I know that the holidays can be hectic and stress people out—I know I’ve experienced this before. You have family coming over, food to make, presents to buy, the house to clean… the list goes on. Staying on top of all of these chores is a challenge to say the least. The real kicker is that it’s the holidays, it’s supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy a little time off. So, in this spirit, I want to share six tips on how to stay clean and serene during the holiday season!

Balance Wants & Needs

We’ve been talking so much about finding balance lately and that couldn’t be more true when you’re planning your time for the holiday season. I’m so excited about the holidays because I get to do fun things, as well as all the other life stuff that I have going on. So when you’re putting your to-do list together, you’ve got to balance your wants and your needs. Now, of course, we all have needs—we need to clean the house, we need to shop for gifts, we need to prepare for guests coming over. You will inevitably have quite the to-do list. But, there are also a lot of wants! You might want to go ice skating, you might want to have brunch with some friends, you might want to hit the local museum with your family. It is a time to celebrate the season with others, so make sure that you incorporate a lot of those wants in your to-do list! This time of year comes once and it’s important that you enjoy it.

decorating a Christmas tree


Whether you have one tree in your house or 15, you might find decorating to be a chore, even though it’s supposed to be fun. There are a couple simple ways that you can tame this task and make it feel more manageable. First of all, when you bring out your decorations, go through them and pull out anything that you don’t really like. It’s kind of like clothing. If you know you’re not going to use it, put it in a separate pile. You can either donate it or something that I really like to do is to have an exchange party with your friends. If they have any decorations that they’re moving on from, before you go out to shop for more stuff, you might as well see what other people have and do a swap. That is definitely a fun way to spend some holiday time with friends and family. Now, when it does come time to actually decorate your tree make sure that you set some time aside so you’re not doing it 2 days before Christmas, and have friends and family come over—play music, drink hot chocolate, have cookies, make a day of it!

Clean As You Go!

Since there’s so much going on around the house during the holidays, and a lot of it involves cooking, your kitchen is probably going to get messy pretty quickly. One of my golden rules is to clean as you go. This generally pertains to the kitchen, but even around the rest of the house, if you’re hosting guests, be very mindful of cleaning as you go. That means hands are always full, you’re always pruning, looking for garbage, looking for things that don’t belong in a particular space. This is also an ideal time to look out for anything you might want to donate or get rid of. If you can save your future-self 2 minutes, this is time well spent! So, the more you can do on the back end, the more time you save, and the more time you give yourself to actually enjoy the holidays.

christmas gift wrapping

Corral Your Gift Wrapping

One of the cleaning and organizing rules that I adhere to is to make sure that everything has a home. That way you don’t have to scramble around your house and look for things, and things that don’t have a home, probably shouldn’t be in your home. This rule also applies to gift wrapping supplies, especially during the holiday season. Wrapping gifts has to be one of my favorite holiday experiences. It’s a real ritual for me—I love getting creative with my wrapping and take real pride in the end result. I like to put a little wrapping station together to stay organized and efficient. Prior to this, the stuff was just kind of all over the place. We actually have a video on this that we did many, many years back. It’s all about how to contain your gift wrapping mess. When you’re making your gift wrapping station, make sure that you have all the supplies that you need—from scissors to tape, markers, cards, wrapping paper, ribbons, bows. Any fancy business that you want to put on your gifts should be in that one space. That way, you can wrap all your gifts and you can clean up quickly and move on.

Traditions CAN Change

Over the years, families, friends, and relationships can change—your life and your priorities will also inevitably change. An important thing to remember is that you don’t need to say yes to everything! Every tradition does not have to be carried forward. It’s really nice if it can be, but if you’re participating in holiday things for other people more than you are for yourself, you’re just going to end up feeling stressed out and depleted. The way to feel replenished and energized during the holidays is to say yes to the things—the activities, experiences and parties—that you really want to attend; those traditions that have meaning to you. If you have to say no to something it’s ok.

melissa and chad with Christmas tree

Enjoy The Season!

You know what’s funny? When I get downtime, I feel like, “Huh, I’m not being productive. I have to find something to do!”. I often need to be reminded that these holidays are just that—holidays! When you have time off work be sure to schedule some time in for yourself. During the holidays, Chad and I make sure that we visit certain people who are really important to us because that fills our bucket. But, we also find time for ourselves—we’ll go to the spa or we’ll go out for a nice dinner or even to a concert. We always like to find ways to spoil and treat ourselves, because why else take all that time off during the holidays if you can’t really enjoy it?!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Your advice is as true this season as it was when you produced this fantastic vid! Kinda funny how this wisdom of “taking time for yourself” and truly building in the fun during routine holiday mayhem is so often overlooked by younger families. By the time a few decades of The Holidaze have gone by – those of us with “some snow on the mountain” of life can attest to how fleeting are your opportunities to embrace the holiday spirit and create meaningful moments. We are examples to our children and friends. Thank you Melissa for leading by example! Your Clean My Space Attitudes and Advice keep our world shiny and bright – kinda like having the spirit of the season all year round!
    Thank you!

  2. In any festive or party season cleaning is the most necessary thing before starting any decoration. I simply appreciate your cleaning on the go process and the gift wrapping ideas. But sometimes mainly before festive season you need help of professional cleaners to keep your place completely neat & tidy.

  3. I hear you about feeling unproductive when you’re not doing anything. I can’t even sit still to tan. I always have to be multitasking. Decorating has to be my absolute favourite activity. I used to be a professional commercial Christmas decorator.


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