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Friday, November 09, 2012

Organize Now: November Is For Getting Ready for Christmas...

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For the past few years on this blog, I have been spreading this message:
November is about getting ready for Christmas.
December is for enjoying Christmas.

 I have shared  how I used to leave things to the last minute and chronically under-estimate the time it would take to do things....so therefore, I was not enjoying Christmas at all. I found I was tired and stressed out.

I began to think that perhaps there was a better way to 'do' Christmas.
And there is.
And the SECRET is this:
*Start early.*
*Give yourself deadlines.*
*Do only the things you enjoy. Let the rest go.*

Part of starting early is to use the month of November to do the 'work' of Christmas.
November is about for preparing for Christmas.
December is for enjoying Christmas.

I am going to share with you my list for November and the things that I like to do because they give me joy!
 
In November, my goals are:
 
1} Decorate for Christmas~except for the Christmas Tree. I always wait until after Remembrance Day to decorate.
 
 
2}Take our Christmas card photo.
 
3} Make homemade Christmas gifts. I am so excited for this coming week! This week on Echoes of Laughter is HOMEMADE GIFTS WEEK. I will be sharing 5 homemade gift project ideas. So come hang out with me November 12-16, 2012. And you know what? Because we are all busy people, 4 of these 5 projects will take  just 15 minutes to make! Doesn't that rock? Yay for easy projects!

{You can find the recipe for this Gourmet Oatmeal Cookie Mix here. It was one of my homemade gifts for 2011}
 
4} Start & complete Christmas shopping.Wrap & mail Christmas gifts.
 
5} Prepare the Christmas cards for mailing on December 1st.
 
6} Tackle some Christmas baking projects { I will put them in the freezer}. And how about this? November 19-23 is CHRISTMAS COOKIE WEEK at Echoes of Laughter! Yay! I will be sharing some easy cookie recipes that anyone can make!
 
{You can find the recipe for these easy NO BAKE Cherry Ball cookies here. It was a cookie recipe I shared in 2010!}
 
 

When December arrives~ I aim to:
Spend lots of time with my family.
Decorate the Christmas Tree.
Sip hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Spend lots of evenings in flannel jammies and warm socks.
Take drives to admire Christmas lights throughout the city.
Read Christmas books in front of the fireplace with my sweeties.
Watch Christmas movies.
Have family friends over for dinner.
Bake Christmas goodies.
Enjoy Christmas mail.

In doing this, I hopefully avoid:
Not having time for my children because I am too 'busy'.
Busy stores.
Full parking lots.
Insane traffic.
Feelings of stress and pressure to get things 'done'.
Going out in bad weather.
Impulse shopping that wastes money.
 
 
 

And here's my final advice. It is already November 9th.
Now is not the time to take on any big organizing, DIY or cleaning projects...unless you have tons of time and energy.
Save those things for January when the pressure of Christmas is over.

You only need to organize these things:

1. The calendar with the activities you have chosen for your family to take part in.
2. The budget for Christmas shopping and some shopping dates.
3. A handy dandy little wrapping station which can simply be a box under the bed or something more elaborate. Take inventory of what is left from last year and stock up on wrapping paper and tape.
Schedule a few dates to get the wrapping done!
 

4. Organize for baking projects. Choose a few things to make. And NOW is the perfect time to stock up on baking supplies....flour, sugar, chocolate, etc. are all on sale right now for the Christmas baking season. AND if you hate baking...skip it and buy whatever your family likes! Christmas shouldn't be stressful!

 
 
5. Organize supplies and project dates if you plan to make gifts. But only make gifts if you enjoy it!
If it results in tears and stress....skip it!

6. Organize Christmas dinner. Write out the menu. Decide on side dishes and desserts. Add those items to your grocery list. Buy as much as you can in the weeks before Christmas.

7. Organize and plan a day for decorating the Christmas tree! If you don't have time to decorate the whole house, or the main floor....skip it! A Christmas tree with lights is beautiful enough on it's own!

 Most of all.....my advice is this: be flexible and don't put too much pressure on yourself!



This post is linked to these great parties:
Tatertots & Jello, Six Sisters' Stuff, Bru Crew Life, Today's Creative Blog, Homestories A to Z,
Craft-O-Maniac, Gingersnap Crafts, Wow Us Wednesdays, Lil LunaClean & Scentsible, Uncommon, The DIY Dreamer, 52 Mantels, The 36th Avenue, The Frugal Girls, Craftberry Bush, Tidy Mom, Six Sisters' Stuff,

18 comments:

Jenn @ Clean and Scentsible said...

Totally agree with it all!! I am planning on decorating next weekend and if the weather holds out for us we are getting our Christmas photos done this weekend. Matthew's birthday is in December too so it makes for an extra busy month! Hope you have a wonderful long weekend!
Jenn xo

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Good advice and tips, Angie! I am organized in at least one area already. I bought a wrapping organizer {Lillian Vernon} many years ago. It holds all my wrapping paper, tissue paper, tags, ribbons. It's great because it's tall and thin, with a lid and it stores easily in a closet or the attic. My goal this year is to get my decorating done in the weekend after Thanksgiving and not stretch it out over a whole week. This way I can enjoy it more. In fact, since we have a faux tree, I may just get that down and put together just before Thanksgiving so I'm not futzing around with it.

I do like to do my wrapping when I'm done shopping. I take a day, set myself up, put some Christmas music on and go at it.

Finally {such a long comment, I know} I had to tell you that I looked up on Youtube the singer of one of my favorite songs ~ Carly Rae Jepsen. I thought she looked like your daughter! Only don't tell her that if she wouldn't like it. Someone told me once I looked like a particular actress and I wasn't happy about it.

Jane said...

What excellent advice! I have been feeling the urge to start bringing Christmas into the house already, but when I say anything about it, everyone looks at me like I've grown two heads! However, I feel like your point about having alot of the prep work done ahead of time allows us to more fully enjoy the season. So, I'm really not crazy at all. This next week will be the perfect time to get started. Thanks for validating my urges!!! :)

Leslie said...

Great post! I really like your advice and perspective! I understand that thought about preparing for Christmas sometimes can take away a bit from it. Your organization is very good, too. A couple of years ago, I started doing things a wee-bit earlier. Such as the following day after Thanksgiving I begin to immediately take Fall down and put Christmas up, so that way I'm almost done by Dec. 1 of the decorating so I can enjoy it for longer! (I don't take Christmas down 'til after the new year!) I love your list of thigs to do in December. Fun traditions like hot cocoa and driving around looking at lights!! :) I enjoyed reading this post...thank you!
Blessings,
Leslie

Karen Mary Butterfly said...

I love this and totally agree with you! My Christmas card pictures are added to the cards, they are addressed, written in and just got the Christmas Stamps the other day when shipping something off for Etsy! I always write my cards out when school starts (I sub and have down time while there) I am so excited to find someone that understands...I am not crazy! I too want to ENJOY the season. BTW....my stockings are stuffed. I get the 50% stuff and collect goodies through out the year, wrap and add to the stockings. lol Great post!!

Bronwyn said...

This is exactly how I am spending my November,too. i am looking forward to your cookie week- I need some new ideas!

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

What great ideas. I need to get my buns in gear as I haven't done anything yet. I don't like to decorate until December as I get tired of having so much stuff around if we do it too early. Last year I was much more organized when we did the cookie baking week. I haven't even thought about it this year though. I'm going to start making lists tomorrow as that is always a good place to start.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I'm with you. I too wait until after Nov 11th before I start decorating; I don't get the tree until mid-Dec; I start with my Xmas letter & cards (some go overseas so I need to be early); I've already begun wrapping; and my baking will be less this year than others (grown children) and I'll start early. I find that it not only frees up more time to enjoy pre-Xmas but it also stretches out my enjoyment of the Xmas "season".

ARod Rodriguez said...

great plan going to try and follow it

Mariel said...

I would love for you to share this (or any of your other great ideas) at the link party going on now at ‘Or so she says …’ We’ve also got a fun “Favorite Things” giveaway going on through tomorrow. Hope to see you there! www.oneshetwoshe.com

Gayle Boyd said...

Such great advice Angie! I can't wait to see what gift ideas you share this week! I also try to have everything done in November so I can enjoy everything about Christmas, it's my favourite time of year!

Morgan said...

I agree with you that it's so much better to get ready early. My grandma always taught me to get Christmas shopping done early. She'd be finished in September/October and have all her stuff wrapped up. That rubbed off on me and I always have my shopping done by December. Just one more thing to make things a little easier! Great tips Angie!

JoKnows said...

Beautiful thoughts Angie. I always love your ideas. This really gave me something to think about. I usually leave a lot of the holiday stuff until the last minute, but you are so right. More time to spend with the kids then is so important. And btw, your kids are adorable! :)

Nancy said...

Love your organizing tips, now if I could only incorporate them. I love Christmas but wished I had been more organized so I could enjoy it more.

Tash said...

What a brilliant post! Although I'm not in charge of decorating my home and all that wonderful jazz (I live my my parents), I'm going to be encouraging them to do this.
I can't wait to see your home-made gift ides! I'm having a Christmas Pintrest Party in early December with 4 girls and that's what we'll be doing.
God Bless,
Natasha
1brokegirl.blogspot.com

WTFab said...

So pretty and festive! And you are so darn organized! Would love it if you linked up on my blog hop www.w-t-fab.com/search/label/bloghop. Also let me know if you'd like to follow each other!

Pam Fields said...

I love all these suggestions. I saw your link on Ginger Snap Crafts.

Catie @ Catie's Corner said...

Another excellent post! I'm planning to get things done before the full on craziness of Christmas sets in. My six year old daughter would of had our tree up and decorated the first weekend of November. I told her we'll do it next weekend. That's not too early, right?

The thing I'm most looking forward to this year is a Ugly Christmas Sweater Party that I'm hosting the Friday before Christmas. It should be lots of fun!

Happy Holidays, Angie! Here's to them being as stress-free as possible.

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