12 Tips of Christmas
are a dozen ideas to help you minimize the work and maximize the
pleasure of the season. Thoughtfully choose the activities that will be
meaningful for you and your loved ones this year, and streamline or
discard the rest.
1. GET IN THE HOLIDAY MOOD
If you need to set the holiday mood to start wrapping gifts and
writing out cards, take out the seasonal MUSIC or MOVIES and pop
one in. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’re ready to tackle the
2. CLEAR OUT
out the old to make room for the new! Get rid of toys that your
children have outgrown, are broken or no longer of interest to them. The
same goes for the clothing closets. If you haven't worn it in the last 2
years, sell it or donate it. Take advantage of the year-end tax
Carry a small NOTEBOOK in your purse. Write down your thoughts
immediately: things to buy, things to do, etc. This will free you from
those nagging doubts and fear of forgetting something vital. Refer
to it often.
you come across an idea in CATALOGS, sales flyers, or elsewhere tear
the page out and place the idea in a folder titled "gift ideas. If
online make a note of the URL, or print the page and add to the file.
Keep the ordering information and clip or staple them together with the
name of the potential recipient. This could be a year round project
making holidays that much easier.See below for my ideas for Clutter-Free Giving.
Get a large white envelope and label it Shopping Central
. Put your shopping list there and keep ALL receipts in this envelope. This will make shopping and any returns a breeze.
6. HOSTESS GIFTS
a supply of candles, boxed candy, wine or other small gifts on hand to
use as GENERIC hostess gifts, teacher gifts, mailman gifts, etc. Or buy
lots of poinsettias as soon as they appear in the stores, then use them
to decorate your house and give them away as needed.
7. WRAP IT UP
you must wrap, remember the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reduce
waste by wrapping gifts within gifts. Reuse paper, bags, or other
containers. Recycle by choosing wrapping materials that won’t end up in a
Take SNAPSHOTS of your decorating arrangements to save time and
decision making next year. Order double prints. Keep one set with
your Christmas decorations to serve as instructions. Put the other
set in your safety deposit box with your household inventory for
Consider giving decorations you haven’t displayed in years to new
homes. Make a list of supplies you’ll NEED for next year, such as
wrapping materials, cards, extension cords, and replacement light
bulbs. Determine how many and what size containers you’ll need for
storage. With this list, take advantage of
after-Christmas SALES. Stick to your list, being careful not to collect
more clutter just because it’s on sale.
10. MORE STORE
away sorted decorations according to GROUPINGS. For example, keep all
your tree trimmings together rather than scattering them throughout your
storage boxes. Be sure to label each container according to its
contents. Consider numbering your boxes according to decorating
priority. “Box 1”
would contain those items that you consider essential and would want to
unpack first, such as decorating photos (see #9), holiday music, and
special recipes. Take this opportunity to store other items that you
ONLY use during the holidays, particularly those that take up valuable
kitchen cupboard space like serving platters.
If you expect overnight house guests try out the room by spending a night there first. Pretend you are a hotel guest and look at it with outsider’s eyes. Is the bed and room comfortable? What items would you want – clock, nice hangers, tissues, extra blanket? Does the room need to be CLEANED? This is a great time to get the room de-cluttered - throw out and donate some of the items that have inevitably found their way in.
12. NEXT YEAR
The day AFTER Christmas, make next year's "to do" list so that
you won't have to work so hard again! Shop year round for gifts,
decorations, and cards for those you love. Keep a running list of things
you enjoyed, recipes that were a hit, activities to skip, and tips
for making things easier on you and your household.