I was asked today, if there really ARE only ten weeks until Christmas? Yes, I counted it myself! Christmas comes in just ten weeks! If you are stressed out simply thinking about this, this series is for you! Even if you aren’t it still can be a great help!
I’m not going to tell you that I’m an authority, ’cause I’m not, but I’ve been where you are and failed so often that I figured there had to be some way to get it all done without driving us all a little crazy and getting sick from all the stress. Year by year things have improved, and last year I finally got as close as I have ever been to being super duper relaxed and ready in plenty of time! I’ve been promising my friends here at Home Again Jiggety Jig! that I would give you tips to gently get ready for Christmas (and of course Thanksgiving too,) without going nuts!
Each week I’ll include some planning tips, some suggestions and then a list of what would be good to do NOW!
WEEK ONE – TO AN ORGANIZED CHRISTMAS
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
1. A notebook with lined paper (any old notebook will do, don’t go perfectionist on me!)
2. A pencil with a good eraser
3. A large envelope and scotch tape
On your first page of the notebook, list all the people you wish to purchase or make gifts for and the approximate $$ amount you want to spend for each. Leave three or four lines between each name. Be sure and carefully consider if there are any people beyond your immediate family that you might wish to buy or make gifts for. Are you going to any parties or events where you might need to bring a gift? List those as well. Be sure and remember to make a special list for those who have birthdays between now and the holidays so that they are not forgotten or neglected.
If you are doing an extended family gift exchange, now is the time to make sure that names are drawn so they can be added to your list.
In pencil, right below each name, jot down any ideas you might have for gifts for the people on your list. If you are like me, you might not know how many gifts to buy for each loved one. As a Christian who is faithful to the Lord and to what the Bible teaches, I now have reached the decision to give each one who still lives at home three gifts, like the Wise Men gave the three gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to the Lord Jesus. Gift one would be something they want. Gift two, something they can use, and Gift three, something that will surprise and delight them. Sometimes these can overlap, and be something that they want, can use and will surprise them all at once.
Tape the envelope inside the front cover of the notebook, so you’ll have a pocket in which to store all your gift receipts so as to have them readily available for quick returns. If you see any special sales on the things you’ve listed, it might just be time to start shopping, either online or in stores. Choose a good place to store the items, as you bring them into the house, perhaps taking time to wrap them right away if you have nosy kids, write the recipient’s initials in a hidden corner of the package and mark the item off your list.
CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS: Only grown people live at our house now, so as a family, we have chosen to still do Christmas stockings, but to exchange names and fill a Christmas stocking for one family member. If you do enjoy Christmas stockings but carry all the responsibility for buying and filling stockings for everyone else, you might want to thy this: see if you can find a friend who also never gets one for herself, to fill and exchange a stocking with you. As an added thought, you might also encourage your family to add small items to each others stockings. Even younger children can do this. Here’s the story of Christmas Stocking Traditions in our family.
DO THIS NOW!!
If you are traveling for the holidays, NOW is the time to buy airline tickets, arrange car rentals and hotel rooms!
Airlines, like Alaska may offer a “two for the price of one” ticket, and other airlines have great sales this month. Southwest and Frontier have some special deals that are only available through their own websites. If you are traveling for Thanksgiving you need to get them right away since it is the most traveled time period of the year.
Pay super attention to % off or $$ off coupons in your mail, newspaper and online. If you need to cut and print them, put a small envelope in your purse or wallet to hold them, so they are readily available to save you money as you shop. If the coupons are online, take a screen shot. Joann Fabric just sent me a 55% off coupon to be used this week, you can be sure I’ll be doing just that. Meanwhile, be sure and check my money saving secret tips for October .
NOW IS ALSO THE TIME TO BUY AND START WATERING AMARYLLIS BULBS if you want them to bloom in time for Christmas. “Paper whites” bloom a couple weeks faster.
COMING UP: WEEK TWO – MORE PLANNING TIPS!