Posts Tagged "christmas"

Holiday Countdown: My Favorite Movies & Things

Posted by on Nov 10, 2010 in Holiday Organization, Mom Moments, Travel & Lifestyle | 0 comments

Generally I’m not one to countdown the holidays, but this year I’m actually excited about Christmas. I’ve done a little shopping, thinking about the Christmas tree and all the fun and funky ornaments we bought last

year. I have my favorite Christmas movies that I watch several times throughout the holidays. No, not really an It’s a Wonderful Life kinda girl. My Christmas movie faves are little more modern: Love Actually and The Holiday. Although I’m not a big Hugh Grant fan (but I love him in About a Boy too), the cast of Love Actually is stellar and, even after watching the movie a hundred times, I always laugh out loud! The Holiday has become a favorite because Nancy Meyers’ films always have such wonderful cozy set designs. Even in the monstrous California house that Cameron Diaz’s character lives in, there’s a warmth and coziness about it that just makes you want to crawl up under a blanket and watch a movie or cook something delicious in her kitchen.

So, here are some more of my favorite things about the holidays:

  • The excitement on my children’s faces…even if Big Chick knows S.C. is me!
  • Wrapping gifts…everything from choosing the paper to tying the ribbons
  • Baking cookies…my favorite recipe is scrumptious fudge cookies
  • Seeing family and friends
  • Christmas morning breakfast, smelling the bacon cooking on the stove
  • Having to tip-toe through the living room after all the gifts have been opened
  • Watching a parade on Christmas morning…in the warm, cozy comfort of my own home
  • The Christmas morning phone calls
  • Wearing something new that Santa has put under the tree. Okay, so maybe I do a little Santa shopping for myself so I don’t feel left out :-) And, yes, I do wrap the gifts for myself!

Holiday

What are you favorite things?

Here some additional {previously published} blog entries to help you get organized and enjoy the holidays:

Less than 90 Days…Strategies for a Stress-free Holiday Twenty Strategies to make the most of the holidays

Create a Fun Family Holiday Card

Santa is Coming to Town What to do before you start shopping

Out with the Old, Making Room for the New Pre-holiday decluttering solutions

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Santa is Coming to Town…

Posted by on Dec 3, 2009 in Holiday Organization, Mom Moments | 0 comments

Today, one of my Facebook friends updated her status. It said: “Christmas shopping is complete and I am officially tired.” She’s tired, but she’s DONE with her shopping. Well, I’m tired and honestly I haven’t even started my shopping. Okay, maybe a little bit is done, but I still have the big gifts to buy.

Speaking of BIG gift, last year, my daughter received a drum set last year from Santa. Yes, a full set! They looked great in her room and all her friends thought she was cool. When we moved this summer, I had the movers pack them up and we set them up in her new room. However, the fact is, she has only sat behind the drum set maybe a handful of times (I didn’t even get a picture of her behind those drums. Darn!) I finally convinced her that perhaps having a trundle bed for sleepovers would be a better use of space than the drum set. She agreed and now Santa will be giving those drums to another 11-year-old this Christmas. 

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post. The following is a reminder to myself as much as to you! Here are some key things to do before you rush out to spend your hard earned money:

1. Establish a Budget—The best way to ensure you don’t wind up with a huge credit card bill due in January is to start with a budget. Finish the year off without Holiday debt.

2. Take Stock—As mentioned above, before you run out and buy, buy, buy for the upcoming season, determine what you already have. You may be surprised to find that there’s very little you need to purchase in the way of holiday table decorations and you can spend that money elsewhere.
3. Use a Grid—For your planning purposes, create a “grid” or calendar and record activities for each day.

4. Undercommit—Yes! You read that right. Instead of accepting EVERY single invitation this season, choose a few.

5. Meal plan for the season. Doing so will make putting together a grocery list much easier. Determine when you will entertain, what the menu is for that event, and write it down. This could potentially eliminate a second trip to a superstore to buy the supplies.


6. Holiday Cards—Go online to save time and money. Create a family photo video at animoto.com and post it on your Facebook page. It’s fun and people will think you’re a genius when they watch it! (You can create a 30-second video for free. It may not sound like much, but with how busy people are today, 30 seconds is fine.)


7. Create a Gift Station—You’ll need plenty of room to wrap gifts. Avoid using the dining room table so you’re not apologizing for the state of that space.


8. Make the Gift Wrap Unique and Special—This will accomplish two things: Saving money on gift wrap and it will be unique. Choose family pictures, take them to a copy shop and set them out on the copy glass and make a black and white copy on 11X 17 paper. Gift wrap and add a colorful bow and gift tag and you have a unique gift wrap!


9. Make room for the new stuff—Donate! Involve your children in the process. Take the extra toys to a donation center, which is a great teaching opportunity for your children to see that not everyone has the same life situation.


10. Keep Track of Paperwork—Purchase a container that will hold your lists, schedules, shopping lists, receipts, etc. Label each section and file your lists. You can do the same thing with a notebook that has pockets. When you return home from shopping, keep your receipts in one place in the event you need to return or exchange something.


11. Shop Online—You can do this anytime of the day or night! Search for bargains and unique gifts you may not have access to locally.

12. Be Creative—Find one item that fits for everyone. For example, a gift certificate to B&N or a favorite local restaurant. Or better, yet, with the state of the economy, forgo the gift, have a get together and ask everyone to bring their favorite dish.

13. Prepare for Guests—If you plan on hosting guests, be sure to think about the following: Where you will put them, how you will provide space for their things, and you may want to create a clutter-free zone in the bathroom they will use so there’s a place to put their toiletries and towels. Provide them with a place to hang wet towels. Put together a “guest basket” that contains any essentials one might need when away from home: Towels, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer, q-tips, cotton balls, moisturizer — use all those little travel and beauty counter samples that are just hanging around underneath your bathroom vanity.


14. Create Temporary Guest Room—If your office space is “acting” like a guest room while you have visitors, consider setting up a “temporary office space” in your master bedroom or in another part of the house.


15. Let Everyone Pitch in—When it comes to implementing your plans for the holiday, this is a great time to assign tasks to family members. Give them an assignment that they enjoy.


16. Start a Tradition—There’s nothing better than looking forward to a beloved tradition. If you don’t already have one, organize something special with a friend, family or loved ones.


17. Make Time for Yourself—Make sure you have a place to retreat. Grab your favorite drink and head to your bedroom, put your feet up and relax for a bit. It’s important to re-energize so you don’t need a vacation once the holiday season is over. Slow and steady wins the race.

Happy, Happy Holidays!

 
Please share with us your strategies for having a happy holiday. What tradition have you started and what are your plans?

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Less than 90 Days…Strategies for a Stress-free Holiday

Posted by on Oct 9, 2008 in Easy Organizing, Sanity Savers, What You Need & Where to Put It | 4 comments

Before you run out and buy, buy, buy for the upcoming season, determine what you already have. You may be surprised to find that there’s very little you need to purchase in the way of holiday table decorations–then you you can spend that money elsewhere.

Inventory the Christmas paper you had leftover from last year, determine whether you can re-purpose last year’s decorations, and see there are any gifts you may have forgotten to give that could be given this year (you know, the one’s you shopped early for, stuck in the back of the closet and then couldn’t find when it came time to do the wrapping).

Here’s list of Organizing Strategies for a Stress-free Holiday Season:

1. Establish a Budget—The best way to ensure you don’t wind up with a huge credit card bill due in January is to start with a budget. Finish the year off without Holiday debt.

2. Use a Grid—For your planning purposes, create a “grid” or calendar and record activities for each day.

3. Undercommit—Yes! You read that right. Instead of accepting EVERY single invitation this season, choose a few.

4. Take Stock—As mentioned above, before you run out and buy, buy, buy for the upcoming season, determine what you already have. You may be surprised to find that there’s very little you need to purchase in the way of holiday table decorations and you can spend that money elsewhere.

5. Meal plan for the season. Doing so will make putting together a grocery list much easier. Determine when you will entertain, what the menu is for that event, and write it down. This could potentially eliminate a second trip to a superstore to buy the supplies.

6. Holiday Cards—What to send, how to send it. New ideas to ease this annual event.

7. Create a Gift Station—You’ll need plenty of room to wrap gifts. Avoid using the dining room table so you’re not apologizing for the state of that space.

8. Make the Gift Wrap special—This will accomplish two things: Saving money on gift wrap and it will be unique. Choose family pictures, take them to a copy shop and set them out on the copy glass and make a black and white copy on 11X 17 paper. Gift wrap and add a colorful bow and gift tag and you have a unique gift wrap!

9. Make room for the new stuff—Donate, involve your children. Take the extra toys to a donation center, which is a great teaching opportunity for your children to see that not everyone has the same life situation.

10. Keep Track of Paperwork—Purchase a container that will hold your lists, schedules, shopping lists, receipts, etc. Label each section and file your lists. You can do the same thing with a notebook that has pockets. When you return home from shopping, keep your receipts in one place in the event you need to return or exchange something.

11. Shop Online—You can do this anytime of the day or night! Search for bargains and unique gifts you may not have access to locally.

12. Be Creative—Find one item that fits for everyone. For example, a gift certificate to B&N or a favorite local restaurant.

13. Prepare for Guests—If you plan on hosting guests, be sure to think about the following: Where you will put them, how you will provide space for their things, and you may want to create a clutter-free zone in the bathroom they will use so there’s a place to put their toiletries and towels.

14. Be Ready for Your Guests—Go to your local Visitors Bureau and collect the latest brochures, maps and event calendars. Put them in a folder and give to your guests when they arrive.

15. Pamper Your Guests—Create a space in the bathroom for your guest to place her cosmetic bag. Provide them with a place to hang wet towels. Put together a “guest basket” that contains any essentials one might need when away from home: Towels, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer, q-tips, cotton balls, moisturizer — use all those little travel and beauty counter samples that are just hanging around underneath your bathroom vanity.

16. Create Temporary Guest Room—If your office space is “acting” like a guest room while you have visitors, consider setting up a “temporary office space” in your master bedroom or in another part of the house.

17. Let Everyone Pitch in—When it comes to implementing your plans for the holiday, this is a great time to assign tasks to family members. Give them an assignment that they enjoy.

18. Establish a Tradition—There’s nothing better than looking forward to a beloved tradition. If you don’t already have one, organize something special with a friend, family or loved ones.

19. Time for Yourself—Make sure you have a place to retreat. Grab your favorite drink and head to your bedroom, put your feet up and relax for a bit. It’s important to re-energize so you don’t need a vacation once your guests leave. Slow and steady wins the race.

20. The Aftermath—So the holidays are over and everything needs to be packed up. Organizing is about determining how much space you give to a certain category of stuff. We’ll discuss how to pack it up, enlist the help of family members to help you, and how inventorying what you have will make next year even better!

Print this article and refer back to it. After all that, you may need to rejuvenate. Consider the Fifth Annual Women’s Retreat at Kiawah Island, SC, January 16 through 18, 2009. Click here for more information. Happy Holidays!

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