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Knittin' in the Sun Podcast, Knitting Tips, Tricks, and what's new for Elizabeth Quintan Designs

Simplify Your Holiday

on December 1, 2010

I will string some words together here that most don’t usually see together…The holidays should be enjoyed and fun. I know you’re thinking is she crazy? What holiday is she talking about? The holidays seem to sneak up on us every year. There we are in October enjoying Halloween and then BAM! next thing you know it’s Thanksgiving and then Christmas Eve. Where did those two months go? Well I’m here with a few tips to tell you that you can claim your holidays back.

What’s the first thing you think of when you know Christmas is around the corner? Well if you’re anything like me and my family it’s shopping, cooking, and entertaining. So lets talk about it. Shopping I think is the most dreaded for some. Thinking about having to brave the long lines, and outrageous credit card charges makes most of us put the shopping off to the last-minute. Cooking and Entertaining should be the best part of the holidays but many of us dread that just as much as the shopping. The days of cleaning decorating and preparing leave us exhausted by the time Christmas Day comes. Who wants a hostess who can barely stand from exhaustion?

Today being the first day of December I thought I’d give you a little relief, but you might have a little work to do. I know, I know I just promised an easier holiday and in the end that’s what you will have! So as I said a little work…

We will be making a Christmas Plan of Attack. You will need:

  • A fancy new notebook (or any one you have lying around not being used
  • A pen
  • A Calendar
  • Address Book
  • A small bit of patience.

Make a list of the top 5 things you need to accomplish this month. They will be very broad mine looks like this:

1. Shopping

2. Christmas Cards

3. Baking

4. Party Guests

5. Entertaining

Ok now breathe see that wasn’t so bad. You’re just about half done. I told you this would be easy. Next step is to expand on your list. So each list becomes a list.

Shopping:  Make three columns with the following labels

Names                        Items to buy for each recipient                  Price Point

For the shopping don’t forget those last-minute people like your hairdresser, baby sitter, garbage man, teachers, and secret santa. Not everyone shops for these people, but if you do prepare for it now it will help you budget. In our family we have found making our shopping list saves us time, and helps us watch the spending. It’s also a good idea to put a price point next to each persons name. This way if you can’t come up with an idea for a gift you can look in this price point while shopping it will keep you on budget.

Christmas Cards: Make two columns

Recipient             Address

Christmas Cards are one of my favorite parts of Christmas, but I always forget some one on my list. Pull out your address book and have everything ready when you do your cards. Make sure your addresses are up to date and you have plenty of stamps. Send cards out early so that people can display them through out the holiday.

Baking: Make Two columns

Recipe Name               Cook Book and page #

For Baking one of the best things to do is decide on all of your cookies at once. I love to bake this time of year, but it can get overwhelming. So make sure you don’t forget where the recipes you want to use are by writing down the book and page you found them. Also make a grocery list all at once when you are ready to make your items. We have a cookie party every year around the middle of the month. So when you’re ready to do the baking you will know exactly what you need from where.

Party Guests: Make two columns

Guests                RSVP

Party Planning can be a pain, but we should enjoy it not dread it. Make a list of all the guests you plan to invite to your holiday party. After sending out the invitations mark yes or no under the RSVP column. You will know exactly how many people you need to expect and there won’t be any last-minute surprises. This might be a section you have more than one page of due to multiple parties.

Entertaining: Calendar

So this one is a little different. Take out a calendar and set deadlines for your entertaining tasks. Spread them out through out the month so you are not rushing around on Christmas Eve when you should be relaxing for the big day ahead. Give yourself time to accomplish your tasks so you don’t feel behind schedule. Think about cooking you can do in advance and freeze and just heat up that day. Some of these can be huge time savers! Don’t forget to do the table-scapes and wrapping in advance as well! Finally don’t forget to DELEGATE! Enlist your friends and family to help if you throw the major party.

Yes I threw a lot at you all at once but take 30-45 mins tonight and try setting up a plan of attack it will give you checkpoints and help you to enjoy your holiday more. That’s the point of all the craziness anyway isn’t it? To enjoy those closest to you? I always remember my parents staying up until 4 a.m. on Christmas morning wrapping gifts. When we were ready to come down the stairs at 7 a.m. they were sound asleep! Then we would rush through opening so my mom could finish cooking and cleaning. Don’t make kids wait to long for gifts they look forward to this day just as much as the rest of us.

Enjoy your organized holiday and any great time saver tips you have leave them in the comments!

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