I realised last year that for all it’s magic, Christmas in its modern form was beginning to bring me down. I wanted an organised Christmas, but I wanted it to be simple too. This time last year I shared my post “A Simple Christmas”, where I shared ten tips to simplify your festive season.
For my more organised Christmas this year, I am continuing the theme. I want to be more intentional about how I spend my energies, money and time. I want to capture the true feeling of the festive season – family, friendship, and a little bit of magic – without the frenzied shopping, the stress or the endless to-do lists. So for the last six weeks of 2017 I will be writing a weekly blog post to guide you through the festive season and into 2018.
Week One: 20th – 26th November
Some thoughts for this week:
Traditions: Have you discussed Christmas with those you’ll be spending it with this year? If not, now is the time to talk about what kind of Christmas everyone wants. Find out what really matters to each person, and talk together about what you can, and can’t, do this year. There is no point stressing over long lists of new traditions, when really all anyone wants is a cosy Christmas dinner and to be together. So say goodbye to Elf on the Shelf, and hello to board games by the fire!
Presents: As part of your organised Christmas planning, set expectations for gift-giving. Maybe now is the time to stop gifts for adults in the extended family, and concentrate on the little ones instead? Perhaps you could agree to a budget limit. Or perhaps, like me, you are tired of the all the Christmas aisles in the shops already, full of gift sets and gimmicks to fulfill the need to just give something, anything, on the big day.
If you really can’t think of a meaningful gift for a loved one, consider foregoing the gift-f0r-the-sake-of-it trap, and opt for something more personal instead. A homemade voucher for a treat in the new year will give you and the recipient some much-needed quality time together, and something to look forward to. Think cinema tickets, an afternoon tea, or a pub lunch followed by a walk in the countryside.
Important dates this week:
Friday 24 November: Black Friday America’s traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy has become a part of our UK culture too. Even some smaller, local businesses have jumped onto the bandwagon (and who would blame them?). Love it or hate it, there is very little you can do to escape it. “Early Black Friday” emails have been spilling into my email box for a couple of weeks now. If you want to take advantage of the savings offered, grab your Christmas gift list and buy only what you need. Or use Black Friday and Cyber Monday as an opportunity to unsubscribe from all those marketing email lists. Everyone will be emailing you this week, trying to entice you to buy buy buy! So use that flood of emails to remind you whose lists you are on – and unsubscribe!
Sunday 26 November: Stir Up Sunday This Sunday is the traditional day to make your Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. Early this week, dig out your recipes and check which ingredients you need to buy. I like to get my little boy involved in writing the shopping list and checking all the ingredients before we start baking. And don’t forget to give everyone in the family a stir of the pudding – and make a wish!
To-do this week:
- Check you diary: However you are going to be spending Christmas, it is likely that the next six weeks are going to be busier than usual. Make sure you don’t overschedule yourself, and block out some days for rest and relaxation. Book babysitters, taxis and any other help you need over the festive season before things get booked up.
- Guest room: If you are having visitors over Christmas, check that your guest room is ready for them. If you need some help, More Organised has a few spaces available to get your home guest-ready!
- Gift list: Write your gift list and set a budget. It’s easy to get carried away, but your loved ones don’t want you to be in debt come January. Remember to make a note of the date you will be exchanging gifts with each person (or posting). That way, you’ll know when you need to shop for them by.
- Christmas cards: The first deadline for international postage is next week (02 December). If you haven’t bought your Christmas cards yet, do it now! Many charities rely on Christmas card sales for a significant part of their income, so consider supporting your favourite charity in this way. I like the ThisIsNessie cards that support Alzheimer’s Research UK (they can be personalised too!) – use the code ORGANISE20 at the checkout to get 20% off your whole order at ThisIsNessie.*
- Gift wrap: Now is the time to buy gift wrap, so you can wrap your presents as you buy them. There are so many beautiful “wrapping stations” and gift wrap storage solutions on social media and Pinterest. But I find that choosing one “signature wrapping paper” keeps things simple. Choose a wrapping paper design that you love, take advantage of any bulk buy discounts, and you’re done!
So there you have it! Some thoughts, key dates and a short to-do list for this week. I’d love to hear how you are keeping Christmas simple this year, and any tips you’d like to share!
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