Friday, 9 November 2012

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

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 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 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,

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