How “The List” Saved my Holidays


People would use an infinite number of adjectives to describe me… I do not care to know them all, but there are a ton. One word that would not make the top of that list is ORGANIZED. I tend to be a hot mess of craziness and disorganization. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am organized in my own way. I can absolutely tell you that the baby’s socks are under the middle cushion of the couch but somewhere deep down, I know they don’t belong there.

At the holidays, organization and planning are key. Key to maintaining your sanity and key to being able to enjoy the season. My disorganization usually manifested itself in my shopping. I would start early, get a good start, wait a few weeks, start again, over buy and overspend. Then 4 years ago I decided I wanted to be more organized with my shopping. I had it in my head that if I could keep my shopping organized, it would help keep my stress level at a more manageable level. Decorating and baking are the fun things… for me, shopping is not.

Then it hit me… like a 10lb fruit cake. MAKE A FREAKING LIST, DIANE. So I did just that. I made a list of everyone I needed to buy for, what I planned to buy, and what my monetary limit was. I even color coded it so that I could see what I still needed, what I had, and whether it was wrapped. Here is how the list helped me that year, and how it has continued to help me ever since.

It helped me to NOT OVER BUY – I was constantly starting and stopping with my shopping. Meaning, I would have a good trip to the store, get a ton purchased but would take it home, hide it, and then forget I had it. Then I would go out again, have no clue what I already had and just keep buying. I ended up with way too many gifts, especially for my kids. I was buying things just to meet a package count that was not even accurate seeing as I had no clue what I had already purchased. The list kept me on track with what I already had and any gaps… if I knew I needed 3 more packages or 60 more dollars to spend, I shopped inside those guidelines.

It helped me to NOT OVERSPEND – I always set monetary limits on gifts for each person I shop for. That number changes from year to year sometimes but I always had a limit. Now, the problem is that with no idea what I had already purchased for people, I also had no idea what I had spent on those gifts. I would end up with so many gifts for one person and I would be grossly over budget. I would sometimes even find packages that I never even gave, so they were just wasted money. Making and following my list helped to me stay on budget, keep track of total monies spend, and identify needs and even found that it helped ME save money. I was getting things on sale the list helped me see what I was spending versus what I had budgeted. Who does not like to find a little big of saved cash here and there, am I right?!

It helped me to NOT OVER STRESS – I found that the more organized I was with my shopping, the calmer and more relaxed I was about the entire holiday season. I did more online shopping and shopping earlier, crossing things off my list, wrapping in smaller bundles, and even had some time left over for all my fun holiday traditions with my family. The list kept me on track. It helped me to create a plan, continuously execute that plan, and keep my sanity.

Here is the best part of the list…. I now use the list in almost every aspect of my life. Its been a gamechanger for my crazy unorganized tendencies. I am FAR from perfect, but I have found that my list making helps not just at the holidays. I use it for party planning, back to school, work to-dos, house cleaning, almost everything I need to do in my world.

The holidays are meant to be fun… sure they are stressful and sometimes a little nutty but they are supposed to be fun. So, make your lists, get out there, and HAVE FUN!!! Happy Holidays!


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