Ever find yourself really wishing you had more time to get ready for Christmas... December just seems to SNEAK up on you? Well, maybe we can make a difference... together!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let the Journey Begin!

Christmas season can be so OVERWHELMING don't you think?  I mean... let's face it - many of us simply do not want to even think about it before we HAVE to  - and I even know some that prefer to not think about it ever!  That just breaks my heart.... but only because I'VE BEEN THERE!  And I know just what I missed and I will NEVER be able to get it back....  For the past 2 years - (this is my 3rd SEASON attempt)  I have learned that if I work with my Christmas organizing a little bit every day-well week (I would LOVE to do it every day!) or at least every month, I have found that my CHRISTMAS season is and has been a little more enjoyable each year - and not so stressful... and this year, being my 3rd - I am REALLY hoping that  this is the year that I get it completely accomplished!  I'm surely going to give it my best shot!  

The first thing that I have discovered, through trial and error is that being PREPARED  for the upcoming holiday is to be ORGANIZED.... I'm all about ORGANIZING - but sometimes it is much easier said than done....  

 A couple years ago when I started my quest to "ENJOY THE SEASON" (you can read it here), it seemed so simple then... but life got a hold of me and soon I found it wasn't as easy as it seemed to be on paper... but I kept trying and I did ok... not the best - but ok.... the next year I was determined to be better...(you can see year 2 here) and I started out with great vengeance and even accomplished a few things... like found some great deals the day after Christmas that were very much needed and made this past Christmas a little easier. And yet... here I am again... year 3... still striving to MAKE MY GOAL!  So... I've been working on a new plan. A revised plan. Hopefully it will help.

I'm a big LIST maker - that's no secret.... but one of the problems is... my LIST kept disappearing! Talk about FRUSTRATING! I even purchased a "PLANNER" last year - and it just didn't give me the "room" I needed - so this year - I purchased a COMPOSITION NOTEBOOK... and I thought about making it really UGLY then my girls  I mean, the little thieves that would take my notebook wouldn't touch it if it were UGLY right?.... But I got them THEIR OWN.... Let's see how long that works!  I think I'll put a BEEPER on mine too! 

Anyway.... I started the morning after Christmas evaluating Christmas.  Making notes. Asking myself questions and replying ~ to myself :) 

So, here is my attempt to help you as well. AND for you to help me too!  I'm so open for ideas, thoughts, suggestions etc - please PLEASE feel free to share them! 

The first thing I did was .... changed my DEADLINE date!  If you have never had a deadline date, make one. I promise you will be thanking me later so happy that you did! My deadline date is OCT. 31, 2012.  I wrote it in big letters on my very first page at the top... the first thing I see! :) 

The next step is to decide just what is important to you about Christmas.  For me this is a BIG eye opener! I'm such a BIG dreamer! I have such BIG plans and... I'm not spontaneous - so IF I'm not prepared... it simply doesn't happen - because it has to be PERFECT!  And it can't be PERFECT if I'm not organized... And trust me... this year I FAILED at EVERYTHING!  EVERYTHING!  Never again! I will be PREPARED this year FOR SURE!!!!!!! WAY ahead of time!  

Now,  take a minute to write a few questions in your notebook, then go back and answer them - remember to be HONEST and TRUTHFUL with yourself - there is no right or wrong answers ... just HONESTY! 

1) Do you enjoy the CHRISTMAS season? 
Now remember, we are all here to help.... I'll tell you know - I thought because I had this grand plan 2 years ago that our Christmas was going to be MAGICAL.... all my stress was going to just POOF be gone because I wanted a perfect Christmas.... it wasn't... but I did learn, I was a few steps closer! And this year, the same thing.... It's all about the baby steps!  So, don't give up! 

2) Do you feel that your Christmas is out of control?  Like you spend more time LOOKING for items then spending time with your family? 
This is where your CHRISTMAS ORGANIZATION NOTEBOOK will come in VERY handy!  VERY HANDY! Trust me! You will have a central "location" for all your important information.

3) Do you find that you do not have enough time for the things that you enjoy doing during the Christmas season? 
This is where planning your calendar will come in VERY handy - and even making a ADVENT calendar - I found that if it were in just MY book and no-one saw it - then it was a lot easier to just "let it go" - BUT if it is on a calendar posted where the family sees it, OR in the advent calendar... well, it's a little harder to "DENY" that you have a plan - and if you have a household like mine, they will NOT let you forget your plans!  Granted, things happen and we need to be flexible but like my 9 year old said to me this past season... "Mom, you may as well throw the calendar away because we ALWAYS have something else come up"... That broke my heart!  NOT AGAIN! If someone is sick.... sorry - we'll feed you some chicky-noodle soup, tuck you in and hope you feel better soon, but the rest of us have a plan.... HA HA!  Yeah right! I don't think that will happen exactly like that, but, something will... even if one parent needs to stay home, the rest of the family should move forward.  

4) Do you overspend at Christmas? 
GET ON A BUDGET!  That simple!  It really is!  Take a look at what you spent this past year - if you OVERSPENT - cut it down to make it within your means... If it worked for you... then let it be.... Figure out your budget and divide it up into the number of paydays you have left from this day until your "deadline" date. Then ACT upon that budget!  It doesn't do any good to just make a budget if you don't put it into action! :)  One thing that I tried to do last year was to just purchase gift cards to places that I KNEW I would be purchasing from.  Then I would watch for sales, then use the gift card when needed.  This year I think I will be opening a savings account at a different bank/location from our standard bank and deposit the money each payday... and just let it sit there until it is needed. OH! Make sure you allow for "STOCKING STUFF"... that category KILLS me every year!  AGH!  Those little darn things just ADD up so fast!  So be sure to think of EVERYTHING you may possibly need! 

5) Do you ask your family members to help you with Christmas preparations? 
Or... are you a HOLIDAY HOG PERFECTIONIST? .... I am... and it is HARD! I'm getting better at it. But I found that this year as we were pulling out stuff - I made mental notes of the things that I can ask my family to help with - this year... they are in writing!  They WILL be getting a HOLIDAY PREP list!  YES! So excited I am!

6) Do you buy gifts through the year to find that you can't find them when they are needed? 
I DID!!!! In fact, I just found some the other day!  AGH!  Again, your Christmas Organization book will come in VERY handy for this... and something that I did this year... I purchased large totes (the family THINKS that they are filled with Christmas decorations) but they are really going to have the "pre-purchased" gifts in them! And I labeled them "CHRISTMAS" but coded them as well.... I'm a sneaky mom! (I numbered them 1-8... birth order of children, 6=Mr, 7=other family members, 8=neighbors, teachers) I also log items in my book - and they may be secret codes as well... just in case my book should end up in the wrong hands! LOL! 

So.... what are you waiting for... get your book... 


I'll give you a couple of days then I'll be back with 6 more questions.... 
We're off to a GREAT start don't you think???


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