|Treats from my 2012 Christmas Gathering|
You still have time to get some holiday business out of the way. It’s not too late. First, let’s consider three items that can be purchased in the months and weeks preceding December.
- Gift cards/stocking stuffers
- Pantry items
If you know that you will be sending/giving gift cards to anyone, buy a few each month and tuck them away in your gift closet/cabinet/drawer. (You DO have a special place to stash gifts, don’t you?) Non-Christmas-themed stocking stuffers can be gathered as well. This helps spread your expenditures out over time and prevents that last-minute dash to the store on Christmas Eve.
If you send Christmas cards and don’t care about using special holiday stamps, go ahead and make the postage purchase now to avoid December’s long lines in the post office.
If you plan to do a lot of cooking/baking in December, stock up on supplies now. Last week I bought a 25-lb. bag of sugar. I will divide it into gallon freezer bags and keep them in the pantry. No way will I run out in the middle of my annual baking spree! Nonperishable items that stores tend to sell out of in November and December should be purchased earlier to avoid the mad dash from store to store in search of the missing and much-needed product.
As far as holiday tasks go, some possibilities for this month and the next are as follows:
- Test new holiday recipes now to avoid possible disappointing results later.
- Plan your cleaning strategy so that your house is ready for guests without the usual last-minute cleaning frenzy that makes you too tired to enjoy your company. Doing a set amount each day or each week is better than trying to do it all in one day and reducing yourself to a quivering heap of stress!
- Print out Christmas card and gift box mailing labels, making sure your addresses are current.
- Organize Christmas newsletter; cull the year to highlight the best, funniest, and worst of the year. The best newsletters are one page in length. If there is news that never changes, i.e. your kids are always honor students and make you proud, consider replacing that news with something those on your mailing list don’t already know.
- Take out your calendar and look at possible dates for parties. Pencil in other holiday events that are traditions, such as the parade in town, the holiday light show, and charity events. With enough advance planning, you can do it all!
BONUS: Here is a fun activity for your children or grandchildren that can be done before the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Create wrapping paper out of plain butcher paper. Give the children Christmas-colored pencils, markers, or paints and let them cut loose! One year I gave my kids star-shaped sponges and red, green, and gold paints. I loved how pretty our one-of-a-kind gift wrap looked. Even scribbles look festive when wrapped around a small package decorated with a bow on top, and think how proud the children will be to see “their” paper on the gifts you give others on Christmas Day!