, butter, chicken stock and spices. You don’t want to run to the store because you’ve forgotten the cinnamon for the cookies in your oven!

Shop Smart

There is no such thing as too early! Take advantage of early bird discounts on Christmas cards and gifts so you won’t worry if the item will arrive in time or be in stock.

Check out online stores for special discounts, but don’t just buy anything. The worst gifts are those that look like you purchased the first thing you saw. Opt for personal gifts that look like you’ve thought a lot about the recipient.

 For example, thanks to advances in photo printing technology, you now can add a personal photo to traditional items like calendars, journals, stationery and other inexpensive gifts. Why not streamline the process and choose one great gift you can customize for each recipient? You can visit an online store like that lets you pick out personalized stationery designs for each recipient on your list. This saves you the trouble of stopping at many stores.

Get Emergency Gifts

You may think you’ve put everybody on your “nice” list, but you’ll be the naughty one when your neighbor visits with a gift and you don’t have one for her! Buy small emergency gifts you can have available when you realize you’ve forgotten the mailman or your boss.

Remember the Extras

Stock-up on tape, wrapping paper, batteries, ribbons, bows and personalized thank you cards. Nothing’s worse than remembering the gifts but forgetting the batteries or not having enough wrapping paper to wrap them.  

Finishing Touches

Have gifts sent to your home and wrap them with festive paper. Buy one paper and one ribbon in bulk for a signature, yet affordable look.

And remember the gift tags, so you can tag each gift as it is wrapped.

If time is short, festive ribbons tied in bows along with your custom holiday cards go a long way.

A little planning can go a long way in ensuring forgotten errands don’t dampen your holiday spirit.