We began last Monday on our holiday preparation segment. To simplify things, which actually confused them, I have split Halloween and Christmas into two separate post topics this week. This week is Week 2 in our series. Tune in next week for Week 3 of our holiday preparation series!
Christmas is Coming!
I usually start to prepare for Christmas around this time simply because the Back-To-School rush is over and done and the children are back into their school routines. I find that when the children are off from school in the summer, it’s impossible to do any large scale project planning. You may find that your situation is totally different however.
In early October or late September, I pull out my Christmas folder and begin to plan. Each year, I use my folder to keep my lists and calendars and to keep my project planning on track. I’d suggest that you create a Christmas folder to keep your holiday preparation on track.
The contents of my folder at this time include:
A Calendar Page
I print out a calendar for November and December and keep it in my folder. This is helpful for planning events and also for keeping track of the many events that you and your children will be invited to attend.
The Christmas Card List
I keep two lists for cards: a snail mail list and an email list. Because of the high price of postage and also because we’ve got a large list of friend’s and family all over the world, I send out email and snail mail cards.
I keep a snail mail list of people who are very dear to us, or who don’t have an email address. Others are on the list because, very bluntly, they feel email cards are tacky. Otherwise, I send out the email cards and attach photos of our family. I save the list on a file and each year, I update addresses and add or remove names as I see fit. I then print out the list and put it in the folder.
The Christmas Letter List
I do send out a Christmas letter with our cards, simply because we’ve actually gotten requests for updates on our busy family. I really enjoy reading the letters that I get in the mail or via email, but that’s just me.
Around this time, I begin to look over letters from years past, and to think about the angle for this year’s letter. I usually ask the children what things are acceptable to print in this year’s letter. Now that I have teenagers, I find that I absolutely have to check this out and clear the letter contents before I send them out!
The Recipe List
Every Christmas season for generations, my family has baked cookies. I remember baking as a little girl with my mother and sisters. After my mother died and we all still lived closed to each other, my sisters and I continued the tradition. Now that we live several states apart, we do a cookie exchange via mail.
I also continue the tradition with my children. I bake excessively during the holiday and use the cookies as gifts. I also serve cookies during our neighborhood open house/Christmas Caroling party we host every year.
I have photocopied our favorite cookie recipes and I keep them organized together in a plastic report cover. This keeps them together and the plastic protects the recipes from any spills that might happen while I am baking. I have also made photocopies of recipes for our family’s traditional Christmas dinner and I keep them in the cover.
Around this time, I begin to decide which cookies I’d like to bake and I make up a shopping list. In our section of the country, baking goods start to go on sale around the end of October. I can stock up this way and do all the baking I wish to do quite inexpensively.
I also make up a list of Christmas dinner ingredients and begin to stock up on non-perishable items now as I am able during my trips to the grocery store! It’s a good idea to buy an extra can or two of vegetables or other fixings as you can donate extras to food drives which may happen at your child’s school or at your church.
The Gift List
I keep a list of gifts I’d like to purchase for the children and also ideas for family and friends. I also include items I need to purchase for holiday parties at school.
There are many sites where you can print out holiday lists to help you organize. I like simple ones best, but you may enjoy creating your own, or searching for other sites from which you want to print off your lists.
As it gets closer towards Christmas, the folder becomes larger! By the time the holiday is over with, I have it stuffed with to do lists, new recipe cards and address labels. After the holiday is over, I clean out the folder and save what I need for next year. The folder gets filed in the filing cabinet I keep for important items located in the spare bedroom until this time each year when I pull it out and begin to plan again.
You may or may not have uses for all of the folder items I have mentioned or perhaps you can think of other things to put in your folder! Either way, it’s best to begin to organize your thoughts and prepare for the Christmas holiday season now.
Stay tuned for Week 3!