Thursday, November 4, 2010
Making Your Holidays a Breeze
We've all been there. It's 5:30 on Christmas Eve and you are at the mall in a line that is so long the store will close before you get to the front of it. As you're standing there, questions start flying about how you got yourself into this situation. There are people coming to your house for dinner, and you should be home getting ready. You should be showered, you should have your hair done. Heck, you should have decided what to have for dinner before this. But no. You're at a box store with some video game system in your hands (the box is all crushed and ripped because that was the only one left), waiting in line behind a woman who is threatening to cause her child bodily harm if he doesn't stop pulling on the rope partitions.
C'mon girls, you know you've been there. We were probably in the same line...
Is that the way you want to spend your holidays this year? Of course not. With a little planning, you can have an enjoyable, restful holiday season.
Start by making your lists. We can take a lesson from Santa on this one. With so much to do, he has to make sure he doesn't forget anything, right? So, make your lists, and refer back to them regularly.
Here is my "list of lists":
What meals am I making ~am I hosting Christmas, or Christmas Eve?
Gift list ~ don't forget teachers, bus drivers, mail carriers, etc...
I try to start in August, and buy one or two gifts per month until December. This way I don't have to pile a bunch of stuff on a credit card. If gift purchases are spread out, it's a much lighter financial burden. Start with out-of-towners first. (just be sure to check the return policy at the store. Some stores are only 45 days. I try not to buy clothes until closer to Christmas, this way returning won't be an issue.)
Shipping list ~try to ship to out of town family by 12/1, so everything arrives on time!
Baking~ start early and freeze!
Christmas card mailing list
Holiday activity list ~ a visit to Santa, shopping for a tree, whatever your family does
Stamps, boxes, gift wrap, if you need it (it's always a good idea to go shopping after Christmas and stock up for next year.)
Decor ~ do you need to replace that lighted reindeer that only lights on one side?
After Christmas List (this one is my favorite! Hit those sales, and stock up for next year!! cards, wrapping paper, decorations, anything! It's all 75% off, right!! LOL)
That's all my lists. now what, right?
I start with my menu. What am I going to serve? After that, I use it to make my grocery list. This way, I can buy one or two things a week when I do my regular shopping, instead of having an extra $200 trip to make in late December, when the shelves are empty anyway. I just store things in my basement.
Then, I move to my gift list. I use a spread sheet to list all the people down the side, and across the top I put :
Gift store cost done
This way I can record what I want, where I'm going to get it, and how much it costs. Then, I employ my "one or two gifts a month" idea to check them off the list. When I have purchased something, I move it from the gift column, to the done
column. It works out well for me.
I am all but finished with my shopping for this year.
Then, on to my Christmas cards. Get them signed and addressed now. Put them in a desk drawer and mark November 29th on your calendar.
You can impress the heck out of people when your card shows up at their door on December 1st. :o)
Mark each thing off your list as you go. Bake one batch of cookies a week instead of trying to do 10 the day before you need to give them. mark your calendar and choose a date to visit Santa and put up your tree. Whatever your traditions are, plan ahead, and your events will run smother.
A few simple steps can save you tons of grief during the holiday craziness. Take a few minutes and get started, then you can sit back and enjoy the beauty of the Christmas season with your family!!