A Simple Season: Six Holiday Season Survival Techniques

Patty Kreamer, Certified Professional Organizer

The holidays are coming! What can a working woman do to keep her sanity? Try these holiday survival techniques.

It's holiday season again...so are you going to be naughty or nice? Sometimes, the pressure feels like a heavy, cold blanket of snow lying on top of you. Other times, the holidays can be a time for joy and celebration. So what can make the difference for you and for others this year?

Many people turn into Scrooge as November approaches as the stores change from Back-to-School to Christmas displays before you can blink an eye. "I'm a working woman, for heaven's sake," you might be saying to yourself. "Who has time for the holidays?" And if one more person asks you, "Are you done shopping yet?" you're going to go ballistic!

If you can't wait for it all to be over and done with, you're not alone. I personally think that the biggest drawback is all the clutter that comes with this time of year. Not just the physical clutter, but the mental, emotional and time clutter as well.

The parties, the family get-togethers, the obligatory gift-buying, the pressure to out-do the gift from the year before, the running around and standing in long lines to buy things that nobody really wants, the baking of holiday cookies...all of this on top of what you already have in your life! At times it seems as if it will never end!

How do you overcome these hectic times to make the holiday season a more meaningful, pleasant time? Just follow these survival skills, and be more organized and manage your holiday time more wisely. So you can be a happy girl instead of a Grinch!


  1. IGNORE COMMERCIALISM. The holidays have been commercialized beyond belief. You may find yourself less inclined to participate in all the hype if you ignore it.
  2. ASK FOR AND GIVE "CONSUMABLE" GIFT CARDS. This can include items such as dinner gift certificates, lottery tickets, a massage, a manicure, concert tickets, or movie passes. This reduces the clutter in your life and provides you with entertainment that you will enjoy.
  3. REMEMBER THE MEANING. Holidays were not invented to drive everyone crazy trying to out-do each other's gift-buying abilities. Take time to reflect on what it means to you.
  4. PLAN YOUR CELEBRATIONS. Whatever holiday you celebrate, there are only 24 hours in a day. Limit yourself to just a few parties (hosting and attending) to avoid over-commitment. As you plan, be sure to schedule only those things that you want to do and that will bring you joy.
  5. PLAN YOUR DECORATING TIME! Don't just put it on your to-do list. Actually schedule a time to decorate and involve the whole family to make it fun. Turn on some holiday music and drink some holiday libations, if necessary!
  6. USE CONTAINERS MADE ESPECIALLY FOR THE HOLIDAYS. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors that make identifying them easy and logical (color-coded for easy recognition, tube shaped containers that will easily accommodate rolls of wrapping paper, etc.). Be sure to label all of your containers. This makes storage and retrieval for next year an effortless task rather than a time-consuming chore.

To summarize, be organized, plan, manage your time and only do things that will bring you joy. That way you'll have a much more enjoyable and peaceful time of year.

So make this a simple season. Say goodbye to Scrooge and say hello to a relaxing and enjoyable celebration.

Patty Kreamer, Certified Professional Organizer® and owner of Kreamer Connect, Inc., provides speaking, coaching and consulting services to businesses and organizations who value effective practices that will leave their people being more efficient, empowered and proud of their accomplishments.

Do you want to be a much more organized person? Patty's groundbreaking books, "...But I Might Need It Someday!" and The Power of Simplicity are available for purchase at www.ByeByeClutter.com. Or if you prefer a "baby-steps" online/workbook-based course, check out the Clutter Rescue Course®, which will transform a life of clutter, wasted time, frustration and overwhelm to one of power, simplicity and organization.

If you're looking for a fun, dynamic, and effective speaker, or if your company would benefit from a productivity coach or consultant, Patty is available in person, by teleconference, webinar and phone. Email her directly at [email protected] or call her at 412-344-3252.

Patty can also be contacted via Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Plaxo/Pulse, or her blog. For useful tips, sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter at www.ByeByeClutter.com.

©2009 Kreamer Connect, Inc. Permission granted to reprint this article as long as the text and by-line are not changed. Complete text must be reprinted intact with all links made live.