Posts Tagged 'most wonderful time of the year'

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 2

Part 2: Take Time to Make Time

The countdown is on. It is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Celebrating Jesus.  Come to earth as a baby for you and me!

Over the years, our celebration has come to include SO MANY things; family and friends, meals out, gift giving, parties, evenings in, shopping, cleaning, decorating, baking, and cooking. And the list goes on! In the midst of it all, life doesn’t stop. So, HOW do we fit it all in?

Plan first. Do second.

You have heard it all before. Make your list. Check it twice. I would like to add a third step. Cross off your list (before you DO it!).
Most of us shop too much, bake too much, cook too much, eat way too much, plan too much, and generally wear ourselves out. At a time when we want to slow down and appreciate what Christmas really means and enjoy those around us, we so easily clutter our minds and our time with so much busyness.

Truly, this bit of advice, to cross off some things on your list, will save you time and energy, and help make time for all those things and people in life that are most important to you.

As you are making your plans this year, take a few minutes to really consider what is important to you and your family. Take a few minutes to create a mission statement for your holiday season. A good mission statement will succinctly define what you and your family are trying to accomplish and what you value. It will provide you with a vision as you are planning.
As you think through your own mission statement, simply ask yourself what you really want for the holiday season (and what you don’t want!).

Personally, I want:
To draw closer to God and understand the meaning of Christmas
To have sweet time with my family
To be able to give and serve more to those in need
To slow down and put aside my To Do list
To catch up with old friends
To enjoy and appreciate the simple pleasures of the days

I don’t want:
To get caught up in the shopping frenzy
To spend $ we don’t have
To be too busy and over-scheduled

Take a few minutes to create your own holiday mission statement and use it as you are planning for the weeks to come.
As you are making plans, think through what traditions you have and why. Make a list of them. From decorating to Christmas caroling, from serving to gift giving, from spiritual life to family gatherings.

Keep those traditions that you love, and be willing to let go of those you don’t love or have outgrown. Families and people change! We tend to begin new traditions as our families grow. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to continue every tradition that you ever started.

Next, include your family. Share your list with your family. Ask what is important to them. You may be surprised!
Now it’s time to look ahead and come up with a plan that is both realistic and simplified.

Take time to make time for those things and people in your life that are most important to you.

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5,  Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

Cheryl

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 6

Part 6, It’s a Wrap!

The big day is quickly approaching. Are you ready? Are you in the Christmas spirit?

It’s time to wrap up your preparations and your gifts!

Consider setting up a wrapping station where you can keep all of your wrapping supplies and gifts in the same area. Make it fun and festive by setting up your wrapping station near a TV. Then you can wrap and organize, while watching old Christmas classics or listen to Christmas music.

When you pull out last year’s wrapping paper, take the time to discard any wrinkled, outdated or damaged paper and supplies.

Get the kids involved!

  • Give the job completely to an older teen
  • Have younger children help by stamping, painting or decorating butcher paper to use as gift wrap

Wrap gifts soon after you purchase them to avoid the last minute rush. Be sure to clearly label each gift and cross the gift off your list.

Remember, don’t be afraid to cross off some tasks from your list! Your friends and family would rather have a joyful you with store bought cookies and than a stressed out, frazzled you with homemade treasures.

May you have joy in the journey!

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Cheryl

Get In Order for Christmas, Part 4

Part 4, Meal Planning

We tend to cook more and entertain more during the holidays. There is much that you can do prepare for this busy time so that you can truly enjoy your celebrations.

First, ask yourself who, what, when and where? When you have your answers to these questions, you have the backbone of your plans.

Take time to prepare for the weeks ahead by doing some (or all!) of the following:

  • Organize, purge and clean your pantry, refrigerator and freezer

  • Do a quick inventory of dinnerware, glasses, silverware, linens and serving pieces. If there is a need, there is certainly a sale!

  • Prepare a flexible menu for the weeks ahead

  • Each week, make a shopping list from your menus and try to shop only 1 time a week. Go on off peak times of day—early in the day and early in the week, if possible

  • Take advantage of sales to stock up on non perishables that you will need for your holiday preparations

  • Prepare dishes, breads, cookies and desserts that can be frozen

  • Keep basics and easy to prepare foods on hand

  • Share the responsibility and joy of cooking for others—when your guest asks if they can bring something, say YES, and cross something off your list!

  • Consider pot-luck dinners for large celebrations

Remember your goal this holiday season! Look back at your “Holiday Mission Statement” that you created back in week one. How is your mission going? Are you joyful in the journey of your preparations? If not, it might be time to cross a few more things off that list of yours, regroup and move forward.

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

Check out Part 1, Take Time to Make Time, Part 2, Budget and Gift Giving Guide and Part 3, Cleaning.

Cheryl

Get in Order for Christmas, Part 2

Part 2: Budget and Gift Giving Guide

Create a budget for your holiday. Be sure to include gifts, decorations, travel, meals and entertainment.

Next, create a gift list with each person’s name that you plan to purchase a gift for, along with gift ideas and the dollar amount that you plan to spend.

As you purchase gifts, fill in the gift purchased and the dollar amount spent.  This will help to organize your shopping, avoid purchasing doubles, and keep to your budget.

If you happen to like forms and planners, check out the website, Organized Christmas. They have a form or planner for any aspect of Christmas that you can image (and many that you can’t imagine!). Personally, I use a lined piece of notebook paper in my home notebook. It works. Use whatever is easiest for you and whatever you will actually use!

It is too tempting to overspend during the holidays—don’t allow your good intentions and good will to be an excuse for irresponsibility.

“About the time we think we can make end meet, someone moves the ends.” Herbert Hoover

Don’t be that someone!

Check back often for parts 3-9 of the “Get in Order for Christmas” Series, which will give you tips and ideas for cleaning, meal planning, decorating, shopping and gift giving, wrapping and reflecting back on your holiday season.

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Check out Part1, “Take Time to Make Time”.

Cheryl

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The countdown is on. It is The Most Wonderful (and busiest)  Time of the Year!
“And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people;'” The Bible, Luke 2:10
istockmanger1
Celebrating Jesus. Come to earth as a baby. For me and you!
Over the years, our celebration has come to include SO MANY things……..family and friends, meals out, gift giving, serving others, evenings in, shopping, cleaning, decorating, baking, cooking……..and the list goes on……….
In the midst of it all, life doesn’t stop. So, HOW DO we fit it all in?
Plan 1st. Do 2nd. You have heard it all before. Make your list. Check it twice.
I think we are skipping a very important step………..
Make your list. Simplify your list. Then check it twice.
Most of us shop too much, bake too much, cook too much, EAT WAY TOO MUCH, plan too much, commit to too much, and generally wear ourselves out. At a time when we want to slow down and appreciate all Christmas  means and the people in our lives, we are bogged down with our “TO DO LIST”.
Absolutely, spread joy, celebrate, shower those you love, shop, bake, cook, decorate………
Just go about it as simply as possible.
As you look forward to and plan for the the holiday season, take a few minutes to make a list of everything you do to celebrate……..all your traditions………from baking and cooking, to decorating and Christmas caroling, to service opportunities and giving. Then ask your family members what is important to them. You may be surprised! Finally, simplify that list.  Pick those things that have the most meaning. Be realistic and be kind to yourself!
Check back during the next few weeks as I give you practical hints on Gift Giving, Holiday Meals and Baking, and Cleaning and Decorating.
Happy Holidays!
Cheryl


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