Monday, November 2, 2009

Holidays Made Simple

Oh, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. As I write this, we have barely finished celebrating Halloween just a couple of weeks ago. We haven't paused a moment in November to be thankful for all we have and we are already thinking of acquiring more. I heard radio ads this morning about buying jewelry and stores are stocking everything you need for "Twilight" themed holiday giving. I don't want to miss a bandwagon, so here are some organizing ideas to ponder as we begin to inundated with Christmas joy.
Christmas is always on the 25th of December. With that in mind, make a time line for the things you really want to accomplish in your spare time. (Please note that I am fluent in sarcasm) Mailing 50 cards with hand written notes, making and/or shopping for gifts, baking trays of decorated cookies, wrapping gorgeous presents, decking the halls like Martha Stewart, hosting magnificent parties may be a few of the extras we want to add to our already full lives. Simplify and Enjoy. Make memories, not guilt. When there is less of something, it becomes more special.

If you really want to send cards -use your computer to create the card, or to compose an note for close friends. They too, are busy and understand the need to balance your time. Enter your address list into your computer and print labels. Use TV time or time spent waiting for kids at lessons to add stamps and return address labels. Give yourself a ship by date for cards and gifts that must be mailed.

Choose to make a couple cookies that are family favorites. Go for quality, not quantity. Put the bake date on the calendar. Bake with kids or a friend-these are great memories. I can still picture my daughters icing cookies and licking the knife between cookies.

Wrap simply. Gift bags --why did we take so long to invent these? Another simple solution is to use white or a solid color paper or gift bag, tie a simple brightly-colored shoestring bow, and write a to/from or greeting on the box itself with a silver or gold Sharpie. Pure and simple.

When you get those holiday decorations out, if you don't display it , donate it. Those things that don't give you the "ho-ho-ho feeling" --got to go-go-go.

Remember at parties, it's about the people more than matching napkins. People are generally glad to spend time together. For party decorations, I always choose red paper products. Good for Christmas, all patriotic holidays, Valentine's day and our local football team tailgating and I am never left with a few snowmen napkins.

Finally, give gifts of experiences. Movie tickets, gift cards to stores, restaurants, spa treatments, a night out for busy parents or tickets to an upcoming event are my favorites. Better yet, make a date to do these things with the recipient, giving them the gift of your time. I recently took my husband and family on a Zipline tour in the Hocking Hills as a birthday treat. These are moments of fun and luxury and they never need dusting or returning.

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