Thursday, October 13, 2011

Planning...Day 13 of 31 Days of Creating with Meaning

Some ideas for taking the stress out of the holidays  
{Updated post from a couple of years ago}
Worship and Service:
-Plan your church worship and other Christmas services to attend.  We always go to the community Creche festival on the first weekend of December.  We also watch the LDS Christmas Broadcast on the first Sunday in December.
-Plan to do some service for another family or charity, or even for your own family.  Bake cookies and take a plate to the fire station or the Dr’s office or to a nursing home.  Sing some carols while you’re there!  If you’re really organized you can plan a 12 days of Christmas for a neighbor or friend.  Pick a tag off of a “giving tree” and donate something.  Donate to Toys for Tots.  If your budget won’t allow for extra purchases then donate your time to a good cause.  We are celebrating the birth of Christ, and charity is the pure love of Christ.  So make it a Charitable Christmas!

-Make a budget and stick to it. Do a little bit of shopping each trip.
-Have a set number of gifts that are given to each child.  Some use “3” gifts like the wise men brought to the baby Jesus.
-Choose names and set a price limit. Instead of buying gifts for all siblings and cousins, you’ll end up spending a lot less!
-Let grandparents and other relatives know children’s gift lists, and what you think is appropriate. They’ll usually listen.
-Shop on-line and take advantage of free shipping or gift-wrapping.
-If you are making homemade or handcrafted gifts, get going on it!  If you haven’t started, make a list of the supplies you need and collect or buy them.  Set up a corner in the living room or somewhere convenient to keep the projects out so you can work on them as you have time.
-Take turns with friends watching each other’s children for Christmas shopping.
-Make sure you have tape, tags, and wrap.  Have the kids hand-stamp tags or plain kraft paper for inexpensive wrapping.
-Wrap gifts as they are purchased or have a gift-wrapping party with friends. Have children help wrap gifts. They love to be involved!

Cooking or Baking:
-Make your Thanksgiving Menu and your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Menu, or if you have a potluck assign dishes to be brought.
-Throughout November and December cook double for dinner when you can and freeze the extra portions. When you have a busy day, dinner is ready to be heated up.
-Cook or prepare ahead any dishes that will freeze and reheat well.
-Shop ahead of time for non-perishable food items for Christmas meals and baking.
-Host a cookie baking day or cookie exchange with friends.
-When you have a free block of time, mix up a batch of cookie dough and freeze it. Then bake when you have time.

Christmas cards:
-Schedule picture appointment.
-Instead of doing newsletter yourself, have each person write a paragraph or draw a picture.
-Purchase stamps and cards ahead of time and address a few each night, or have older kids help.
-Or skip Christmas cards altogether and send a Christmas e-mail!

-Get rid of decorations you don’t use or love!  Call and inquire about donating them to a nursing home or other facility.
-Pack up knick-knacks from house into Christmas boxes while decorations are out.  Your house will look less cluttered.

-Wash china or holiday dishes ahead of time (or use paper and plastic)
-Do you need anything dry cleaned?
-Make sure to buy film for cameras, or clear out your card, and charge up video camera.

-Plan and do a fall cleaning.  Break it down by room, and then shampoo carpets.
-This is a great time to replace worn out towels and washcloths before guests come to stay.  Shop black Friday sales or white sales.
-Go through and donate toys that the kids have grown out of or do not use anymore before the new Christmas toys are in the mix.
-Go through and donate any clothes that are not being used.  Then you’ll know what needs replacing for Christmas lists.

Having a holiday plan can save a lot of stress. Especially if you're a procrastinator like me.  Most of all, the holidays are about faith, family and fun.

And don’t forget, Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.

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