Planning For The Holidays

holiday lights

ADHD Adult: Start Pre-Planning for the Holidays

 Tis the Season . . .

When we think of the holiday season, we think of merriment and cheer, but for some adults with ADHD, this is not always the case. The shopping, the wrapping, the planning – all require organization, which can be a challenge to adults with or without ADHD.

The following is a compilation of great tips to stay organized, be efficient, and simplify this “holidazed” time of the year!

“Don’t forget that you set the tone for your home. Pace yourself and take well-deserved breaks!

Holiday Traditions

Create family memories by first holding a family meeting to discuss each person’s favorite traditions. It’s what you do, not what you buy, that’s important, so don’t overlook small but significant family rituals. This list might include:

  • Buy one new ornament for the tree
  • Keep favorite holiday music going in December
  • Hold a cookie baking session with the kids
  • Take holiday photos
  • Stock up on hot cocoa mix for Sunday evenings

Holiday Menus and Recipes

Plan to fix your family’s favorites – this is not the time to experiment!

  • Plan each course for the major holiday meals
  • List all the recipes you will use, noting the cookbook each is in and page numbers
  • List the ingredients you’ll need for each dish
  • List any specialty ingredients that you can’t get at the supermarket
  • Make a baking ingredients shopping list


Break up your shopping by buying one or two gifts online each day. If you purchase from catalogs, place orders well before December 10 – to ensure that items are still in stock and to avoid express shipping fees. Make a shopping list that details for each person on the list:

  • Whether you will make or buy the gift
  • What you’re giving (keep homemade presents simple)
  • How much you can spend
  • The store or catalog where you’ll buy the gift. If you’re ordering online or from a catalog, write down the Web site and tracking number
  • Whether the present has been wrapped
  • Keep your receipts (in an envelope)

Dates to Put on Your Calendar

  • Fend off procrastination by reviewing this list each week.
  • Deadlines for homemade gifts
  • Shipping deadlines (mail early!)
  • Date to mail cards
  • Departure dates (if you’re traveling)
  • Arrival dates (if people are visiting)
  • Party dates
  • School, religious, office, and volunteer functions “[1]

“Louise Kurzeka, Minneapolis-based organizer, has three additional suggestions to help everyone make the most of their time and get the best use of their available space using practical, sustainable strategies.

A Gathering Place – Whether you’re having all the relatives over for Christmas eve dinner or just a few friends for a caroling party, start by designating a big tub or laundry basket as the gathering container for items you’ll need. By gathering items as you go and having just one place to look for them, you’ll be ahead of the game on the day of your big event.

Mad Money – Budgeting the dollars and cents of holiday spending can ruin anyone’s mood. But you’ll go from mad to glad if you simplify the process. Start with a sturdy business size envelope where you can list your gift recipients. Next to each name, pencil in the dollar amount you would typically spend on a gift for that person. Add up the amounts and compare the total to your checkbook balance. Are you within your budget? Go back to adjust the amounts as needed so you don’t end up with a post-holiday money-hangover!

Wrap it up – Hiding gifts, remembering where they are and digging them out to wrap them at the last minute is a lot more work than just wrapping them as you go. Commit to wrapping gifts as you return from each shopping trip. To make this job easier, decide on a place in the house that can serve as a gift-wrap center; a corner of the basement, a spare bedroom, even the formal dining room (comes with its own wrapping table!) Choose a place out of the main traffic areas. If needed add a card table so you’ll have a raised flat surface to use for wrapping. Stand wrapping paper rolls upright in a new garbage barrel or large pail. Place gift bags and tissue in one of the larger sized Ziploc plastic tote bags. Use another for bows, ribbon, gift tags, scissors and tape. The see-through bags make for a quick search for what you want and need. Unless you really enjoy the art of gift-wrapping, ditch the flat paper wrap. Bags are much faster (and reusable, so they’re environmentally friendly.)

Making just a few changes in how you handle common holiday chores can leave you with more time to enjoy the spirit of the season with the special people of your life.”[2]

Remember Play Attention is a fantastic “Healthy Holiday Gift”!  Give your loved one a gift that will last a lifetime – improved attention and a successful future![3] 

We at Play Attention realize the holiday season can be a very stressful, overwhelming time of the year. Do you wish you could talk to someone who knows what you’re going through?

Simply call 800-788-6786, to schedule a free consultation with one of our customer care specialists. Tell us what day and time will work best for you to take about 30 minutes that will change your life. Our team of specialists have over 20 years of personal and professional experience with attention challenges. We will discuss your needs and provide you with a comprehensive solution that will work best for you.