Sunday, January 19, 2014

Update: 10 Things To Do To Prep for Next Christmas

If you are following my last post, how are you doing?  Our January 31st deadline is coming up soon!
I wanted to share how I was doing towards these goals.  Life is a bit nutty for our family right now.  It would be very easy for me to throw my arms up in the air and say forget it!  I'll do this later!  Christmas is a long ways away after all. These are the moments we need to just push through and focus on the light on the other side.  In this case, focus on having a stress free holiday season.  I'm sure we will touch upon the subject of making sure our lives are the least bit nutty throughout the year, but sometimes a little craziness can actually help propel us!

1.  Wrap It Up:  My storage cabinet where I keep the wrapping paper has been decluttered and organized. 

2.  Address Labels/Card Prep:  Not done yet.  I have return address labels, but need stamps and I still need to print out address labels.

3.  Binder:  I need to reboot the binder!

4.  Plan DIY Projects:  I have a few in mind and have marked some pages, I just need to put these in the binder.

5.  Gift Spreadsheet & Inventory Gift Stash:  The spreadsheet has been updated.  Tonight I went to the toy clearance sale at Target and knocked out my shopping for my kids for not only Christmas, but Easter & Birthdays.  I always leave room to buy one or two items for my kids during the season, because you know they are going to ask Santa for something that mom didn't find at the clearance.  Now I have a very clear list of items I need to get for other family members & friends throughout the year.  Focused shopping = less money spent. 

6.  Recipes:  Again, I haven't touched the binder yet - this is an easy task to take care of on the same day I tackle the rest of the binder tasks.

7. Calendar Reminders: Done!  Ready to post events as they pop up this holiday season.

8.  Purge Unused Decor: Done!  I identified some things I just have not used for the last few years and donated them.

9.  Store Photos:  Photos are set aside, scrapbook page needs to be done.

10.  Celebrate!: I'm definitely ready to celebrate!  But, no can do until all tasks are complete.

We will check in again on the 31st.  Keep your eye on the prize of being well prepared for Christmas!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Merry New Year! 10 Things To Do to Prep for Next Christmas

Happy New Year!  It's the 5th day of 2014.  Although it is very exciting to focus on fresh beginnings and new goals for the year, I do not want to forget about Christmas quite yet.  I have learned that the more that can be done now in preparation for Christmas next year, the easier and less hectic the holiday season is.  I always hope to just be able to sit back and enjoy Christmas.  Time goes so fast, and usually by the time everything is decorated and you get a few sips of peppermint mocha and family time, Santa has arrived and the season is over in a snap.  It never fails, there is always something that ends up having to be done last minute - it wouldn't be Christmas without some of that! However, the more stress and last minute stuff can be avoided, the better.  Today I've assembled a list of 10 things to do to prep for next Christmas.  You don't want to hesitate in getting these things completed.  If you tell yourself you have a lot of time, it will never get done.  Have a goal to finish these things by January 31st

1.  Wrap It Up:  As you put away your wrapping supplies, take a quick inventory of items you have on hand and note any you have run out of or are running low on.  Now is the time to buy Christmas wrap and supplies, as they are on clearance. Designate a place to store your supplies for the year.  If you host parties, now is also a good time to stock up on themed decor and paper goods.

2.  Address Labels/Card Prep:   Buy some extra Christmas themed forever stamps now & store away for next year.  Also, update any address changes in your address files.  If you do Christmas Cards, consider making address labels and print them out now.  Store them in your Christmas binder (see #3).  Also put return address labels in your binder.  Or, if you use Send Out Cards, be sure to make sure all of your addresses are up to date in your online address book.

3.  Binder:  Ah, the Christmas Binder, one of my favorite organizational tools for the season.  You can make them as simple or as detailed as you want.  There are many free versions you can get online.  My personal favorite is this one from Organized Christmas.  Now is the time to do a "reboot" to your planner.  Recycle all of the papers from this past year, and prep, print and fill the planner up with sheets for next year. 

4.  Plan DIY Projects:  If craft projects and DIY gifts are your thing, start planning now!  Have all of the instructions, project plans and Pinterest ideas either pinned on their own board for next year or placed in the binder. 

5.  Gift Spreadsheet & Inventory Gift Stash:  If you want to save cash on gifts, shop throughout the year to catch the best deals.  Sweaters & winter clothing are on sale now and will keep going down in price in the next month.  Shop for toys throughout the year.  Keep an eye out for gifts and have the spreadsheet handy - keep a copy in your car or purse for those unexpected deals you may come across. This will help you only buy things you actually need - not just more gifts for the gift stash you think you may use.  Make a spreadsheet of who you need to buy gifts for and keep it up to date as you buy gifts throughout the year.  Now is the time to do a "Save As" and prep your spreadsheet for next Christmas.  Take inventory of what you have.  If there are gits you can use for next Christmas, put a post it on them with who it is for, then mark your spreadsheet.  If you keep a budget, be sure to track the expenses on the spreadsheet. 

6.  Recipes:  Have your favorite holiday recipes ready to go in your Christmas binder.  Do you participate in cookie exchanges or like to bake homemade goodies for friends & family?  Have those ready in your binder as well.  Look up some new recipes that strike your fancy in Pinterest and have those ready to go too.

7. Calendar Reminders:  Start marking your calendar now.  I put a reminder to schedule our family photo on October 1st.  I then know to call our photographer then & we have our photos done in October, in perfect timing to select our card in November & have them ready to mail the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Also put other Christmas related important dates on your calendar like annual family gatherings, when to book travel arrangements, and anything you need to remind yourself of a few weeks in advance next season, like shop for cookie ingredients. 

8.  Purge Unused Decor:  As I put away the decorations, I realized that there were things in our storage bins that we just didn't touch.  Why do we still have them?  Would I put them out again?  Are they things that are truly special to our family?  If the answer is no, off to the donation pile it goes!

9.  Store Photos:  Find a place for the Christmas photos from this year.  I have a Christmas Scrapbook where I do 1 page for our family photo every year.  It is so fun to flip through the book and see how our family changes from year to year.  If you do Santa photos, find a place for those as well.  Also, have a plan for the cards and photos you receive from friends and family.  If you keep them, have a box, scrapbook or designated place for those.  I like the system used here from IHeart Organizing.

10.  Celebrate!:  Do something fun to celebrate not only the beginning of a new year, but your accomplishments toward an easier & hopefully stress free Christmas next year!  Have a glass of wine, yummy coffee, or maybe even a mani/pedi to say cheers to your success!