Busy mamas know there are certain times of the year that throw your normally sane schedule into complete chaos! With November upon us we have all (hopefully) survived the first few months of school, and I am hoping the Halloween decorations are being packed away because we are about to enter the big social months of the year! Yes the holidays are here!

With a house full of eight children I find preparing for the holidays completely crazy. My hubby leaves in October and usually isn’t back until a few days before the big day. It is up to me to get the house in order, the decorations up, attend all the school concerts, go shopping for the children’s gifts, hide the presents, and, be ready for those friends and neighbours who like to drop by (unannounced) for a quick hello or a glass of cheer.

On top of all these extra holiday errands I still have to get the children to their weekly activities, help with homework and get dinner on the table each night. In order to keep myself organized I prepare a weekly menus with easy to prepare dinners that my whole family can enjoy. The craziness of the holidays can be overwhelming and having a list of easy to prepare meals is a must for me.

One of my family’s favourite recipes is Chef Boyardee’s ‘Chef Primavera’. Its heartiness and convenience are two reasons I love it so much.

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Lets face it – what busy mom can resist a great tasting meal with no preservatives that takes under 20 minutes to prepare?

Chef Primavera

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Serves: 4
Time to Prepare: approximately 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 can (398 mL) Hunt’s® Original Diced Tomatoes
1 cup (250 mL) grated carrots
2 cans (425 g each) Chef Boyardee® Spaghetti & Meatballs
1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped spinach or zucchini
Optional: 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic powder and/or dried oregano (Italian seasoning)
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:
Heat tomatoes and carrots.  
Add Spaghetti & Meatballs and spinach or zucchini and heat through.
If desired, add spices.
Garnish with shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese and serve.
Serves: 4
Time to Prepare: approximately 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 can (398 mL) Hunt’s® Original Diced Tomatoes
1 cup (250 mL) grated carrots
2 cans (425 g each) Chef Boyardee® Spaghetti & Meatballs
1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped spinach or zucchini
Optional: 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic powder and/or dried oregano (Italian seasoning)
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:
Heat tomatoes and carrots.  
Add Spaghetti & Meatballs and spinach or zucchini and heat through.
If desired, add spices.
Garnish with shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese and serve.

Note: Adds calcium, protein, vegetable servings and fibre.

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This recipe is so easy even your children can help out (allowing you some free time to go hide those presents!)

Before you start getting overwhelmed by the holidays why not try making Chef Primavera tonight? It’s great for those unannounced guests and I’m pretty sure your kids will love it! For more great recipes visit Chef Boyardee’s facebook page.

Until next time,

Chantel, momof8crazymonkeys

Chef Boyardee and UrbanMoms would like to help you manage this busy time of the season by giving away a $200 President’s Choice gift card and a range of
Chef Boyardee products. To enter the contest simple share how you stay organized during the holidays.   

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The surprise it’s Chef blog series is sponsored by Chef Boyardee.  All content is true, based on Chantel’s personal experience.

Click here for Contest Rules and Regulations.

UrbanMoms.ca members are eligible to win so don’t forget to sign-in.  Not a member yet?  Click here to join.

The contest closes on December 20, 2011.

Eight is Enough but here comes Holiday Chaos!

  • http://sadamhosen1.blogspot.com Ivelisse Selesnick

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  • sueplay

    Shop early and use a notebook.

  • moren

    i stay organized by writing everything down and adding alerts to my phone so it keeps on reminding me.

  • aimeep

    accept help when offered

  • dljwinter

    Lists! If I don’t make them and cross off as they are completed I am totally unorganized all through the season.

  • DEBIJOT

    I start shopping for gifts in January for the following Christmas by hitting the sales. I do the cleaning and baking the cookies at the beginning of December and decorate after the major cleaning.

  • Diane52

    I buy the larger gifts early so I only have to buy fun things for the stockings in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I enjoy baking and my non-baking friends and family enjoy receiving baked goods. Every year, I plan what I will make, buy ingredients and containers and set a date to start and finish. I make sure the all the major cleaning is done before I start decorating or baking, and that includes getting the dogs groomed. Usually this plan has resulted in a fairly stress-free holiday.

  • hcablue

    I make all kinds of lists AND FOLOW THEM!! That’s how I stay organized.

  • A. Smith

    I’ve been trying to delegate some of the smaller tasks this year so I don’t feel too overwhelmed and it seems to be working really well.

  • dphumphrey

    The best way to stay organized is to HAVE a LIST
    decorating list
    present list
    kid list
    menu list
    and work through it knowing that you are only 1 GAL and can’t do everything!

  • bigj

    It looks like everyone here uses the same secret I do, a list for keeping everything under control. I need to write it down on lined paper in a little book and cross things off when I get them done. Friends use lists on their phones but that I cannot figure out yet!

  • Ladybug

    One of the biggest things we have found that has made things a lot easier is to wrap as we go. There is nothing worse than sitting up all night for the last two nights before Christmas wrapping gifts!

  • smhanley

    I space out tasks during the month of December such as baking, wrapping, decorating and bring in other family members to lend a hand. It is less stressful this way.

  • Rebby

    I stay organized by prepping food before the guests come! Sometimes even pre cooking certain things! This allows me to have time with my guests, but still have a delicious meal!

  • jonandjules

    We don’t celebrate the holidays…..we go on vacation instead :) So, the extent of my organizing is packing my swimsuit and making sure my passport is current.

  • judcon

    Lists and more lists and plenty of post-it notes. It;s the only way I can keep track of things!

  • lables12

    I try to bring my sons xmas list in my purse so I don’t get off track when buying gifts.

  • phairlady

    I Stay organized by getting my husband to do it all!!!

  • ninabergeron

    keep a list and shop early to avoid the madness!

  • pjh

    with lots of lists

  • jamie3t

    I like to think I stay organized by writing out lists.. but with only a week left before Christmas I feel the list keeps getting bigger and not enough is getting crossed off. But I am not letting that get me down.. its Christmas and a time to enjoy and not fret over. It will all eventually get taken care of.

  • JLUCAS9966

    I put in all my tasks into my Outlook calendar with preset reminders. It is very helpful this holiday season!
    Also it helps to have lists made up and I use a large organizer board to keep me on track.

  • dasing

    I stay organized by writing lists and planning ahead. I prepare freezer friendly meals and bake Christmas cookies in November, which are lifesavers when my “to do” list in December gets too long.

  • jan_el

    I have stopped trying to make everything the way people think it should be done. I do get my baking done and mailed away early but I have cut back on the amount of items I send. It is just shortbread now instead of an assortment. This year some items will arrive at their destinations in January…everyone is old enough now to be Okay with that.

  • alice20031979

    for me the best way is to make a list check it twice wrap all the gifts and dont let my husband help with any part of it thats when things go wrong in my house keep things clean and organized start the stuff like cookies early if its possible and the day before start the pies then off to the big dinner

  • hopebc62

    I like to do a little something daily! I start my baking and freezing it in early november, when accomplish somethint like this on a daily basis, then I am way ahead of myself when the holidays & family & visitors come over. Same with my holiday decor around the house, I do a bit daily too and this way am not overwhelmed with leaving everything till the last moment and feeling stressed! I also do my holiday shopping throughout the year…i save on sales and tuck away for christmas, without having the crowds & traffic jams ruin my holiday season!

  • Nico

    I leave it all to my wife – she is amazing!

  • kellyburk3

    I try lists…then I lose them…organized or not is not whats important…just enjoy the time with family and friends in the end thats whats important, not how many cookies you made or gifts you bought !!

  • kcrmb

    Lists! …with deadlines…so I know what needs to be done by when….the only way I survive!

  • murphy

    I do my Christmas baking in November and put it all away in the freezer for times when guests drop by.

  • sparky

    I am an avid list maker which I add to daily and check off once complete.

  • Betty

    I stay organized with many lists. I try to plan ahead, but that does not always work. during November I prepare meals and freeze them so that I can spend more time focusing on the task at hand.

  • Dianne

    To stay organized I try to have all my holiday shopping and baking done before the end of November. This leaves me the month of December to enjoy family and friends and to help others to enjoy the holidays by assisting them any way I can.

  • dian

    Lists and more lists, and my secret has always been that if something doesn’t get done, I’m the only one that knows

  • Charlene Vidal

    I stay organized by making a list, planning ahead and marking off my completed items as I go about getting prepared. Shopping for the holidays I start after the summer is over. I don’t like the crowds.

  • frankie1

    Planning ahead, start shopping in November and baking!

  • zot

    I use lists on my phone, and reminders and alerts to make sure everything gets done in time.

  • dorcontest

    I like to make my meals in advance so there is always something that I can defrost.

  • maybella1977

    I don’t know how to stay organized I just dive into the chaos and start ticking off what needs to be done. That and alot of green tea lol:)

  • mommyp

    making lists and shopping early is a great help. Also taking a day off work to do alot in advance helps.

  • fossie

    I shop early and I wrap as I buy the gifts. When that is done I start my Christmas baking and freeze. the week before xmas i do the decorating and cleaning.

  • Silvana

    In our household we pull together. Using a flip chart we have chores, errands and tasks that need doing for the week. We all take on the responsibility to help get all the have tos done. Works pretty good so that we can have alittle fun time too!

  • selbys

    I make lists and update them most nights. It is amazing how much I can knock off a list during the day.

  • drjess

    I use my iphone to keep me organized. I make lists on it for shopping and outside the home tasks and try to stay organized that way. I still find that it is necessary to go back to pen and paper for lists to to do around the house so we can put the list on the fridge door or on the table next to us at breakfast.

  • ceilidhf

    I make lists, use a planner, have a fridge calendar….BUT during the holidays it always seems to be chaos. In a good way, though…

  • Merry120

    I carry around a mittful of lists to try to stay organized. Every so often. I pull everything out to take stock of what I have. Otherwise presents get out of control and one person has 100 and one person has 1.

  • Vicki

    During the holiday season it is crazy here. I work retail and my spouse is busy taking Santa photos..and when I’m not working I’m helping with Santa photos. So the way we stay organized is lists and planning ahead. We also get our boys helping with jobs around the house…. with more lists.

  • Tracydeanne

    I have lists of my lists!!!

  • ConnieC

    With four married children, all with different tastes, we have simplified our Christmas by doing less shopping for gifts that would be returned. Giving cash instead means they get exactly what is wanted or needed in each family. As well, we try and focus more on time spent together with good food and lots of laughter. Less is more for our decorating style for Christmas, and some chores regarding Christmas dinner are delegated to certain people, which takes a lot of pressure off of me!
    For those that get gifts, such as my Dad and mother-in-law, homemade pickles and jams, as well as other consumable treats are what brings the biggest smiles!
    Of course, none of that would happen without lists and more lists – the only way that I can ensure that even our simplified Christmas is well planned. My iPhone is a real helper to keep me organized.

  • dilbrt

    I stay organized during the holidays by doing less- less gifts, less parties, and less stress than in the past.

  • missycat

    I keep a list of what I need to make and the ingredients and what I need to buy for everyone.

  • sweetswany

    I stay organized during the holidays by keeping a list and checkin it twice

  • Frankie2

    I’m also a listmaker and I try to do as much as possible ahead of time. I keep the freezer filled with appetizers and dainties that can be pulled out a moment’s notice when unexpected guests drop by.

  • Janice

    everything that can be done in advance is. closer to the date I make a countdown list.

  • ek03yr

    I stay organized through the holidays by making lists!

  • Xing Z

    I set a schedule in my Gmail calendar and make task lists in it. I am definitely having a lot of items in the calendar this holiday season! Would love to win the $200 President’s Choice gift card!

  • cave

    I take it one day at a time and things usually work out best that way.

  • Are Wong

    I put in all my tasks into my Outlook calendar with preset reminders. It is very helpful this holiday season!

  • Lyndalme

    I make a list to stay organized and I also have Christmas things packed away with labels so it easy to find my Christmas decorations and baking supplies.

  • moviefreak

    I try to plan ahead and take notes on my calendar

  • Justrose

    I also make my to do lists. I also like to multi task to get things done quicker, like while laundry is going I make beds, dust, or other chores!! Works for me…

  • chalbe

    At my age you need lists, lots of list. I accept invitations during the holidays but only invite people during the summer months when entertaining outside is the way to go. I feel I’ve done my share of hosting and I’m now a happy guest.

  • prairiebelle

    to stay organized during the holiday time I enlist my family to help me out instead of trying to do it all on my own. We make holiday baking and christmas wrapping a fun family evening and then it does not feel like overwhelming work all on my own

  • JJ

    I use my laptop to organize all the things I have to do. I usually end up printing out the lists and then carrying them with me to mark off items as completed.

  • memeflowers

    I make lists. Lots and lots of lists. Just like santa. Check them twice.

  • winnybee

    I make a list of duties that I need to do each day and try not to crowd too much into that day, leaving some time for just me.

  • dgoupil@videotron.ca

    I try to do as much a spossible ahead.

  • dreamer

    I stay organized during the holidays by going thru flyers & making a list of the things to buy. By knowing where the best deals are, I can determine which route to drive, thereby saving time & gas money. You can also determine if it’s justified to go there based on the deals. Shopping at grocery stores that price match is also a great way be spend a little extra time to reap the benefits from the overall savings.

  • tnmom68

    using the family calendar faithfully and sometimes just saying “sorry, can’t make it this year” to parties and dinners – keeping some of the dates free to do what needs to be done.

  • carol

    love my new Ipad…the calender keeps me organized…most of the time!

  • Wendelientje

    Eating this tonight – delish!

  • brendamcdonald2

    In a word – simplify. You will still be loved if you only make 3 different kinds of cookies instead of 12!

  • janetm

    I make a list and check it twice or three times. Really, I need to make lists at this time of year to be organized . It does help.

  • yy

    I always take a few minutes each morning to meditate and plan all of my busy activities.

  • ronnies

    I have to echo all the other people who mention their lists. I always rely on my lists but never more so than at holiday time! I’m also expecting a new baby in the new year so my list is even longer than usual.

  • Kare

    I have a daytimer and it is my bible. I write everything down in it. Working 2 jobs, office all day and retail nights and weekends you have to be organized as every minute counts :-) .

  • Debbie

    I stay organized by a Task list and completing one task at a time and things get done !

  • gracengratitude

    Lists lists lists list and sub-lists…. :)

  • SweetPanda

    I try to set up a list and mark down important dates for tasks that I need to complete. Once I got one thing done, i will cross it out from the list so I will always know what are outstanding. If there are things that my hubby can help out, I will ask for his help too so that I can get things done sooner

  • tobyhir

    A list! Not just for the holidays, but all year long! I lost one only once, and I felt my whole life fell apart…I know, that’s sad…lol I have so much going on all the time, that I need to do that to keep on top of things! Merry Christmas! : D

  • dnl

    i start early so i don’t rush in the end

  • caroneko

    I stay ahead of the curve by planning and scheduling. I shop all year round for gifts when I find great bargains.

  • lindawwww

    I make lists of what gifts to buy for everyone and then go out and power-shop.

  • voxworld

    I need to write everything down… oh and don’t forget to delegate errands to other family members if they are going to be out and about!

  • mike

    To stay organized I make lists of all the things I need to get people and then another list of errands that I need to get done.

  • sprinz

    I make lists…and occasionally, will put something I’ve already done at the top, just so I can start by crossing something off!

  • luv2win

    I stay organized over the holidays by preparing as much as possible in advance. One key thing is to keep it simple and not get all caught up in a bunch of fuss. Also, keep a well stocked pantry by shopping sales contantly, and that way, you are basically prepared for anything. Merry Christmas!

  • jcm

    I stay organized during the holidays by preparing throughout the year (believe it or not)! During the year, when I go to the various sales, I purchase Christmas gifts in advance and check people off my Christmas Gift Shopping List (also done in advance). In fact, all of my lists are done in advance: Christmas Card List, Christmas Grocery Shopping List, Christmas Gift List, Christmas Dinner/Menu List, Christmas Guest List, etc.

  • truhud

    Lists for each set of tasks. All lists are held together with a clip so that they don’t get lost. I always have them with me just in case. I rewrite them once a week to refresh my mind.

  • newwestmom

    I use my iphone to keep organized use grocery list apps , to do lists apps , party planner apps

  • ehelfand

    Lists and calendar.

  • Tara.duncan@shaw.ca

    My new I-phone – I love the calendar and my husband and I invite each other to things so there is no more – well I told you and I don’t remember! (less grumbling more happy!)

  • pattonfamily

    I am really bad at organization, so I do a lot of delegating. Plus, I don’t sweat the small stuff…

  • crazylady

    I use my Mom’s Family Organizer calendar and most recently my meal planner journal!

  • lizzielou

    I try to get as much gift shopping done before December as possible…the stores are CRAZY in December!

  • erin2470

    I make sure to start early, that way I’m not running around just days before Christmas trying to get everything.

  • Keri

    The holidays have definitely gotten more hectic this year now that my son is 13 months. Time is limited, wrapping paper is shredded and mom is tired. But the way I stay organized is by spending time with family and friends to get things done (annual Bake exchanges and wrapping parties) and in the end realizing that this year the decorations may be crooked, the gifts might have rips from little fingers but my son smiles whenever he sees the Christmas tree and that to me is the most rewarding Christmas gift I could ever receive. Merry Christmas everyone!

  • jazzy005

    Stay organized by mailing out all my Xmas cards out by the first of December.

  • Laura

    I rely on the organization of my friends and family during the holiday season (and the rest of the year too frankly…). Hahaha!

  • Corrie

    I delegate. I work full time and have two kids. We cut back as much as we can to our regular routine and what we can’t cut out we get family to help with. It’s the only time of year I ask for help so family is usually willing to step in. I guess I sound desperate enough they feel guilty – and I don’t care as long as it works. :)

  • Nick&Jaicyn’s Momma

    I stay organized by making a budget, and making a list to suite it. I also make sure to have my dearest mom on hand to babysit my kids so i can run around shopping without them being around to see what im getting them:)

  • jmeme

    I stay organized during Christmas by getting my kids to help out in any way possible, and I definitely need that help.

  • dcfish

    The way I stay organized during the holidays is to make a LONG list. Of course, I have to check it twice.

  • benieinbc

    i love these products..i raised my daughter on them and now granddaughter…easy to stack and open..good for a quick meal. but, i guess we are commenting on organization..i say, pad, pen, calender, magnets on the fridge, anything to help me remember what or where i have to be…i also have some alarms set on my phone to help remind me as well,,,,ahhhh, old age….

  • gpontikas

    I will be honest, I’m pretty lousy at being organized but I do find, if I don’t sweat the small stuff, things turn out ok. Getting overwhelmed and panicky does not achieve anything – it can sort of counteract any progress. So breathe, stay confident and focused and move forward!

  • Jenn W

    Budgeting and lists. We list out who we are buying gifts for, set a budget and ideas for each person so we’re armed when we hit the stores, LOL.

  • clirl

    Shop early, and stay organized by creating a list

  • Michelle

    I stay organized by making a list of all that needs to get done.. and doing the best to keep to the plan. Most of all I like to enjoy the holidays and time with family and try not to worry too much the small stuff.

  • BillyJack

    I have lists of each thing I want to accomplish.
    Prioritize each one from top to bottom.
    And I keep my lists on my Blackberry where they are handy at all times!

  • Suelyn

    I need my lists to stay organize.

  • Lesentz

    I prepare as much as possible in advance. Cook for the week on sunday and freeze it in meal portions. I always have a fruit bowl fully stocked so my mini’s can get their own healthy snack.I also make lists. Crossing off things gives me a sense of accomplishment even if it is only sweeping the floor!

  • megnate

    I keep organized by doing alot of things in advance when I finally have a spare momment to myself

  • starbelly77

    I stay organized by keeping to do lists!! Makes life a whole lot easier :)

  • carrieberry

    Lists though sometimes I lose them!!

  • Sandy

    I make a list and cross things off as they are done, gives you a sense of accomplishment.

  • denna1982

    preparation is the key! Do as much as possible in advanced makes things so much easier!

  • bronzie

    I stay organized by keeping lists of everything I have purchased for everyone I buy for so I have an easy way of determining who I have left to buy for as well as who I have completed. I also make a separate list of items that I have told other people that are on my kids’ wish lists to avoid duplicate purchases. Whew, what a relief!

  • sarahjm75

    I make a list and check it twice! ;)

  • Totten

    go to the calendar, go to today, check the list, do it…..

  • dmhaen

    We keep it simple in our household at Christmas. We don’t go over the top on gifts or with attending events. Hubby and I usually purchase something for ourselves together at some point in the year, so we only buy stocking items for each other. Since the older kids live at a distance, they get their Christmas gifts when we go to visit them. The youngest child is at an age where I find it difficult to buy for him, so gift cards it is for the most part.

  • remarker

    To stay organized I sort the special ingredients needed for each holiday treat or meal and then mark the labels so delicious ingredients don’t disappear before I need them.

  • babylove818

    I start my Christmas shopping right after Christmas. First I buy a gift card every paycheck to each place I know I buy my gifts. When Summer comes I start spending the gift cards on Christmas. I usually have some left over and I if it for a difficult person (Hard to buy) I just give the gift card to them with a card and chocolate. By doing this it lifts the fininancial burden at Christmas time. I also do Santa’s Choice for food so at the beginning of December my Christmas Grocery list is delivered that I paided for throughout the year. I don’t like to put myself in debt. Enjoy Christmas Everyone.

  • jklmclark

    To stay organized everything goes on the calendar for special events like concerts, carolling even special visits. Plus lots of lists – naughty and nice lol. Try to make big pots of soup, meals with leftovers etc to save some time cooking as often on the fly.

  • swb_78

    My lists are overwhelming my fridge! I also do most of my shopping online, so I keep track of all the shipping notifications I receive in my email!

  • feffer2077

    I don’t celebrate the holidays but I do love inviting my whole family over for a big family dinner once or twice a year. Could never do it without my sister coming over early to help with all the cooking.

  • swb_78

    My lists are overwhelming my fridge!! I also do alot of online shopping, so I keep track of all my gifts as I receive shipment notifications through my email!!!

  • Penelope

    To try to be organized I shop when the stores first open in the mornings and I have my list in hand.

  • mwatt

    I stay organized by delegating jobs and enlisting the help of my children. I also make lists for chores, shopping and ideas.

  • Thandie

    I use a calendar and a list

  • momof2

    I attempt to stay orgainized by shopping early, budgeting and creating lists. Am I the one who still has to run out once or twice on the 24th? YES!!!! I do my best but life is always throwing in those last minute surprises to keep me guessing! I feel a New Year’s resolution in the works “get more orgainized”

  • avaughans

    I too try and start early with bits and pieces picked up all year round, then I make a list of what I’ve got. I also wrap early so I can enjoy it and not feel rushed at the last minute.

  • lisa

    I buy most of our presents through out the year and I keep track with a good list – so there isn’t as much craziness at Christmas. We still bake a lot though and that takes rime and organizing. Thanks

  • viv123

    I try to make lists but still I end up running around anyway at the last minute!

  • Martini

    I make lists in my i-phone. I always have them with me!

  • moemommy

    i start at the beginning of december decorating and pace it out so it doesnt get overwhelming or too messy

  • davh

    I utilize the things I use every day. I put reminders on my desktop screen using the “Sticky Notes” feature from Windows 7 and I have an iphone app that helps me to not forget about upcoming appointments and obligations.

  • elizabeth1

    Keep all of your plans on your smartphone.

  • tinad

    I live by lists and calendars!

  • melissa avey

    I stay organized by using lists! :)

  • Kitsa

    I make a long list of everything that I need to do. For example, who to buy gifts for, what gifts to buy, what cookies I will bake, what I will cook, who I will invite, etc…. If I don`t make lists then I will be totally lost!

  • Marlene V.

    how you stay organized during the holidays
    -make lists and also delegate tasks to other family members

  • lyndam42

    i am a multitasker and i use lists to keep everything going smoothly. I start a list each morning and cross each on off when complete.

  • michelle

    I like to keep lots of healthy snacks in the fridge and plan smaller meals for the days I’m too busy to cook.

  • redleaf55

    I keep a family calendar – I add in events as they are planned and we’re never caught by surprise or double booked.

  • erkrueger

    I make meals ahead and freeze them for busy days.

  • JeannetteNL

    Definitely starting early as possible, making lists and prioritizing what must be done. For the first time ever, I shopped online this year. It was the best idea ever! I have been done with Christmas shopping for several weeks now (other than a few little things) and it was oh so relaxing. No crowds, no waiting etc. I know my plan for next year already!;0)

  • jiidii

    i cook and bake as much as i can beforehand so as to free up time to spend with the family

  • aidn1

    I make a list and check it twice

  • stacym

    Lists! Then I have to remember where I put my lists…. :)

  • Tammy

    I stay organized during the holidays by keeping it simple and eating lots of finger foods rather than large meals.

  • sisson64

    I cook double (or sometimes triple) the recipe and freeze meals for another day, get my holiday shopping done early, and try and get enough sleep. (That last one is very hard!)

  • TheMuse

    Lists lists lists.

  • maryswanson

    I make a list before shopping and plan my route.

  • zooco

    The calendar and notepad functions on my iPhone is a lifesaver – holiday schedule, shopping list, mailing list for gift and Christmas cards, everything goes in my phone, I honestly don’t remember how I survive the holiday season before this :)

  • heaven97865

    i make a list and i have secret spots around the house to hide things.

  • Vesper

    As Christmas just involves myself and my husband ( all our families are Britain) I send the cards and presents in November and make sure that all the wine has been bought by the beginning of December. Then there is nothing else to organize.

  • PDLadybug

    I try to stay organized during Holidays by prioritizing lists of the things I need to get done such as gifts for family, decorations, baking, grocery shopping, Christmas cards, party and dinner menus. Then, I break these categories down to smaller detailed lists with specific deadline dates. I try to be organized and not waste time second guessing items I’ve already put on the lists to do or to buy, because that wastes precious time. So, I make my lists, check them twice and thrice’ and then, I just do it. The drive is me as I want to get these things done so I can relax and ENJOY the Holidays with my family and friends. And that’s what it’s al about.

  • Kiki

    I try to group tasks together and I won’t stop until it’s completed.
    For example, I will do a grocery shopping trip solely for the ingredients for my holiday baking; I have a detailed list and I don’t let myself get sidetracked by picking up groceries for the week (if I let that happen, I’m surely going to forget or overlook something on my baking list and I won’t notice it until the butter has been creamed with the sugar and I look up and I’m out of cocoa.)
    Same thing goes for Christmas shopping, I’ll one shopping trip just for kids presents and will head out to Walmart or Toys R Us and I won’t come home until that’s completed. I cannot pick things up willy-nilly over the weeks leading up to Christmas, because I’ll forget someone or will end up buying someone two gifts.

  • lpappas

    Sometimes it’s not easy to remember everything, especially around the holidays when everything seems to “speed up”. I make more lists at this time of year – for groceries, wish lists (of course), and I keep everything in a pouch every time I head out. Decorating the house is a group effort, and it’s done one weekend, about a month before the 25th. Everything gets checked off down the list, and stress levels are kept to a minimum (hopefully).

  • Amy Johnson

    I stay organized by making a list on December first, of the most important things I need to do to the least important, and make my way down the list until everything is crossed off !

  • PARENTOF3

    Our family stays organized by only going to one event a day so that we are never in a rush.

  • misscee

    Lists are a must. I use my blackberry calender and memo pad a ton, especially around the holidays. It really helps me to stay organized :)

  • Brynna

    Deligate, deligate, deligate. Don’t try to do everything yourself. And just relax. It is supposed to be a holiday.

  • Melinda153

    I stay organized by making lists.

  • cynt

    I make lists for everything – especially a to-do list for the day

  • silverneon2000

    Agree with others about lists from what your kids want for gifts. Also get you shopping done early so no last minute rush. Make sure presents are wrapped ahead of time and hidden. Also have some goodies on hand for those unexpected visitors during this holiday time.

  • Jill

    I shop year around to get the good sales and have less to do in December. I keep everything simple. My son loves to help be bake, so we get to spend time together baking.

  • lauriemacneil

    I have a calendar list of things that need to be done on each day from the middle of November, right up until Christmas.

  • linlin

    Lists & my Calendar are my saving grace for organization!

  • pansy

    I keep it simple for the holidays. Don’t overdo the gatherings and the baking. Keep gift giving to a small group and spend time being happy and enjoying the great times with family and friends.

  • teal

    Shop all year long and stash the gifts in my “gift tote” in the closet.

  • crup

    I try to get my shopping done ahead of time and wrap the gifts along the way. That way I’m not stuck wrapping the day before.

  • dawnw197744

    I try to stay organized by having all of my baking done ahead of time. I have lists for each of my children and check them off as I go.

  • ksceviour

    I always have a list of people I have to buy for and things I have to do,when I buy a present,I mark that person off,,I also buy throughout the year ,dont wait till the last minute!

  • AK

    I HAVE A LIST THAT I BUY FOR ALL THROUGH OUT THE YEAR, AND IF I CAN NOT AFFORD IT I CASH IN MY AIR MILES OR SOME OTHER REWARDS, WHICH I HAVE HAD TO DO AGAIN THIS YEAR, THANK,

  • Jackie

    i try to start in June and have everything done by Halloween so there is no stress and we can enjoy Christmas as a family.

  • cheryl

    I make a list of things I have to day many weeks ahead of time. I also have a target date for each item. After each item is complete ,I check it off.

  • catgirl

    Lists and deadlines for everything. Taking advantage of buying online when kids are in bed to avoid the chaos of the mall. Trying to have healthy meals on those crazy days!

  • ellyskid

    I have a lists for cooking, shopping , holiday packing don’t know what I would do without them.

  • bigredscraps

    LISTS, LISTS, LISTS. I have to make lists, it’s the best way to stay organized. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • t.gibson

    first I buy gifts in August, and when items go on sale could be even a year in advance I store them in the closet underneath the stairs, second thing I do is double bake recipes and freeze them, this way there is no rush or shortage when it comes to Christmas goodies/treats!

  • donnas

    I stay organized with lists for everything from groceries to presents to what to put in our suitcase.

  • lilolme105

    i buy presents throughout the year, or mark the gift ideas in a note book for christmas.

  • baker7

    As I buy presents I wrap them right away. Seems to save some time

  • bigsister

    I start early so that I’m finished everything a couple of weeks ahead.

  • sking

    start early! As in right after the previous Christmas.

  • cassmat

    Wrap gifts as I buy them and label them, much easie..

  • Sparkle

    I make lots of lists, shopping, cooking, wrapping, house cleaning and force myself to do it all. Ticking items off your list makes you feel more in control.

  • skyalive

    I try to stay organized by using a calendar and in the final 2 weeks before Christmas I write down something that needs to be done each day so I’m not overwhelmed at the end.

  • nikkipercham

    Plan plan plan and invest in sticky notes. I`m old fashion, I like to write down everything, during Christmas time, it get`s pretty crazy in my household with Parties and gifts and more gift so I keep a journal and record everything. If we have a party to attend, or what gift to buy also, what our budget is, its been planned out ahead of time!

  • bryceton

    I stay organized by making lists!

  • susieq8058

    I leave myself little post it notes on my kitchen cupboards, I have been baking one day a week since nov 15

  • CC

    We print out a blank December calendar page and after penciling in all the concerts, parties and other obligations we fill it with our “to do” list and on what day we think we’ll get it done. We have a special calendar just for baking where we record what we made, how much we made, where we got the recipe, and if we liked it or not. We reflect on these from year to year and it helps to remember which recipes worked and which ones didn’t. We like looking back from year to year to compare whether we’re ahead or behind in our preparations!

  • db

    I love making lists – trouble is I keep on losing them or leaving them behind when I go out – a note book helps!

  • licoricelegs

    My mantra is this: KISS – keep it simple.

  • nikkialeta

    a production schedule for all the baking i do for people i see is always necessary!

  • schmoopie

    We always try to stay organized by making a list and checking each thing off as we do it. Especially when we are cooking the holiday meal- a list of “what to do and in which order” is so essential to a disaster-free dinner.

  • sewcraftygirl

    I have 5 children and work full time so organization is key. I keep lists, subscribe to mailing lists to watch sales and steal away those precious hours in the evening once the toddler is asleep to work on projects.

  • mountie9

    I always make a lot of lists and plan early (Right after Halloween). I’m a Librarian so this is second nature to me and what I am good at. Keeps me stress free every year (and out of the malls after December 1st – worked in retail way too long – I stay far away from malls in December)

  • momoffvie

    This year I decided to limit my stress by NOT shopping until the week before Christmas. Yes I have picked up a few things but not having the “I need to get this done now” mentality has actually helped keep my stress level down. I did get the children to swap names and give me a list of things they would like this year.

  • Lin

    Make a “Things to Do” list.This keeps everything in check,organized and smartly managed.

  • flower

    It’s all about the lists !!

  • Bee L

    Write down a list of things to do, most important first and cross it out along the way. Hmm, I make this kind of list everyday, actually. :)

  • zorange

    Organized? At the holidays? people can really do that? Every year I make my plans to be organized but life gets in the way and the best plans never seem to work out that way. :)

  • Gardengirl

    I know it’s been said before but Lists, lists, amd more lists. That and getting things done early.

  • winnermb

    Have several meals frozen and labelled and ready to go for a good nutritious meal…..anyone in the family can get them started in the oven……and we get a homecooked meal!

  • pk5050

    Start early and have lists, lists, and more lists and make sure to consult them often.

  • mistycarole

    I’m not organized, but always manage to get everything done.

  • Cowlvr

    I have the kiddies do their Wish List at the beginning of December (usually when the Sear Wish Book comes out). The kids find the presents that they like and I then look for deals on the items on their lists (comparing to online deals as well). For stocking stuffers, I keep track of things that they like in the Scholastic orders they receive from school each month and order a few items each month starting in September (being a teacher helps with this).
    This year for teacher gifts we went with plancanada.ca and gave classroom essentials for one child to each of my children’s teachers. We’ll do gift cards for the coaches/music teachers, etc.
    I take part in a cookie exchange at work which takes care of the baking for the holidays.
    Luckily we do not have to host families at our home as we do Christmas Eve with Grand-maman and my side of the family and then Christmas morning at Nana’s with my husbands side of the family. We try to have some of the neighbours over during the holidays once the chaos is done and then we enjoy the rest of our time together at home.

  • Jeanbean

    Lists are the way to go, keeps your organized and keeps from spending too much.

  • Dan

    Lots of early shopping and lots of lists

  • Wayne S

    I work on a computer all day, so I stay organized using spreadsheets for everything! Shopping lists, meal ideas, events, and anything else!

  • lala

    I plan early and shop in early November and December when all the must have toys are in stock. I keep all my receipts in an envelope and if something i bought goes on sale you can get a price adjustment or return and purchase it at a lower price. Good money saving tip for all us trying to keep on budget !!

  • spynaert

    I really don’t sweat it, it’s about the visitors, not the mess. I’ll clean it up after they leave.

  • ghisl

    I organize my days at the beginning of the month for various tasks such as shopping day, baking day…etc.

  • spamgirl

    I skip the holidays altogether, it’s much easier although a little depressing.

  • Nate3333

    I use list to keep organized

  • lovelylindy

    I make lists and try to do as much ahead as I possibly can. I like to do much of my shopping all through the year and tuck the gifts away. They can be wrapped in November freeing up time in December for baking.

  • cole5234

    My calender keeps me organized

  • gizfarris

    By the time the holidays get here I have everything done and my house is clean. I always make sure I have something in the refrigerator in case I get guests dropping in. If I need to do anything else, I make sure I do it early in the morning.

  • p23ag

    Well I’m not all that organized but I wouldn’t survive the season without my calendar.

  • hross0821

    I stay organized by delegating as much as possible – and if the delegates don’t do things “perfectly” I refuse to be stressed about it, as long as they put effort into it.

  • pynaplgrl

    One task a day (e.g. wrapping, cards, baking) for the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas.
    And I enlist help and delegate.
    Then if it’s not all perfect on Christmas Day- oh well- it doesn’t have to be.
    pynaplgrl@hotmail.com

  • Judy C. Craig

    Lists are a must for me. It also helps to plan ahead, shop ahead, bake ahead and leave the Christmas season to enjoy it all.

  • Anne Budgell

    I cook as much earlier and freeze, specially the goodies. Tray them and freeze just take one out when you need it. The make great last minute gifts too.

  • lucky

    I try to get a little done every day like gift wrapping, baking etc. I make a list to keep me on track.

  • margaret44

    One stop shopping for gifts, have a list, have a budget.

  • Nancy T

    Lists, lists & more lists! In my iphone of course so prying eyes (2 & 5 years) can’t find it! :)

  • kara

    Like others in here, lists. And I shop on weekends when dad can watch the kids.

  • pjg

    I plan ahead and shop ahead.

  • Elaine Miller

    i stay organized with a calendar and lists!

  • chachacha

    I wish that I could keep lists, but I’m always afraid the the kids will find them and know what surprises I have chosen to stuff their stockings with. I have to remember it all in my head and am so relieved when everything is purchased and ready for Christmas. I did my final shopping this morning and am now free to relax! Happy holidays everyone!

  • AgnesM

    To stay organized during the holidays and always I make lists. When I have a list I feel less stressed about trying to remember everything that has to be done or purchased!

  • Thesto

    Plan early and get ready long before christmas, so there’s ntohing that had to be rushed in at the last second…this way you will have a peaceful christmas

  • thealces

    I shop and wrap before the christmas season arrives.

  • lisaski

    Lists, lists, amd more lists. I love the feeling of crossing things off of my to-do list. It makes me feel a little more in control and that things are actually getting accomplished amongst the December chaos.

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