The 12 Tips of Christmas

 The 12 Tips of Christmas by Becca Clark

1.  Get in the Holiday Mood   -  If you need to get energized to start wrapping, decorating, and sending out cards, first take out the seasonal music or movies.  The familiar sounds will light you up, and suddenly you're ready to take on the holidays!

2.  Clear Out  -  Edit out the old the make room for the new!  Get rid of toys that children have outgrown, are broken, or which don't interest them anymore.  The same goes for the clothes closet.   If it's no longer used and/or loved sell or donate it.   Take advantage of the year-end tax deductions.

3.  Simplify -  Carry a small notebook around with you.  Write down thoughts and ideas immediately:  things to buy, to do, to call, etc.  This will free you from the nagging doubts and  the 3 AM worries that you forgot something vital!  Refer to the book often.

4.  Gifts  -  When you find something interesting in catalogs, flyers, magazine, or elsewhere tear out the page and put it in your Holiday Planner or a folder labeled "Gift Ideas".  If you're online either send it to Evernote (my fave), or print the page and add to your folder.  Keep the ordering info with it, and attach to your gift list with the name of the possible recipient.  This could be a year-round project that would make the holidays so much easier.  

5.  Receipts - Label a large envelope "Shopping Central", and put your shopping list, shipping info, and all receipts there.  Keep it in you Holiday Planner if you have one. This will make shopping and returns a breeze and help with budgeting next year.

6.  Gift Closet  -  Keep a supply of candles, boxed candy, wine, note cards, or other small items on hand to use as generic host/hostess, teacher, mailperson, etc. gifts.  Or buy poinsettias as soon as they appear in stores and use them to decorate your home until needed as a quick gift.

7.  Wrap it Up  -  Set up a temporary wrapping/mailing station in your home.  The process will be so much easier when you have everything you need in one place (tape, scissors, paper, gift bags, tissue, ribbons, etc.) 

Decorate  -  Take photos of your decorated areas to save time and decision-making next year. Keep them in your #1 box (see below) to guide you next year.

9.   Store - Consider giving decorations you haven't displayed recently to new homes.   Make a list of supplies you'll need for next year like wrapping materials, extension cords, replacement bulbs, etc.   Determine the kind and size of containers you need for safe, optimal storage (there are specialty boxes for light strings, trees, wreaths, etc.).  These containers can be scarce after Christmas, so stock up on any sales you find before then. 

10.  More Store  -  Store decorations by groupings: for example tree trimmings, mantle decor, etc., rather than scattering them throughout the storage boxes.  Label each container, and consider numbering them by priority.  "Box 1"  would contain things you want to unpack and use first, such as decorating photos, holiday cards, and special recipes.  Plan to store away other things that you only use during the holidays -  like serving platters and holiday dishes that are taking up valuable real estate in your kitchen.

11.  Guests  -  If you expect overnight guests try out the room by spending a night there yourself.  Pretend you're a hotel guest and review it with an outsider's eyes.  Is the bed and the room comfortable?   What items would you want - clock, nice hangers and hanging space, tissues, extra blanket?  Bring out those travel-size products to replace anything your guests might have forgotten. This is a great time to de-clutter the room too.  Remove the excess stuff that inevitably finds its way into seldom used rooms

12.  Plan for Next Year  -  The day after your celebrations, make next year's "to do" list while everything is still fresh in your mind.  Keep a list of things that were truly enjoyed, recipes that were a big hit, activities to skip (yes - it could be time to edit out traditions that no longer serve you), and tips for making next year even more special and fun!    

Thanks Becca!

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