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How To Simplify Your Holiday To-Do List

If the holidays are always hectic for you, this year holds unique challenges. There’s not as much you can do in person, whether it’s shopping or giving someone a hug. And if you’re working from home, all the festive family chaos can get mixed up with your professional obligations. If you’re not sure how to simplify your holiday to-do list,start by sorting what’s necessary from what’s not this year.

Redefine Rituals

Every holiday tradition is a treasure—but sorry, not this year. If you still love the rituals but just can’t do them all, talk with others about which ones have the most meaning for all of you. Better yet, talk about which one is important. If no one seems to miss the formal office party as much as the looser after-party, host a virtual karaoke event: one Christmas classic per person and a mute button to deal with the hecklers. If your family insists on baking cookies, but you can’t find the counter space or time, buy pre-made sugar cookies and pile them high with pre-made frosting.

Get Over Gifts

Finding everyone the perfect gift is never achievable. Let it go. Clients won’t need another cheese-and-Moose-Munch gift basket; if they’re working from home, they won’t have anywhere to put it. Just make sure you take a moment to tell them how much you sincerely appreciate their business. For the people you won’t be able to see, you can get creative and thoughtful without having to mail out packages: send an email gift card, scan in some old photos, or buy them a celebrity video greeting from Cameo. For any gifts you want to wrap, getting organized can streamline the process. Use one color paper for office gifts and another for family, and save the homemade embellishments for next year.

Slash Your Schedule

On the work front, there won’t be the usual dinners, parties, and drinks on your schedule. Unfortunately, co-workers and clients are used to flexible hours now and might expect you to be available at all hours. And it turns out that video meetings can be just as interminable as in-person meetings. It’s the season of giving, but you can’t give time that you don’t have. Before you automatically RSVP yes to the next invite, take a moment to think about whether an email could suffice or if it could wait until after the holidays. Prediction: It can.

In your personal life, you’ll have fewer travel plans, school pageants, and family gatherings this year. Even if you didn’t know how to simplify your holiday to-do list, the universe has given you a break. Use the time that you would have spent rushing around to connect with loved ones more quietly. If you’re using the same calendar for both your work and social commitments, block out some appointments for family, too. Work deadlines are important, but so are Christmas movies and answering endless questions about Santa’s elves.

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