It's the holiday season, but that does not mean chaos must rule. Now is the time to be strategic in your planning for the holiday and the new year. As of the middle of December, your decorations should be up. What decorations are still in the box? Unless they are antiques from grandmothers tree, or have a deep sentimental value, you should consider donating them. And if you do so now, they could be used in art classes at your local elementary school-or in a classroom, or at your neighborhood rec center. There is no reason to continue storing things that you have not and will not use.
While all your decorations are up, take a picture of where you put things. The garland, the snowmen, the carolers, the nativity, the Menorah, and/or your Christmas village, have been placed just right-now document where it all goes. When it comes time to store-store items that go together in the same box and label the container, listing each item. Keeping ornaments in one container, tree skirt and stockings and other linens in one container, and then the other decor stored by room/area will bring peace to the chaos as you end and begin each holiday season.
Hopefully you have developed a system for your receipts. If not, here's an idea- I have a Christmas file in office for the paper receipts I get while out shopping, and I have a Christmas file on my computer for the receipts that I get from shopping online. This has proven effective over the years, as there is always something that has to go back to the store. Make sure the policy allows you to return after Christmas things that were bought early November. I usually ask and sometimes a manager will write right on my receipt, "Eligible for return after Christmas", so I don't get stuck after the holiday.
As far as the house goes- most of us are not lounging around a cavernous abode. We need to manage our assets!. In order to do that, you need to have a plan. On Christmas morning as you all settle around the tree with your coffee and sticky buns, grab a large empty garbage bag and keep it near you. As gifts are unwrapped, hopefully in a civilized way, you can take the wrapping paper and put it in the bag. Now this is important for two reasons-you avoid the clutter and over the top mess that can develop, and, a lesson that I learned the hard way, lessening the number of gift cards that are thrown into the trash. Of course, enjoy the moment and do not give into the need to obsessively collect each bow-this time is precious, so do not miss the fun! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!