Thursday, October 04, 2007

Are you organised for Christmas?

There are less than 3 months to Christmas.

When you think about that, what do you feel? Do you feel overwhelmed and just a little bit stressed at everything you have to do? Or do you feel excited at the idea of spending time with friends and family?

My best Christmasses have always been when I’ve been organised, prepared and more importantly, when I didn’t leave everything right up until December :)

Here are a couple of things to consider so that you have an organised Christmas this year:

Your vision for a great Christmas
Decide, together with your family, if you want to celebrate with many spiritual activities, spend time at home with just your immediate family, do lots of baking, etc.

Christmas cards
Will you be sending cards by themselves, or with a family newsletter? Or will you be sending cards at all? Do you have a list of recipients?

Christmas gifts
Will you be giving gifts this year? Are you making any gifts or are you buying them all? Do you have a gift-giving budget? Remember to budget for gift wrap, gift tags and, if necessary, postage to your loved ones who live in a different city. Do you have a system to keep up with the thank-you notes?

Christmas Day
Where will you spend the day – with your parents or his? Or will the family gather at your house? Who will cook the food? Which recipes will you use? Do you know where to find them?

Someone asked me, "how far in advance should you plan?"
Well, that depends on how much stress you can tolerate :)

Personally, I like to have gifts done by the end of October and cards by mid-November. That’s because I really don’t enjoy the stress of having to get the perfect gift with no time to spare. Add to that the crowded malls and you can practically see my blood pressure rising!

I like to start planning at the beginning of October and I set myself mini-goals of compiling my card list first, then planning backwards so I write out a certain number of cards per week until they’re all done by my self-imposed due date.

And I do the same for gifts. I also wrap a few gender-neutral gifts just in case someone pops around with something for me. It’s relaxing for me to prepare a beautifully-wrapped gift with a gift tag because I believe that presentation is part of the gift.

Something I do that has saved me lots of money is I no longer buy Christmas gift wrap. Instead, I buy red and green coloured craft paper and matching ribbon. I can use the paper year-round with a different bow so that it doesn’t look Christmassy for birthday gifts.

This year, get organised for Christmas with the 14-page Christmas Planner so you can welcome the season instead of dreading it. This planner is for the overwhelmed!

What is your plan for getting organised for Christmas? How far in advance do you like to start?


Kin said...

It depends on the year as to when I start Christmas planning. Sometimes it's January, sometimes it's October. This year? It was July. In Australia all the major retailers have Toy Sales in July, where you can lay by toys for Christmas, and they hold them for you for 5 months, giving you 5 months to pay them off, rather than the regular 8 weeks.

So this year I did that. All the kids I could possibly have to buy for are taken care of, and as I checked out last week, I'm way ahead on the repayments.

As for everything else, we are very boring, and have a lunch of cold meat and salads either here or at the in-laws (probably here with my expanding belly and air conditioning) and everyone brings something. Too easy.

All I need to worry about is how to get the presents for my family there, but the in-laws are visiting in November, so I'll send them all then :-)

Christmas is planned! Oh, I don't do cards. I'm far too slack for that. Including this year, of the last 5 years I've been pregnant or recovering from pregnancy for 3 of them, so I've learnt to simplify it.

Marcia said...

Kin, I love the idea of a cold Christmas lunch. Here it is also blazing hot at Christmas time but still South Africans go for a hot meal with all the trimmings...which we all end up eating for the week following :)

i love how you've simplified with your decision on cards too :)

Kin said...

I mean don't get me wrong, we have chicken, turkey and ham, but just pre cooked (or bought cooked) and served cold, with potato salad and assorted other salads and sides. We're also eating for a week afterwards ;) but the cold is definitely appreciated.

I feel bad about the cards, but most people are understanding with 2 (nearly 3) young children at home. I try to send out a "new year letter" with what we did the previous year, and what we're up to the coming year, and I make lots of overseas and interstate phone calls over Christmas :-)

Marcia said...

Ooh, I like the new year letter :)

Ali said...

I am planning on beginning making Christmas cards for the first time in a couple of yrs this weekend. I buy presents from no onwards as soon as I get ideas/hints and especially when things are on special at the shops. I like to have all shopping done by early December as I detest fighting the crowds at the shops!!

Marcia said...

Ali, excellent! And have you noticed how the prices increase by 2nd week in December?! It's daylight robbery :)

Coach J said...

Well, I'm not sure how organized I am, but I do try to do some things early.
I buy paper in January when it goes on sale. And in July, when companies have Christmas in July sale. That way I'm not paying top price for paper in Nov-Dec.
I did the same for Christmas cards this year-and I'm already loving it! I'd never thought to go ahead and write out my cards, but why not? This is as good a time as any. And I do have a card list that I update every year. This year, it will be neat to add all my bloggy friends! :)
I keep a list of people I'm buying for in my purse at all times with ideas or what I've actually purchased for them. It helps me see what I need to do still.
My Christmas "stuff" has it's own place in my closet, so I can pull it out or put it up in no time.
I {heart} Christmas time! :)