Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Holiday Hints

Once again it’s time to offer some holiday hints and help on Freestyle Wednesday on Chief 187™Chatter.

Holidays should be a time to put your best efforts forward yet at the same time try to relax and enjoy the season, the family, and the change of pace. All too often franticness gets in the way of peacefulness. Define your holiday season the way you want to and don’t forget to be flexible but firm with your vision.

No matter what the task at hand, I find organizing helps me stay focused and succeed. I like to think of myself as an organized person, but that may actually be far from the truth. Regardless, when it comes to the holidays I revel in the way my ideas, plans, and stuff are all organized in “my way”.

First, as I shop yearlong for Christmas gifts, I needed places to store the stock and a system for recording all I’d bought.

My claim to fame in this realm is the Gift Journal. I dedicate a bound decorative notebook to the task of recording all of the purchases I make in the gift department. I may not even know who I bought a gift for, but I record it in the Gift Journal nonetheless. Later, as the gift-giving date nears, I use pages in the journal to organize the people I will be gifting. I then reread the journal purchases and place the item under the name of the person I bought for to visualize how much I have for each. It is a life saver for me and comes in handy in subsequent years to know what I have bought or gifted to whom in the past.

I am blessed with ample space to hide and stash gifts. I use big plastic organizer bins to tuck away my finds until I can wrap them and place them under the tree. If you can do that and keep the boxes in a basement or attic, under the bed or in a closet that is great. Some people even hide their gifts in suitcases! If space is limited and you have a bona fide snoop, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to stash your stuff and offer to return the favor. That way, if the snooper finds stuff – it’s not theirs!

It’s truly not too early to shop and take advantage of sales, clearance items, and the hot toy that is available now in abundance (not so once Black Friday arrives). By spending a little every week (and for those like me, throughout the year) the bills are spread out and not so overwhelming come January.

Less is more. One great gift far outweighs 5 dinky ones. Family gifts are great, too. Buy a game, a trampoline, or a bunch of movie passes in lieu of four person-specific gifts. It will probably cost less and offer a bigger wow factor for the family.

And, since organizing is the buzzword of the week, start looking at the holiday recipes you want to have with your family. Ingredients for many things are on sale already – sugar, flour, stuffing mix, fried onions for the ubiquitous green bean casserole. If they are non-perishable items, buy them now on sale and store them for the holidays. If you need them for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, then buy what you need while the sale is on and cross the items off your list. A bit of planning now saves time and money later. It’s worth your time investment.

Lastly I would like to point out that planning for the main gift-giving holiday – Christmas or Chanukah – is important but should not overshadow the holidays en route to them.

Halloween is a delightful holiday in its own right that is ideal for young and old alike. Decorating, baking, and dressing up is fun and harkens back to one’s own childhood. Don’t sidestep it on your way to holiday happenings.

Thanksgiving – a favorite of long-time Chief 187™Chatter reader Jules – is another holiday worthy of your time and affection. A truly American observance, the day is all about gratitude. There is no gift-giving attached to it, just a lovely food spread, family and friends gathered, and, for most, football! It is a celebration of a thankful heart. Now that is something to celebrate!

Wishing you well as you begin the process of gearing up for the holidays. If you have tips to share, please feel free to leave them in comments. As all things are at Chief 187™Chatter, this is an interactive forum and a resource for all to share.

Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Everyone is starting so early! I just saw a Facebook post the other day by along similar lines:

    "There are 74 days, 12 hours, and 46 minutes left until Christmas! I'm offering 10% OFF the total order when you book me for holiday card envelope addressing - perfect especially if you are having cards made from those fabulous photo sessions you're scheduling right about now! ;) Save yourself hours of time on this and *wow* your friends and family. Be sure to contact me for details."