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Become organized this Christmas.

By Donna Hamer

For most of us, we are so busy living our lives that we forget just how quickly Christmas is upon us.

Here is a list of 6 simple strategies to help you be organized this Christmas and enjoy the festive season.

1. Take the time to plan ahead this Christmas.

Set aside a morning in the last week of December or first week in November.

Get yourself a cup of coffee a notepad and pen. Take the phone off the hook, organize the children so you aren't interrupted and take half an hour to make lists for the following:

(a) Gift giving

(b) Christmas Cards

(c) Christmas Decorating

2. First let's deal with the Card List

Now that you have written out the Christmas card list, when you shop next buy the required amount of Christmas cards.

The following day divide your list into say 5, and then over the next 5 days write out your Christmas cards until the list is complete. In the last week of November post out your cards.

3. The Gift Giving List

This project is a little bigger than the last, however if you are organized it can be fun and done in a couple of weeks.

Sit down and go through the list of people you will be giving or sending a gift to this year. If you have family or friends who will need their gifts sent through the mail then they need to be put at the top of the list as you will want to take care of their presents first. (Aim to post their presents within the next two weeks)

If you have been buying gifts throughout the year go through the gifts and assign them to the appropriate people on your list. (Shopping for Christmas at sale time is an excellent idea as it makes the burden a lot easier and also helps with the family budget).

Take a look again at your list, no doubt you have whittled away a few of those names. If you have presents that haven't been assigned in the Christmas gift box leave these in case you have forgotten someone or a friend drops around, then you have something to give to them.

For the remaining names I break these into smaller lists. Presents that need to be purchased and presents that I can make. I personally think that giving a present made by you is something special. Now before you say I can't make anything have you thought about a "gift basket or "gifts in a jar". They are very easy and simple to make; they look fantastic and are always well received by the recipient.

4. With list in hand - Go Shopping

This can be as easy as going to your favorite website and ordering your presents so they are delivered to your door. Otherwise, head off to your local shopping mall and buy only those presents that you have on your list.

If you have decided to make your own gift baskets here are a few simple and easy suggestions.

For a family gift make a nice Christmas-themed cookie jar. Fill it with Christmas candy or cookies! Every year when the family gets out the Christmas cookie jar, they will think of you!

Grandparents love to receive anything that grandchildren make. Do a video of the children, include a bath time, them reading or playing at school. A few minutes taken over a month or two will make an interesting video. How about a collage of photos of the grandchildren!. The children can help with this project.

A coffee cup filled with a coffee blend, some chocolate and DVD.

How about a pampering gift basket for mom or your sister?

5. Wrapping

A time saving tip"when you return from shopping, wrap and label as many gifts as you can and store them away until the "big day".

Presents that are being posted, need to be wrapped and posted ASAP.

6. Christmas Decorations

Personally I hate dragging the decorations out each year and putting up the tree. But the look on my son's face when the house and tree have been decorated is worth the effort.

Each year when you are putting away the decorations, make sure they are working. If not, throw them out - don't pack broken or unwanted items. I add an item to the tree each year for my young son. This allows us to reminisce about what has happened over the last year and spend some quality family time together.

Put aside an afternoon and make a decoration with your children it doesn't have to be expensive. I have little boxes under the tree that have their hand prints and a special message.

Lastly enjoy Christmas. With a little bit of planning, everyone can participate in wrapping presents, giving the presents and mostly, enjoying the family time together.

About The Author

Donna Hamer is the author and publisher of 101 Themed Gift Basket Ideas. For a Free 5 part Mini Course on how to create your own "Gift Baskets visit

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