Organizing Your Holiday Season

Deborah Health Guide
  • Is there a bigger challenge for someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder than the holidays? So many things to keep track of, so many things to accomplish - all of them with a deadline. After planning twenty-five or so holiday seasons, I've come up with some strategies, and also know where some of the potential pitfalls for someone with ADHD are at this time of the year.

    • Plan your gift-giving with a checklist. I know it may sound like it takes all the fun out of the process, and you may miss finding the perfect present serendipitously, but how much fun is it to get to Christmas Eve and realize that you forgot someone? When I worked at Victoria's Secret, there was always at least one shopper on Christmas Eve (usually a man) who was absolutely frantic to come in and buy something after we'd closed. I'm betting he didn't have a lot of fun on Christmas Day. Also, using a planning checklist will help to keep your spending in line with your budget. Serendipity is not great for a budget.
    • If you're shopping for gifts online or from a catalog, note the shipping deadlines. Most places will tell you what is the last day is to place an order if you want it delivered by Christmas Eve. If you miss this deadline, you're probably looking at enormous shipping charges, and you'll have to choose between paying them or trying to find something in a store.


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    • If dinner is at your house, or you're contributing to a dinner, make some dishes ahead of time that can be refrigerated for a couple of days. Yes, this does take more planning (always a challenge with ADHD), but it's a great idea, and will help to keep you sane.
    • It's a really, really good idea to read a recipe you're planning to make for a holiday dinner several times over before going grocery shopping. I've reached this conclusion with the assistance of several painful experiences, when I dashed off to the grocery store after reading the ingredient list. But sometimes there are ingredients in the instructions, not just the ingredient list. For instance, the two or three times I found after buying the ingredients that I needed waxed paper and didn't have it. Make your shopping list up as you are reading the recipe, or use a site like All Recipes that makes up a shopping list for you from the recipe. Make sure you read the instructions in case there is something in there that you don't have, like waxed paper or a cooking tool. Oh, and by the way, don't assume that you already have something like waxed paper. Make sure that you do. I was really, really sure that I must have it on hand until I'd spent ten minutes looking. Lay out everything on your counter that you will need and double and triple check against the recipes.
    • Just in case your gift giving doesn't get done in time, here are some last minute tips and gift suggestions.
      • and iTunes let you print out a certificate for a gift certificate right from your printer. That feature has been a lifesaver for me a couple of times.
      • Gift cards are an easy last minute gift. Just make sure you are up to date on gift card gotchas .
      • In case you forget to get bows, here are some instructions on making a gift bow from a magazine page.

Published On: December 08, 2009