Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's The Christmas Countdown

I'm late. CEO of Organized Christmas has yet another countdown. "Christmas Countdown" started Sunday.  It's six weeks of pure fun.   To learn more click here.  For the past two months I have been following the Holiday Grand Plan which focuses more on house cleaning before the holidays.  Well my place is as ready as it's going to be.With Christmas Countdown, I forget about house cleaning (Well not really) and focus more on holiday prepping.

This week we Get Organized. If you haven't done so already it's time to make lists, think about holiday meals, schedule professional cleaning (if needed), and schedule family photos. It's also a week to think about Christmases past. What worked?  What didn't? Any changes you'd like to make for this year?

Have a holiday planner? If not, this is the time to get one started. CEO has created lots of forms that you can print and add to your planner. Need to decide on what the family is wearing for the photos for the Christmas cards, this wardrobe planner should come in handy.  Having a potluck dinner?  Use this form to keep track of what each person will be bringing.

I've been doing the countdown since 2006 (The year I found Organized Christmas) and let me tell you it has really helped me enjoy my holidays more.

Here's what my planner looks like. It's a three ring notebook with a clearview front.  I just inserted a piece of scrapbook paper for the background. Then printed and inserted the cover on top. The cover is the work of Ms. Melinda.  There are some ladies at MHH whose notebooks are much more creative than mine. I tell you, these ladies are talented. I just have a simple book cover. Heehee.

My notebook is divided into 10 sections:
  1. Activities.  Here is where I keep my calendars and the Christmas Countdown checklists.
  2. House Cleaning. In this section I have the Holiday Grand Plan or Houseworks Holiday Plan
  3. Crafts. In this section I keep a list of homemade gifts and decorations as well as ideas for future projects.
  4. Autumn. All about Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving
  5. Decorate. Decorating ideas, room by room planning, decor inventory.
  6. Gifts. Gift list, budget, shopping list,Gift closet inventory, stocking stuffer and gift basket ideas
  7. Foods/Recipes. Holiday menus, grocery lists, dessert recipes, pantry/freezer inventory
  8. Entertainment. Holiday party planning, holiday movie/music/book collection.
  9. Addresses. Names and addresses of folks I send Christmas cards to. Tracker form of cards sent/received.
  10. Debriefing. Summary of the holiday experience as well as making a few new year's resolutions.
I keep a sheet protector in the back of the book to hold receipts. Some members at MHH use large envelopes. It's really up to you. I also keep blank lined paper for writing notes and reminders and keep the previous years forms for comparising and for guidence for the next year.

Get Organized week is pretty much done.  Being a big Christmas fanatic, I spend time here and there throughout the year planning. 
  • All my lists are done (gift list, holiday menu, shopping list, address list, etc.).
  • No travel plans for me. I like to stay home during the holidays. Luckily for me the majority of my family live here in Maryland. 
  • No overnight guests visiting this year.
  • I have a steam cleaner my step-dad bought me a few Christmases ago so I clean my own carpet twice a year.  I plan to spot clean the main traffic areas such as the hallyway and the livingroom. I also clean my livingroom furniture twice a year. The furniture is in great shape and doesn't need cleaning right now.
  • No photo sessions to plan either.
Be sure to check out the weekly readings CEO has posted as part of the countdown. They are very inspirational and give great tips and advice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finds at Dollar Tree

Well I did it. I did what I said I wasn't going to do - buy more Christmas decorations. 

I couldn't help it. I went to Dollar Tree to buy a few aluminum pans. As soon as I stepped through the door, Christmas stuff was everywhere.  I was immediately drawn over to see what they had. I saw the most pretty purple ornaments. I mean they were georgeous. 

In my defense, I really needed these ornaments. This year's tree in my office will be a bird theme.  I already have red birds that I bought from $ Tree last year (or the year before). I wanted to add more ornaments to the tree and when I saw them I just couldn't pass them up.

I bought two of each shape (star, heart, wreath, sock).  They will look lovely on my tree.

These are the birds I will be using.

I wonder if that will be enough? Maybe I'll buy two more of each.  Also on the tree will be berry garland and regular glass ornaments. It would be cool if I had ornaments with birds painted on them. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 7 of Holiday Prep - Nothing Really Going On.

I don't know what to do with myself. I am at a standstill. Other than shopping for the remainder of the gifts, the rest of the holiday prep cannot be done until December (or at least Thanksgiving Weekend).

So at home I sit, twitteling (sp?) my thumbs, trying to think of what I can do.  All my craft projects are completed (There weren't that many to begin with). Lists are done, menus planned, apartment is cleaned (with the exception of the guest room), parties and other events are penciled-in. There's nothing left to do right now. 

Many of my friends at MHH are getting ready for Halloween. They are planning costumes for family members, going over decorations, foods and activities for their parties.  My best friend and her husband always plan and have the best Halloween parties.  I offered to help but they refused. They just want me to focus on Christmas.  The only thing I had to focus on was a costume. I ended up buying a pirate costume instead of a midevil costume - was cheaper.  Boy I tell you, buying a costume is very expensive.  I am definately making my costume next year.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week Six Holiday Prep - Stocking Stuffers

Well I finally purchased everything for my 10 year old niece's advent calendar.

  • lip gloss

  • bangle bracelets

  • hair bands

  • designer leggings (tights)

  • leg warmers

  • fun socks

  • nail polish

  • fun writing pens/pencils

  • candy

  • mini digital photo viewer keychain

  • bubble bath

  • jewelry

  • note pads

  • fun stickers

  • watch

  • gift certificate to Friendly's

  • hand lotions

  • lip balm

  • perfume

  • ear muffs

  • mittens

  • change purse

  • $10

I'll give the gifts to her mom Thanksgiving weekend so that she will have them by December 1st. They need to be wrapped though. Will have to get started on that.