We all know just how overwhelming the holidays can be. The good news is that there are simple ways we can reduce stress and spark more joy this bustling season—and it starts with staying organized. Here are a few of my go-to organization hacks for happy, stress-free holidays.

Have a budget-friendly gifting strategy.

A holiday gifting strategy can be as basic or elaborate as you like—as long as you make a plan that makes sense for you and your budget. From a gift list based on thoughtful inexpensive gift ideas to an organized gifting closet, to keep gifting on budget, make sure you have a strategy in place before going shopping! 

A simple and effective way to reduce holiday spending (and the stress that goes along with it) while grabbing the best inexpensive gifts is to practice smart shopping habits. There is no shame in collecting coupons, and it’s just plain smart to drop sales dates into your calendar. 

Refer to your gifting strategy and scope out applicable coupons and sales for thoughtful holiday gifts that won’t break the bank. Be sure to organize it all in your planner so you can follow through and grab those deals before they sell out. 

Wrap as you go. 

A simple but foolproof tip is to wrap gifts as you go! I have a large family—and 4 kids—so instead of leaving things until the 11th hour and panic-wrapping at midnight on the 24th, I wrap each gift as it comes in. This way, the stack of presents never seems daunting, and I can put on my holiday movies and wrap away to get in the spirit. Plus, gifts under the tree just adds to the festivity! 

Keep gift cards on hand, just in case.

I like to be prepared for those surprise or last-minute gifting moments by always having gift cards handy. This takes care of those awkward moments when you forget a gift or receive an unexpected present from an acquaintance or neighbor but have nothing in return. Gift cards also save time and allow more control of your holiday spending. Just choose the desired amount and check out! 

For pretty and practical gifts, I have to give Erin Condren gift cards (of course!). For coffee-lovers, Starbucks gift cards are my go-to. And I like to keep some Amazon or Visa gift cards to cover all of my bases. 

Don’t forget to stock up on gift card envelopes or mini boxes for stress-free and stylish presentation! 

Store and organize gifts and gifting supplies.

Whether you use shelves, drawers or under-bed storage bins, you’ll want to organize your holiday gifts, wrapping paper, gift labels, gift cards & more so it’s easy to check off that gift list and enjoy a festive “wrapping” session with time to spare. Consider organizing your gifting goodies into custom categories for added convenience. The point is to create a gift organization system that works for you and, hopefully, is a bit fun too.

Freeze cookie dough.

My kids may be a little old for leaving out cookies for Santa, but there’s nothing as festive as cookie decorating or enjoying cocoa and cookies with neighbors after a potluck or holiday party. When will you have time to make cookie dough from scratch? If you’re like me, the answer is never! But I like to try to find time in November or early December to make a couple of batches and freeze them so I can easily pull out cookie dough at any point during the weeks leading up to Christmas for a festive treat.

Organize your home before family holiday shopping.

When my family and I set aside time to organize our closets, garage, drawers, etc., we’re more mindful of what we have, need, don’t need and what we can start using again. This is an especially good exercise for families with kids who may get so excited about all the holiday loot they’ll get that they forget to be grateful for the abundance they already have.

Before getting into any serious family holiday shopping, try taking inventory of what you already have. Imagine how much money you’ll save by not buying things you definitely don’t need!

Reduce holiday travel stress with a travel planner. 

No more overwhelming, budget-breaking holiday travel! The whole point is to get away and enjoy your holiday, right? That’s why I like to plan any and all seasonal road trips, overnight events and vacations in a travel planner. Keeping it all organized in one place helps me stay on top of my holiday travel expenditures, which totally takes the stress out of traveling during the busiest time of year.

With a travel planner, you can also eliminate over-packing and excess baggage fees, forgetting essentials and having to buy them during your trip. Plan it out and travel smart, with more peace, enjoyment and vacation money in your pocket too!

No matter what your plan is for the holiday season, I hope a few of these tips have left you feeling ready to conquer the chaos and enjoy yourself too. 

Happy Holidays!