Sunday, January 3, 2010

#1 - January 2010!

From the Festival of Trees
Welcome to Christmas All Year Long—where getting ready for your favorite holiday is a year-long project!

What happens to you each December? Are you caught off guard by the many activities available? Do you participate in a mad scramble to make Christmas happen at your house—by baking and decorating and shopping and wrapping and caroling and partying and spinning in circles till you pass out? Do some of your plans turn to dust and blow away due to neglect? Then this is the place for you, my dear. We’re going to surprise everyone come December 1 by being prepared for the holiday season and having the time to enjoy it!

The idea is to focus on a holiday project each month. It won’t be time-consuming, and I’m pretty sure it will be fun. We will take one topic a month and see if we can’t make a better Christmas for ourselves, our families, and our friends.

Let’s kick off January with a two-part project. The first part is simple. Make a list of all the Christmas activities/projects you completed, and then list the things you wanted to do but ran out of time and energy for.

For example, this year I wrote a Christmas newsletter (at the last minute) and mailed out cards (at the last minute) and shopping for gifts (at the last minute). That’s not the way I like to do things, but that’s how it went. I also decorated the inside of my house, and I put up a few things outside, but I ran out of time and energy for putting out strings of lights. I made my traditional double-decker peanut butter fudge and the edible holly candy, but I ran out of time for cookies! I listened to lots of Christmas music, and I sang in my church’s Christmas choir. I went to one Christmas party thrown by the local Writers Guild at a restaurant, but I did not get to have friends over to my house as I’d hoped to do. I missed going to a live nativity, but I did take my family to the Festival of Trees for our yearly photo safari. We drove through one professional lights display, but we didn’t have time for the other, bigger one. I wanted to take my neighbors plates of Christmas goodies, but I didn’t get them made! I wanted to make some Christmas ornaments, but I haven’t had time to do that in several years, and the kits are getting quite dusty!

I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I wanted to. But I also have to work at my job, get my allergy shots, and do my regular chores and errands as a single parent, plus help my teenager daughter with her school schedule and homework.

The only way I’m going to get all those things accomplished is to create a plan and follow it. So that’s what we’re going to do together! We’ll plan and work our way through the year so that our next Christmas will be the one we’ve always dreamed of! Make your lists now.

Part two: If you haven’t yet, take advantage of the after-Christmas clearance sales. You can get fabulous bargains at this time of year. Plus, it helps you plan in advance for next Christmas. As you stand in front of the wrapping paper, you can decide on a color scheme or theme for next year if the idea pleases you. Do you want to go with all metallic paper? Papers with penguins? Stripes, plaids, polka dots? All white paper with colored ribbon to accent the packages? Buy now, and you’ll have that chore out of the way. Get Christmas cards at 50-75% off the retail price. Plastic storage boxes are on sale at this time as well, so if you don’t have a place to store and protect your Christmas supplies, you can pick something up at a discount. I’ve already got my cards for next year, as well as some ribbons and small gift boxes, and I’m watching the sales for some outdoor decorations at bargain prices.

Future topics will include party planning, Christmas newsletters and photos, choosing and testing new recipes for Christmas goodies, music for the Big Day, decorating both indoors and out, shopping and/or making gifts, family fun activities, and more. Feel free to leave a comment with ideas for future topics.

Let’s keep the Spirit of Christmas alive all year long!


  1. I certainly need to buy wrapping paper now, as I used all of mine this year and wil not want to pay full price later on. I handmade my cards this year and imagine I'll do the same next year. Stocking up on scrapbook/craft paper/supplies that I can use for cards would be smart.

  2. One year I made Christmas cards and envelopes. I had to start in August in order to do it. I painted scenes on card stock. It's a project you definitely ought to start (and finish, if possible) before December arrives!


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