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It’s “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”….Or is it?

It’s December and for many who celebrate the Christmas holiday that means it’s “crunch time''. There are limited shopping days left and even fewer days to wrap, sort and deliver. We’re not all like Santa with an army of elves to help us out over the holidays, or are we? The kids, the family, the pets - everyone thinks this is the most wonderful time of the year but is it really?

It can be, if you have your own personal elf!

At thE Concierge we are in the business of helping busy people

and who is busier than everyone at Christmas?

If that sounds like you, we have a holiday package with your name on it.

When it comes to crunch time we’re not talking about the big picture and visions of sugar plums dancing in your heads.

Instead, it’s kind of more about the details. Have you made a list and checked it twice? Going to the grocery store is hard work and prices are through the roof. Meal prep and planning - whether for Christmas dinner or special parties and celebrations before and after the holidays require more effort than just your regular, weekly grocery shop. Some items are harder to find this time of year and if you’ve ever heard your cherished great-grandmother exclaim “what, no stuffing?” on Christmas day - you’ll know the importance of paying attention to the details. Same goes for the little treats and trinkets that go into everyone’s stockings that you’ve so carefully hung by the chimney with care.

Here are a few tips that have helped us in the past - maybe they will help you too:

Gift Shopping

Make a list - on your phone - and stick to it. Place a checkmark beside each item as you complete it but don’t erase anything! Keep the list active until you are completely done.

As you return from a shopping trip and you are hiding the bags, write a sticky note on each one labeling who the gift is for. Seems obvious but I bet there’s been times you’ve forgotten!

Put stocking items immediately into each family member's stocking as a means of “storing” them in a safe place until the big day. If you wrap stocking stuffers you will already know where they all are and can remove, wrap and replace each one all at the same time.

We like to use different styles/colours of wrapping paper for each member of the family so that even if an item falls out of the stocking, you’ll know who it belongs to.

Keeping count? If you are a stickler for the details chances are you keep a running tab between kids to make sure the dollar value of gifts is about the same AND so too are the amount of gifts.

If you don’t put gifts under the tree until the big day, consider storing each person’s gifts in one large container or bag so you’re only making one trip per person to the foot of the tree on Christmas Eve.

Grocery Shopping

Plan ahead for each of the menu items/desserts you are planning to serve throughout the season.

Look at ALL the ingredients required for EACH recipe before you head out to the store. No more getting halfway through your favourite aunt’s recipe and realizing you’ve forgotten to buy that one, obscure ingredient that will make or break the dish.

Shop the sales if you want to or ask us instead!

At thE Concierge we will do the “dreaded Costco run,” fight the crowds and bring it all home and unpack it too.

The Little Details - You know, like family time!

The reason you do all the fussing, cooking and cleaning is because you want to spend time with family - so make sure that you do!

Here’s how:

* Where else might you need some help this holiday season? If you have family coming over you might want to hire a cleaning service even if you don’t do so regularly. Ask us how to get this done for you even though the holidays are only a week or two away.

* For your overnight guests, consider a different shade of towel for each visitor so that everyone knows their colour and you’re not spending Christmas at the laundry machine.

*. Grab a few extras! Items like toothbrushes, some toothpaste and maybe even a disposable razor or two are a good idea. Have them “at the ready” for guests who forgot these items. An extra portable phone charger or two is also a great idea to have on hand.

* Have a fireplace? Did you remember to stock up on wood?

*. If you are not a fan of disposable cups, consider wine charms, magic pens that let you write on glass or similar items that allow each person to know whose glass is whose. It’ll cut down on the amount of washing AND help prevent accidental cross-contamination of any icky germs!

*. Have some plans in place suitable for every age and stage. It’s better to plan and not need than to need and not have. Board games for every age, a stack of movies for little ones and lots of rechargeable batteries for any gaming systems in the house are all important. If a few children will be at your place and you aren’t used to having them around, check in with the neighbours to see if you can borrow a toboggan and other outdoor entertainment supplies.

If this is all starting to sound a little overwhelming, that’s what we’re here for.

We specialize in helping find balance in your busy life and

who is busier than everyone at Christmas time?

Pretty much no one except perhaps the big guy himself and

like we already said - Santa has lots of elves to support him.

So, if you need an extra set of helping hands to manage all those little details,

give thE Concierge a call today!

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