Day 18 – Organized Christmas: Prep Your Kitchen

This is Day 18 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

  • Read Project 14: Prep Your Kitchen (pages 83-87) in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.
  • Check in with your Organized Christmas buddy.
  • You may need to schedule a day for this if today is not a good day.
    • Clean out refrigerators and cupboards. Take note of what you need or don’t need for holiday baking and cooking
    • Schedule a day closer to when guests will arrive to do a good cleaning of the stovetop and countertops.
    • Find your serving dishes, if you have any.
    • Make a meal plan for the month. Refer back to the Calendar and Recipes.

Some Thoughts:

I do know some Martha Stewart types, but if you’re like most humans 😉 , it will probably be a better idea to let guests contribute to the holiday meal(s). I know I enjoy the surprise of seeing what everyone brings to the potluck. This project is crucial for a comfy gathering since most people like to hang out in the kitchen or wherever the food will be!

There are lots of fantastic tips are in the book, but this tip is a really great one!

I ask each family member this one simple question: What is the one dish that you must have for Christmas? – Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

You don’t have to know how to make it all…just find out what one thing each person loves. When it comes time to gather all the ingredients, you will know what you have or need, and when it is all cooked/baked, there is space to set it out! 🙂

How did you feel after clearing out and cleaning out some of your kitchen space to be made ready for the holidays? What tips do you have?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 17 – Organized Christmas: Decor Day

This is Day 17 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

  • Read Project 13: Decor Day (pages 77-80) in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.
  • Check in with your Organized Christmas buddy.
  • Depending on when you do this project, you have a few options. 🙂
    • Locate your Christmas decorations.
    • Gather your Christmas decorations.
    • Schedule when you will put up your Christmas decorations.
    • Take out your Christmas decorations.

Some Thoughts:

For this project, here are some printables from Life Your Way that are useful:

We are a put-up-your-tree-after-Thanksgiving people, so that is what you will find us doing the weekend after we enjoy a meal with family and/or friends. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago when we started to put up Christmas decorations. Little ones (ours or our friends’) and holiday decor do not mix. We kept it simple with a few things on our kitchen island and a garland or two. But for the past few years we have bought a few things here and there during Black Friday and After Christmas sales. We spend one day doing the interior decorations and another day doing the exterior lights. We invite our family over, crank up the holiday tunes, and go, go, go!

The girls’ favorite part is hanging up the ornaments since we buy one from each place we visit on our vacation each year. There are some they have made through the years as well. Lots of great memories!

One year, this is all we had were the Christmas cards we received, and then we added some books to the mix another year.

Crafts and such make good decorations as well:

We had a “Dollar Tree Christmas“:

Then we added solar lights and decor.

A wreath from Dayspring:

We got an artificial tree – it can switch to white lights or multi-color lights…and the lights do not need to be strung on the tree!


When we didn’t have a tree, we helped others decorate their tree.

When we didn’t have decorations, we enjoyed (and we still do!!) seeing other people’s decorations!

Decorations at churches are amazing too!

Soooo…all this to show and tell you that there isn’t just one way to “do” Christmas. We are more than halfway through these projects, and I’ve been learning Christmas isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Revisit your holiday mission statement if you need to, and make it work for you and your family. 🙂

Do you feel a time crunch every Christmas? If so, I strongly recommend that you not only make some accommodations this year, but take a hard look at your own expectations for the holiday season. – Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

Are you more of an interior or exterior decorator when it comes to Christmas decorations?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 16 – Organized Christmas: Catch Up on Your Project

This is Day 16 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

Some Thoughts:

If there’s something you haven’t finished, or you need to go back to and complete, take today to do that project.

What project did you not have time to complete? What is your motivation to keep going after this halfway mark?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 15 – Organized Christmas: Get Your Recipes Together

This is Day 15 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

  • Read Project 11: Get Your Recipes Together (pages 72-74) in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.
  • Check in with your Organized Christmas buddy.
  • Gather your holiday recipes together!

Some Thoughts:

For this project, here are some printables from Life Your Way that is useful:

IMG_8906(Melody getting ready to make baked fudge circa 2010)

I love this idea of having the holiday recipes with all of the holiday stuff! Growing up, we didn’t do the typical foods for the holidays, because we just didn’t know anything other than Chinese food. And I’m not even sure when we started making the “traditional” Thanksgiving and Christmas and wintery foods, but they are so yummy and fun, right? 🙂

We don’t have a whole slew of recipes, but there are a few recipes that we make every single year, but just once a year during the holidays. So now it makes complete sense to have these recipes stored in the holiday binder because it is the only time I will cook or bake that dish!

I’m still in the midst of gathering my recipes, but cookies sure are popular around here.

Here are some Thanksgiving menus from the past in case you are in Thanksgiving planning mode:

No one gets the prize for collecting the most recipes they will never use. Trim your binder down to only the recipes you use and love. – Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

Do you have some favorite holiday recipes? What are the traditional foods at your Christmas table?

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 14 – Organized Christmas: Gather Your Elf Supplies

This is Day 14 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

  • Read Project 10: Gather Your Elf Supplies (pages 69-71) in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.
  • Check in with your Organized Christmas buddy.
  • Figure out what you already have (gather it in one place) and what you really need to buy.

Some Thoughts:

For this project, here are some printables that are useful:

DSC_0198(Emily with the elves circa 2010)

I love Kathi’s reminder that being prepared will save us time, money, and stress. Doing a little each day will go a long way.

We don’t have anything that is Pin-worthy, but what we have has served us well in the last 10 years of marriage. I think the year that we got married, we ordered some gift-wrapping paper and other items from a fundraiser of a cousin’s kiddo. We have been keeping all the things in the box since then. And if gift bags are reusable after we received a gift, it is reused. We used bags from bridal shower, wedding, baby shower, and birthday gifts for a long time! I also scored on some free baby shower gift bags in the swap/sell group I run. With all the items in one place, I can see what I have and what I need for the holidays.
12079631_10153707479036155_1327790155012003432_n12112246_10153707477686155_1907699933373657126_n
It is all kept in the bottom of our linen closet. Our house does not have a lot of closet space so we do what we can with what we have.
12107251_10153707480146155_8903039290422661430_n

  • If you are tired of using the same old wrapping paper year after year, maybe you can find some friends to swap a roll or two with. Of course, the amount may not be even, but at least your brother won’t be receiving a gift with the same wrapping paper like the past three years. :p This could also work with holiday cards if you don’t do photo cards.
  • Wrapping gifts not your thing? Swap holiday tasks with a friend…maybe she doesn’t like addressing envelopes? I don’t go to the stores enough to know, but when I was in high school, our service club wrapped gifts for a donation. That may be an option.

Get all this stuff in one place so that when you have to go into elf mode, you’re not running all over the house. – Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

Wrapping gifts – love it or hate it? 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 13 – Organized Christmas: Gifts for Out-of-Town Friends and Family

This is Day 13 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

  • Read Project 9: Gifts for Out-of-Town Friends and Family (pages 65-71) in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.
  • Check in with your Organized Christmas buddy.
  • Add mailing dates to your calendar.

Some Thoughts:

For this project, you may refer back to the Gift List you made in the earlier project. And then think who you need to ship or mail gifts to. I’m not super familiar with shipping gifts, so you definitely need to refer to the book for this one!

Think about what you are going to get for whom and by what day you need to have it in the mail. – Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

You will also need to refer back to the Calendar you printed out in another earlier project. Make sure things get to the right person in the right place at the right time.

 

2012-04-30_11-03-56_859

There are so many options for mailing out gifts nowadays. What are some of your best tips for sending packages during the holidays?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 12 – Organized Christmas: Catch-Up Day

This is Day 12 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

Some Thoughts:

Something I am learning this year is that having some margin in my life for rest actually helps me to be happier and more productive. Go figure! :p I am thankful for a catch-up day, and if I had been “on it” each day, I would have been even more thankful for some rest, but today I am thankful to not have a new project. 🙂

 

How do you create margin for rest in the midst of busy? How do you slow down? 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 11 – Organized Christmas: What’s Your Budget?

This is Day 11 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

  • Read Project 7: What’s Your Budget? (pages 56-60) in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.
  • Check in with your Organized Christmas buddy.
  • Save a date on the calendar to plan your budget. A little here and there can add up to a lot. Prepare now so you don’t start the new year in debt. o_o

Some Thoughts:

For this project, here are some printables that are useful:

GYCO-Budget

There are so many fun things to do and foods to eat and people to see and places to go (you get the idea) during the holidays, but all of that probably takes a little money, whether it is buying something or having transportation to get to a destination. Since we came up with a holiday mission statement and a list of activities we want to be involved in this holiday season, we can go back and look at that to help determine how much is really practical for us to spend this holiday season.

Here are a few budget items:

  • Food
  • Gifts
  • Donations
  • Decorations
  • Cards

Food and donations are definitely big items on our list, so we need to make sure we know our limits. Gifts, not so much. We’ve been buying things here and there each year during Black Friday, so I don’t think we need to buy anything this year. Yay! And for cards we do use a lot of coupon codes, but there are always shipping fees to deal with. If anyone has recommendations for quality photo cards at the stores, let us know. Wrapping paper last forever around here, and I think we have a few rolls from the Target Dollar Spot.

If we’re making a magical Christmas with late nights and overdrawn accounts, the magic only lasts so long. – Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

What tips do you have for being money-wise during the holidays?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 10 – Organized Christmas: Get Your Gift List Together

This is Day 10 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

  • Read Project 6: Get Your Gift List Together (pages 48-55) in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.
  • Check in with your Organized Christmas buddy.
  • This one is all about the lists (see printables below), so keep them handy especially if you are tempted to buy all the things when you hit those sales. Track who you are buying gifts for (there are some great tips in the book!) and we’ll talk budget in the next project.

Some Thoughts:

For this project, here are some printables that are useful:

If you know me by now, I do not like shopping. I don’t even do our grocery shopping. Shopping might be more enjoyable if I had money to shop, or can find clothes that fit, or if there weren’t so many choices, or if there were fewer people at checkout…so many things… I have issues. There must be some kind of support group for people like me. :p

So…you can imagine that Gifts (both giving and receiving) is NOT my love language. It takes me a whole lot of brain power to muster up gift ideas. Unless I know what you really, really want, you will most likely get cash/gift cards. We also so lots of donations to charity as gifts. We usually just do gifts for our own families.

Some other great resources for gift-giving:

IMG_1495

Some of my best gift ideas came from things my family posted on social media. – Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

Who do you buy gifts for? What strategies do you use to find out what to buy family or friends? 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Day 9 – Organized Christmas: Schedule Your Time for the Holidays

This is Day 9 of our 31 Days To An Organized Christmas. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

Assignments:

  • Read Project 5: Schedule Your Time for the Holidays (pages 44-47) in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.
  • Check in with your Organized Christmas buddy.
  • Schedule in “set” activities.
  • Go back to some of your initial thoughts on the Christmas season and you pictured as the perfect Christmas…not someone else’s perfect Christmas, but yours.
  • Decide on what activities you will do this year…what are the favorite holiday activities this year…not last year…not for future years…just this year.

Some Thoughts:

For this project, here are some printables that are useful:

For this year, we decided some of our favorites we will be doing are:

  • Putting up Christmas decorations
  • Visiting with family at gatherings
  • Baking cookies
  • Reading the Christmas story*
  • Sending Christmas cards
  • Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes
  • Going to look at Christmas lights
  • Open presents with the kids
  • Reading holiday books
  • Watching holiday movies

*Love Comes Near is the Advent study we are doing this year. You can get a PDF download HERE or get the paperback or Kindle version HERE.

DSC_0270

IMG_9543 IMG_1505 DSC_0977 DSC_0609 DSC_0437

20131112_091513 20131112_195126 IMG_0143 IMG_2002 IMG_2753

 

It’s so easy to have great ideas and let them all slip through your fingers because of the craziness of the season. So along with all the chores of the season, let’s schedule in some fun! – Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions or activities? 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.