“Help! I Love Doing it All, But How Can I Find Time to Do it?” Holiday Prep – Part 3 of 3 (Christmas/Holidays Unplugged)
This is all an alien concept to me, “Slacker Holiday Mom.” So I asked my very organized and holiday-loving bloggy friend Heather of Celtic Mommy to help out with ideas for organizing (thank you Heather!!!). All you “Holiday Prep-Loving Type 2′s” out there might need some hints for how to get it all done in time to enjoy yourselves, so hopefully Heather has some good ideas for you here (plus, she put in lots of great links):
“Before I had children… before I got married… before I moved out of my mom’s house… I was a holiday organizer. I have always been an organizer. I think part of the reason may be that my mom is completely UNorganized. Yep, she cannot tell you where the wrapping paper is… where the scotch tape is, where a pen is! But she knows where her heart is, and that was all that really mattered.
Even though my mom’s way was successful for her, I still did things my own way (made lists, made a budget, shopped early, sent cards early, etc.) and that worked for me.
These tips work for me. Some may or may not work for you. It all depends on each individual’s personality… so take each tip with a grain of salt. Also, all the links I use are included.
Why Organize? ( FlyLady’s Cruising through the Holidays and Organized Christmas)
I organize for selfish reasons. I want things done early so I can enjoy the holiday season, period! Sure, I’ve had frazzled years where I am up until 4 a.m. wrapping gifts… and I never want to do that again! Do you like being up until the crack of dawn knowing something you just lovingly wrapped is about to be torn open… my guess would be no. AND, by getting organized, you make time for yourself and your family and for those other things that matter:
Stringing popcorn for the tree. Playing the dreidel game. Taking walks as a family. Baking together. Visiting with neighbors, family and friends. Hot cocoa and s’mores by the fire or under the stars. Watching the mail for holiday cards and reading them with your family each evening. Making your own wrapping paper. Green alternative to wrapping paper. Touring local houses strung with lights . Snowball fights, snowman making and sled riding…
Sound inviting? Here’s how I do it. Again, take what you can from this for this year and add a little on next year and the next… find ways to make the holidays a fun time, not chore time.
Calendar: Right now (End of November)
If you send out cards, start getting them ready now if you haven’t already. Buy stamps online or when you are at the grocery store rather than brave the post office lines.
Write down your family’s measurements (shirts, pants, shoes, etc.) and keep in the same place as your shopping lists. Now is also a great time to go through old clothes and toys and donate to charity. This works on several levels such as teaching charity to children.
Make a shopping list! Not just for people but for all holiday items including postage and cards, tree budget, food budget (if baking gifts or having dinners), travel budget if applicable.
I do mine in Excel for easy keeping and then take a printout with me when shopping. This way I know what I’ve already bought and what I still need to do. On my list, I have:
+ Gift recipients’ name
+ Things they like (colors, games, books, movies, food)
+ Ideas I’ve written down throughout the year (If something was mentioned in July, I added it to my spreadsheet)
+ If making homemade gifts, what needs to be purchased (i.e. yarn, fabric, paint)
+ Money budgeted
+ What has been bought already
+ Money spent already
+ Homemade items completed (YES/NO)
+ Shopping completed (YES/NO)
+ Items wrapped (YES/NO)
+ I also have past years gifts listed so I know what I bought.
Every time I go to the grocery store, I grab an item or two that I will need for my big baking weekend (an extra pound of butter, a jar of a spice I will need) so that it doesn’t bust my budget.
If I am out at the bookstore or my local mall for some reason, I check my list to see if I can pick up anything on my list. Otherwise, I try to buy online as much as I can. Most places give free shipping for a standard small fee and I can track everything from home. And, items are almost always in stock right now!
When I get home, I put on holiday music and some holiday socks, make a fresh pot of mint tea or hot cocoa and I wrap a few gifts (about ½ hour to an hour). If I can’t do it right when I get home, I do it in the morning when the babies are asleep or in the evening while something is in the oven… or when the hubby is watching the kids in the bathtub. The point is to do a little each day so that you are not overwhelmed come mid-December.
I get out the boxes of decorations and check for broken items or if anything needs to be replaced and take care of that now. Also, we have many many craft projects in this house. So, I organize things like felt, glitter, glue, markers, paint, etc. that we’ll be using in the next few weeks. (More on projects later)
I take 1 to 2 hours (sometimes more, sometimes less) each day to work on the homemade items I am giving this year. For me, the handmade gifts are a way of customizing with love, a little something for each person. And, a little money goes a long way when you make it yourself!
That’s it for now… the main point of all of this is to do a little each day! This thousand mile journey begins with one step… and by getting a little more done each day, you will have time for those things listed above. Or, if you don’t feel like stringing popcorn and it’s too hot to make a snowman, tell us what holiday tradition you would like to do this year.
Read all the Christmas/Holidays Unplugged posts by clicking here.
Thanks to morguefile.com and photographer gracey for this photo.