How To Manage Housework During the Christmas Season

Christmas Season and Household Routines

man carrying tree

While you are working on your Christmas preparation, don't allow everything else go to pot. Continue on the basic household routine—cooking, laundry, and pick-up— and you'll have more time for Christmas projects and fun.

Do the dinner decision before ten o'clock every morning. Even better, during this busy season, plan the line up for a week and place it on the refrigerator door so the family members can begin with dinner preparation if you should be held up. The longer you delay each day to decide what to cook, the fewer the options. This one planning method can make your day go much more smoothly. People who are caught at five-thirty wondering, "What shall we eat?" often land on going out to eat, not because they like to eat out, but because they aren't prepared. Without thinking, they could be using money they'd really rather spend on something else. It is not the cooking that is so hard. for instance, you can bake chicken breasts in the time it takes to get to McDonald's and home again. It is the selection process that is hard. Doing the mealtime decisions early can prevent tension and save money. Take some time each day to maintain normalcy with a five-minute pick-up in every room (a little longer in the kitchen). A tidy ambiance boosts self-esteem and grants you the freedom to move on to other things. Begin the pick-up at the front door where visitors can see. People do not notice the dust or spots on the windowsills while they walk into a room; they notice the clutter. It's clutter that gives the image of a room's being dirty or messy. If you or your family or a visitor walks into your home and sees the living room neat, the presumption is, "This is a clean house." Then when you walk about the corner and see the kitchen messy, the conclusion is, "This is just a temporary situation." We're greatly affected by first impressions. If the entry is littered, we think that things are constantly cluttered in that house. Why not make this psychological principle work in your favor?

As you work, gather up the largest items first: cushions, newspapers, and magazines. Taking care of the largest items shows quick improvement, which is rewarding to the housekeeper. Spend just five minutes in every room, working as rapidly as possible making beds, closing drawers and doors, putting away, wiping off, and straightening up. Don't put off picking up a room since "it needs a thorough cleaning." A pick-up will at the least improve the room and keep it from getting worse. Stay on top of the clutter by taking time to tidy up as you complete or disturb a project. Allow your kids interim pick-up times prior to lunch, dinner, and bed. Stop the mess before it turns into a monster. Daily pick-up and putting away five things every time you walk into a room, you will have your maintenance finished by dinner hour. (that is if you don't have kids who mess things up faster than you can work.) Focus on keeping up with the clutter; you will be able to take care of the deep cleaning later. You can put a house on hold for a few months if need be by every day provision for pick-up, keeping up with meals and dishes, and tossing in a batch of laundry. Keep in mind that keeping up is easier than catching up.


Falling behind with the laundry and dirty dishes will freeze a household really quick, leading to discouragement, frustration, and depression that hinder those Christmas plans. In some households, all the clothes are washed, pressed, and tucked away on Tuesday. It takes focused effort, but the clothing is hidden and ready to wear 6 days a week. Some family has a system of washing one batch of clothes daily. Shelves are set up onto which the clean laundry is piled, and everybody knows where to go when they run out. The shirts and blouses that require pressing are washed on Saturday when they can be ironed at once. Keep up with the laundry on this busy season.     

The most rewarding technique for managing dirty dishes is to mind of the dishes as they happen, either rinsing them and stashing them inside the dishwasher or washing them and draining them dry. The first thing to do when you walk in the kitchen to start a meal, then fill the sink with hot soapy water. Prior to starting to wash, tuck away any clean dishes from the dishwasher or drainer. Wash the utensils as they're used, allowing faster clean-up later. It takes one-fourth the time to wash dishes that are fresh as to clean those on which the food has toughened. You would instead be doing something other than washing dishes, correct?

To create more time for Christmas projects, learn the fundamental principle of setting priorities. Choose what has to be taken care of and which things can be put off or skipped. Some people call this a system of "selected neglect." Here once more, it often helps to write down your ideas so you can appraise them logically, using your physical senses instead of running ideas around and around in your mind trying to organize them. Break down each item on your To Do list in terms of its priority— is this detail something that has to be done, that needs to be done, or that you just hope to be able to accomplish?

The Christmas season is alleged to be the happiest time of year, but when it is not, for those who are depressed it will help to:

1) stay busy

2) avoid drinking and cut back on salt, sugar, and caffeine

3) avoid overspending in an effort to compensate for unhappy feelings

4) retain your expectations in line with reality. People and their faults do not change just for Christmas. Some folks get despondent at this time of year because problems are amplified or because they worry about not having sufficient fund, about having several things to do, about running into relationship problems, or about recognizing how lonely they are. It will help to discover the source of the problem, since solutions vary with the cause. Naturally, planning and organizing would help with money and time shortages.

Loneliness at Christmas can be diminished by getting involved in a service project with others. If things are too trying, avoid taking on any more; actually, most of Christmas could be ruled out if need be. Realize that you can't do everything, but if you start getting organized, you could get more done than you otherwise could.