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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christmas in July Part 5

What is your idea of an ideal Christmas? Ask fifty different people and without a doubt you'll get fifty different answers. We each have our very own collection of memories, of impressions........of sights and sounds that bring a smile to our lips and a warmth in our hearts.
So why have someone else's Christmas? The great advantage of a little advance planning is that you have the luxury of time! You have time to really consider what you want and what your family wants. You won't wind up doing things you don't really enjoy, things that mean little to you just because you're so rushed you just do whatever it takes to get through the season!
Not a Good Thing!
Now when I say advance planning I don't mean you to have to spend long hours planning details..........for one thing it's impossible in many cases to know exactly how the holidays are going to shape up five months in the future. There are so many variables, including other individuals outside your immediate family who will have their own plans. The idea is to begin to think of the things that are in your control. Do a little dreaming. Begin to think about the things that make Christmas special to you. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? What activities would you miss if you didn't do them? Be sure to ask those that live in your household what they enjoy most about Christmas. Write it all down.
Then slowly and surely, over the next few months, begin to work on those priority items. Right now Christmas seems so far away! If we're honest though we know that 152 days (as of this posting) is not a very long time. I think we sometimes forget that when the holidays come along they are "in addition to" everything else that goes on in our lives! I know I've been guilty at times of thinking that somehow, magically, extra hours are going to be given to me in November and December! Doesn't happen, does it? So now is the logical time to start snatching pieces of time here and there so that you can have the holidays that you want.
Planning Tips

*Start off by visiting a few Christmas sites on the web just to get yourself in the mood. A favorite of mine is http://www.organizedchristmas.com/ You're gonna love this one!

*If you're not familiar with Flylady you need to check out her site http://flylady.org/pages/site_index.asp. There you'll have year round access to her Holiday Cooking and Decorating Plan .....and closer to the holidays themselves she posts daily videos about getting ready for Christmas.

*Another fun little site is http://www.xmascookies.blogspot.com/

*http://www.christmasorganizing.com/ has activities going on all year and for a year round Christmas Store try Bronner's Christmas Wonderland at http://www.bronners.com/

*Another way to get in the mood for planning is to listen to some Christmas tunes......either get out your CDs or tune in to one of the internet radio sites.....right now I'm listening to http://www.pandora.com/ . You can type in the name of a Christmas song you want to hear and it will automtically make up a radio list with similar songs and play them for you........and it's free!

*You get the idea.......just have a little fun surfing around......there's no telling what you'll find and the kind of ideas it will spark in you!

*I highly recommend that you put together some sort of Christmas Notebook where you keep all your Holiday plans organized. At the first site I mentioned , Organized Christmas, there are dozens of free printables to get you started. Whether you use theirs, find others on the Web, or make up your own......just be sure to devise some type of book to keep all your thoughts and plans in. It makes a huge difference!

*Peruse through any holiday books that you might own. When I'm in plannng mode this time of year I usually keep one or two Christmas books stacked on my nightstand so I can look through them before I fall asleep. Jot down any ideas and recipes that you might want to try. You may run across gift ideas.....start making some preliminery lists. Remember it almost always takes longer than you think to make that special gift you've been planning. Try to make some concrete decisions on anything that is going to be complicated or time consuming. Even if you don't do homemade gifts it's always better to order or purchase special gifts ahead of time.

*If you don't own any holiday books you can always check some out at the library or purchase new or used at Amazon. Thrift stores almost always have a few holiday books around. I just enjoy having my own little collection around to look at whenever I like. :)

*Finally, just enjoy yourself. Even if you're not a natural planner, even if you think you really dislike planning ahead, even if you think it's way too early to think about it.........do just a little. Whatever you do now will pay big dividends in just a few short months! You'll be so glad you did. :)

12 comments:

Ginny said...

Elaine I never quite thought about it like that. If we don't take charge of our own plans then we'll probably have to go by someone else's plans. Or have someone else's Christmas! Love it.

GypsyFox said...

HI! thanks for stopping by my blog! I love your ideas & tips & the fact tht you do this every year, so cool! xoxo

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great thoughts Elaine. You should write a book! I remember years ago when my kids were little. Christmas was a rat-race for me/us. We spent WAY too much money--and it was a stressful time rather than a time to celebrate Jesus' birth. SO---we took a class on simplifying our Christmas --and it worked. Now I LOVE Christmas... But--it took me too many years to learn what was really important.

Hugs
Betsy

Mommy Bear said...

Great post! It gets me in the Christmas spirit. I love all your ideas.

Mommy Bear said...

Oh and Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

Becca said...

How fun is this! I loved your ideas and tips. I've had Christmas both ways. Planned and unplanned! And I much prefer the planned! Thanks for giving me the little boost I needed to get going!
Becca

Jasmine said...

Isn't Pandora just the best? And I'll have to check out those other links too. I broke my foot last week so I'm having to stay off it as much as I can. Not so easy with twin girls! I have a lot of help from family and friends right now though. I said that to say this. This is a perfect time for me to be doing some Christmas planning. I'm excited to go on those sites, get some ideas, and maybe even make a Christmas Notebook. Sounds like such a good idea. Jasmine

Lori Libka said...

Elaine, thanks for including Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in your Christmas in July post.
Lori Libka, communications assistant, Bronner's

YayaOrchid said...

Christmas is my favorite Holiday, so any tips which can make it nicer are always good to have! We've gotten away (or tried to) from the materialistic, consumer oriented celebrating, but it still always seems to overwhelm me.

Laura said...

It really will be here before we know it. I think I'm already a little ahead of the game this year because I bought quite a few presents when we went on vacation last month. It feels good. Now I can start concentrating on "the atmosphere" I want to create. Loved your post.

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Elaine. Thanks for the hints honey, and you are always so informative. I am so glad you loved the mermaid post. She is my fav. I am redoing my bedroom in pale blue, and going to paint a two foot wide stripe down each side of the wall at the head of my bed, from ceiling to floor. Then I am going to paint the stripes dark brown. I am going to hang 3 or 4 pictures of our trip to Brookings down each of the stripes. The two colors representing the land and the sky. I have it all figured out, now just to get to it. Thanks for sharing and thanks for visiting my post. I too love Oregon. See ya tomorrow. Country Hugs, Love, Sherry

Andrea said...

Thanks for the tips and the links. I love the Organized Christmas site. I had no idea there was a site like that! What a find!