If shopping for presents, decking the halls, getting ready to host, and making sure the entire family is looking and feeling festive feels like a full-time job, it’s because it is—statistically speaking, at least. “The average woman spends 60 to 80 hours preparing for the holidays,” says Lori Miller, founder and lead concierge at Le Concierge LifeStyle Management Services in Boise, Idaho. In an effort to make the busy holiday season feel less like a race against time, we recently sat down with Miller to talk about ways we can handle tasks more efficiently and allow ourselves more opportunities to be in the moment. Here are our key takeaways.
Prioritize. “It’s imperative to be strategic about navigating the holidays and make a plan early in the season,” Miller advises. “Your first plan of action is to know what you love doing, and prioritize that.” After you’ve identified the tasks that you feel most passionate about, think about the ones that you enjoy the least, and consider ways to either outsource or simplify the less desirable items on your list. The goal is to devise ways to spend more time and attention on the activities that are most important and meaningful to you, and less time on the to-dos that you find less fulfilling.
Hire helpers. While Miller’s company specializes in lifestyle management services—think errands and personal shopping, home organization, event planning, grocery shopping, etc.—she encourages potential clients to get in touch about any type of project. During the holidays, this could encompass anything from hanging outdoor lights to going on post office runs. Chances are, there is a local concierge—or even a college student home on break—in your area who will be happy to assist you with these tasks. Even more personalized chores, like wrapping presents or addressing holiday card envelopes, can be outsourced. “You can still get the personal touch when you enlist someone,” Miller says, adding, “There’s no shame in hiring someone else to do it.”
Let go. While it may feel difficult—or even a little indulgent—at first to hand over your holiday-related responsibilities to someone else, just think about what you’ll be getting back in terms of time and peace of mind. Or, if the idea of parting with traditional holiday tasks seems absolutely unthinkable, consider outsourcing the day-to-day items on your to-do list, like grocery shopping, home maintenance and organization, meal prep, and errands. The bottom line is, by being open to—and taking advantage of—the opportunities and tactics that will help create more time in a day (and lower your stress levels), you’ll might get to experience a little more holiday magic for yourself.