Getting Ready for the Holidays: Decorations

Holiday decorations are an important part of the season. They help to get us all in the holiday spirit and bring a touch of fun into our homes. While each family has their own traditions for how and when they will decorate, we’d like to offer some suggestions on how to prepare for the decorating process in an organized manner.

Before you decorate:

  • Remove your holiday decorations from storage and review the contents. If anything is broken or needs repair set the items aside and take appropriate action. Then determine if there are gaps in your collection that need to be filled or if there is anything special you’d like to add this year. Take care of all decoration shopping before you start the actual decorating process.
  • Decide if you have a particular theme or type of decoration that you’d like to highlight this year.
  • Check your Christmas lights to ensure they are working properly.
  • Double-check that you know the location of miscellaneous, but important items, such as the Christmas tree stand or stockings.

If you are limited on time, there are several local options for enlisting help for your decorating needs:

  • Tradition Trees in Metro Atlanta offers a service that will deliver, install, remove and recycle your Christmas Tree. They can also provide wreaths, roping, and other related items. Prices vary depending on tree size, so visit their website for details.
  • The Christmas Light Pros also in Metro Atlanta provide professional holiday light hanging services, including installation and removal in January. Call for a free estimate.
  • And of course, The Well-Organized Woman offers full interior holiday decorating services, including decoration purchase, concept design, and organized packing following the holidays.

For more tips and ideas about the holiday planning process, check out our recently released Holiday Planner eBook on The printable planner is filled with helpful worksheets, checklists, and timelines to assist in your organized planning process.



GUEST POST: How To Plan a Party — Fast!

Recently, I was faced with quite the party planning conundrum. The date of my housewarming party in Brooklyn was one week away, and my significant other had just broken his arm. I knew I was on my own, on a budget and on the way to the nut house with anxiety. How on earth was I going to pull off a dinner party for 20 people that started at 8pm when I couldn’t be home until 6:30pm the day of??? By channeling my inner Well-Organized Woman, of course! Many of you will likely find yourself in similar stressful situations during this holiday season. Fear not! Read on for how I did it and how you can, too.

The most important thing you can do is to plan ahead and make lists — for EVERY aspect of the party. This includes menus, grocery shopping trips and the order of operations in the kitchen on the day of your party. By giving this thought ahead of time, you will be able to rely on the schedules you create to get things done throughout the week, rather than trying to remember your to-do lists in your scattered and stressed out head the night before.

  • Invitations: Save trees and create an e-vite. Everyone’s doing it! We also decided we would be happy to feed our friends, but we asked them to bring their favorite drink in the invitation. If however, you’ll be taking care of food and drinks, see below for how to buy alcohol smartly!
  • Budget: Set a reasonable budget and track your expenses. Ours was $300. Try your best to stick to this plan!
  • Supplies: ask yourself how you’ll serve the food and drinks. Plastic cups, plates and silverware make clean-up a breeze. Paper napkins with a holiday theme are fun, and you can usually get a good deal during the season on them. And don’t forget cookware! Make sure you have the right pots and pans — you don’t want to be stuck without a roasting pan an hour before your guests arrive!
  • Menus: ask yourself what you’ll serve and think about the friends who are coming to your gathering as you answer this question and make your list. For my gathering, we went casual with our food choices but did split our menu into 3 tiers: welcome snacks, appetizers and dinner.
    • Chips, pretzels and pita with salsa, white bean dip, and spinach/artichoke dip, as well as cheese, sausage, olives, almonds and dried fruit made up our welcome snacks – they were on the table as our guests arrived.
    • Appetizers included caprese salad, shrimp cocktail and italian meatballs with toasted baguette – they went out after everyone had arrived.
    • Dinner was our favorite at-home meal, rotisserie chicken with seasoned rice and a unique salad that included roasted cauliflower – this went out after everyone had a cocktail or two and some snacks.
    • For dessert, a homemade apple pie. We turned this into more of a fun group activity – some of our guests helped cut up the apples with us!
  • Grocery Shopping by Days of the Week: Split your shopping and tasks up by days of the week and create a to-do list foreach day. Work backwards in order of freshness. For the ingredients that need to be at made the same day they are eaten (rotisserie chicken, shrimp cocktail, and baguettes, for example), buy those the day of your party. Ingredients such as produce, sausages, cheeses, fresh olives and sauces can be purchased the day before the party. They will keep overnight. Dry goods (rice and pasta, chips, nuts and dried fruit) and supplies (see above) should be picked up well ahead of time. You’ll feel like you have a head start on your shopping, and these things will keep with no worry to you.
  • Alcohol: Though we asked our friends to bring their favorite drinks, we did buy some alcohol — but we were smart about it. Trader Joe’s makes wonderful wines for $3-5 per bottle! You can’t beat that. Or try a store like Costco for great deals in bulk.
  • HELP: recruit a friend to help you that evening. She can pour chips in bowls and cut up ingredients while you are cooking.
  • Party Outfit: Decide what this will be and lay it out the night before, right down to the hosiery, shoes, jewelry and makeup you’ll need.
  • Day Of: To declutter your mind, make a list of every step you need to take from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you put out the food, including getting dressed for the party. Put the responsibility down on paper! Once it’s on the list, it can be out of your mind. Here’s an example of my list to get you thinking in an organized and ordered manner..
    • Pull any frozen meats out of freezer to defrost that morning (example: ground meat for meatballs).
    • When you come home, put on your party dress and touch up your makeup FIRST, otherwise, you will not have time to do it. Trust me. Since you laid it all out the night before, this should be quick and easy.
    • I knew I had two items that needed to be prepped and baked. They had the same baking time and similar temperatures, so I took care of preparing the dishes (artichoke dip and roasted cauliflower) and put them into the oven. The rice was also set to take the same amount of time to cook, so I put that to boil at the same time the dishes went into the oven. As they baked, I chopped veggies and blended my other dip in the food processor, while my friend opened our supplies and put things in bowls on the table.
    • Once our guests arrived, I put the rotisserie chickens (store bought) into the oven to warm them up while guests munched on snacks, ate appetizers and sipped cocktails.
    • Dinner was then served followed by pie baking. Don’t forget to eat!

    And finally, once the guests are gone, do a quick clean up by placing bottles and cans on the counter, dishes in the sink and trash by the door. You can do all the major cleaning the next day but you’ll be happy you pre-organized your efforts. –Elise, Social Media Director and Contributing Blogger

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