giftsI turned the page in this month’s Real Simple magazine and read this:

“100 Inspiring Surprising Time-Saving Jolly-Good Ideas to Make Those Holidays the Happiest Ones Yet.”

Yes, this is the actual title of the article – “100 Inspiring Surprising Time-Saving Jolly-Good Ideas to Make Those Holidays the Happiest Ones Yet.” Kind of sums up the frantic nature of the holidays doesn’t it? Not really that simple!

Spurred on by the promise of time-saving ideas, I plowed through the list. It took two days, but I managed to read and consider all one hundred.   For the most part, it was as promised – a festival of merry options. Contributors offered mini-blurbs about their own holiday traditions, recipes, and offered mugs of good cheer.

Within the trappings of the 100 blurbs, I discovered a few organizing gems. I have shared five below to help make the holidays a little simpler, while maintaining the jolly. Perhaps you do one of them already? Or perhaps you will become inspired; not only during the holidays season, but into the New Year and beyond!

  1. Group decorative objects on trays to help holiday accents look deliberate and put-together

We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our home, so I have always displayed our modest Hanukkah décor in a grouping. I would agree that it looks more put-together, is easier to clean around, and I can make an impact with fewer pieces. I tend to display the Christmas items in cheerful groupings too – all the Santas together, or snowmen, or certain shades of red.

On a practical note, I am a fan of using trays for a put-together look organizing everyday objects. Try one for those random items on top of a dresser, kitchen counter, or desk in the home office!

  1. Number holiday storage boxes in the order you need to bring them out

I don’t really need to do this in our home because there are so few containers (yep – real simple!), but outdoor lights would be my #1. I start decorating after Thanksgiving – as soon as there is an unseasonably warm day. The Christmas tree is small and less of a focal point in our home, so ornament containers would be last.

This year, I will make sure the lights are the last back on the shelves so they can be first out next year! Next November I will be patting myself on the back. If you do not already have your holiday collection contained and labeled, make this the year you do it before you put it all away for the season.

  1. Have a re-gifting party

My side of the family has a re-gifting “White Elephant” tradition on Christmas Day. We gather, open re-gifted gifts, trade ruthlessly, and have a few laughs along the way. Recycled wrapping paper is encouraged and wrapping gifts from largest to smallest works great because scraps from large gifts can be used to wrap the small ones. Last year, I received a wonderful book, “The Language of Flowers” and never-worn (I hope!) holiday socks!

Host a “Swap Party” any time of year and ask guest to bring excess home décor, DVD’s, sweaters, and/or accessories. Thrifty and entertaining!

  1. Ship presents on ahead unwrapped, then wrap when you arrive

Clever tip! No need to lug wrapped gifts while travelling. Something always rips, doesn’t it? I use several laundry baskets to organize gifts when travelling in the van, but it would be easier to wrap once we arrive. Or at least wait to put the finishing touches on. Definitely inspired to pack the wrapping and trims separately and try this one!

  1. Kids too young to read? Put their photos on their gifts to make them easier to find

Aww…we have done this. Highly recommend for those special kiddos on your list! Heck, why not do it anyway for anyone using goofy old photos from the piles you have in that back cabinet. Maybe it will inspire you to sort, organize, and contain your old photos!

BONUS JOLLY IDEA!!!

Serve caramelized bacon as an appetizer

Searched back up the 100 list for this one. I know, it is not an organizing tip, but – bacon. With brown sugar. I have yet to make a successful batch as compared to a friend’s version, but this reminded me to attempt it again. Because, bacon.

Wishing you a Simple Jolly Holiday!

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