Monday, December 27, 2010

Now What?

Christmas 2010 is in the books. The gifts have all been unwrapped, the dinner served, the surprises discovered. For someone like me it is a combination of sweet relief and a sad realization that time moves incredibly fast. As prepared as I am working around the calendar to make Christmas for my family fun and memorable, I, too, feel we didn't get to "do it all". There were movies we didn't get to watch together, games we ran out of time to play, and a few things I forgot to put in the stocking, but overall I know the effect was magical and brilliant! So where do I (and you) go from here? I will offer some more holiday tips and concentrate on the next festive event which takes place at week's end. I am also working on a slew of entirely new topics (not holiday related) to share with you all. Still, each month there will be one or two blogs to keep you on a sane timeline to make the next Christmas all the more manageable, reasonable, and special.
For those of you who tried my suggestion of starting a gift journal and those of you who thought it was a great idea but didn't start one, I highly recommend you keep it out/get one and start a new entry - "Gifts for 2011". Even if you feel you are tapped out financially, try to find a few extra dollars earmarked for shopping in the next few days. The deals are incredible the week after Christmas, especially on Christmas items - wrapping paper/bows/gift tages, decorations, napkins, tins, and pre-wrapped gifts. This is the time to stock up on these items that make great gifts for the next year. There is no need to ever pay full retail for these gifts! You'll find that putting some money out now saves you a ton when next Christmas rolls around. You'll have a stockpile of great holiday gifts and they will all be long paid for by next December. Of course, that's the key. It is not a good idea to put yourself in debt to "save money". If you can't pay for these items with cash or on credit by the end of the first month, don't shop. If you can set aside the money and pay the amount off promptly accruing no debt, then it makes all the sense in the world to shop now. Take some times, hit the stores, pick up items at 50%, 60%, 75% or up to 90% off retail prices. Make sure the items are things you either want or need or would be ideal gifts for specific people in mind, be they family members you exchange gifts, friends, or people like your children's teacher next year, your babysitter, your postal delivery person, etc. Buying Christmas candles, ornaments, linens, and the like at these discounted prices, as well as useful gifts that are pre-packaged and novel, supplement your gift coffers come 2011. Stores such as Wal*Mart, Target, KMart, Hallmark, florists, Nurseries/Garden stores, and nearly every other store will offer deep discounts on these types of merchandise to move it out in preparation for new inventory arriving any day. Take advantage! Even high end stores, department stores, and boutiques will have sales of some sort. After Christmas shopping is the most rewarding for making your dollars go the furtherest!
Next, make sure you document your purchases as next December is a long way off. And, besides, some of these gifts may make great birthday or anniversary gifts, so write down what you bought, for who you think the item would be perfect and what occasion, and then store it in a safe place (i.e. a Rubber Maid plastic box, a drawer, or a shelf in a closet designated for gifts).  I am fortunate to have a large basement, several large plastic boxes, and space to store a large quantity of gifts throughout the year. You'll have to decide how much you are able to stow comfortably.
Keep your gift journal with you throughout this month and every month of the year. It is a handy reference to check when you find a unique item, a cool sale item, etc. and want to pinpoint who it would be great for and who you need a gift for as well.
My last piece of advice for the days directly after Christmas are to sit down, watch a movie, sleep on the couch, play in the snow, drink hot chocolate with marshmallows, and enjoy the family around you. All too soon normalcy will reign and you'll wonder why you didn't take advantage of the slower pace. I hope you all enjoyed a peaceful, fun-filled, and happy Christmas.
My daughter and me on Christmas Eve

Join me tomorrow and each day this week as we prepare to say good bye to 2010 and we welcome 2011 enthusiastically!


  1. Don't forget to put a piece of candy cane in that hot chocolate! ;)

  2. Looking forward to spending the next 360 days planning for the next one :-)

  3. Jules, great suggestion!!!
    Art, I'm honored, tickled, and so pleased you want to be with me to do that! You meant with ME, right?! ;-)

  4. I'm taking a nap. Two days of cooking, relatives and eating wore me out. I'll sleep through New years. =)