4 Ways I am “Saving” Christmas This Year

Does this sound like you? Every year when Autumn comes around, and the Christmas stuff starts going on sale, you think, “This year I’m going to be organized and not wait until the last-minute.” But, then you blink and Christmas day is here and it’s like, “Whoa, where did the time go?!” (Please tell me I am not the only one!)

Well, THIS year, I have made a firm decision to really make a change. THIS year, I’m going to really be organized, relaxed, and actually enjoy the Advent and Christmas season. I am “saving” Christmas for myself and here are four ways you can save it for yourself, too!

4 Ways I am Saving Christmas This year

1. Change Your Mindset.

Instead of the go-to response, “Ugh, I am so not ready for the holidays,” this year, I am going to embrace the onset of the holidays. The holidays are a gift! They are a time to give thanks, spend time with loved ones, play with traditions, and, most importantly, to remember that God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, became man for our sakes.

Jesus, the Living God, born of Mary, became a BABY. Jesus is the reason for all the festivities of the next few months – no matter what the stores or the world says. Therefore, when stress or angst about the craziness of the season gets to you, take a couple of minutes to slow down, breathe, and remind yourself of what is important.

2. Learn to say NO.

You know, you really don’t have to say yes to every opportunity or “obligation” that comes your way. Just say yes to those things you really want to do or to those things that bring joy to your life. If you feel like you can’t say no, say “maybe” instead. Take some time to check you calendar and think about whether you want to say yes or not. If you don’t, a simple, “I’m sorry, that won’t work for me.” Is enough. You owe no explanation to anyone!

Remember, you control your calendar. If something is on the calendar, it is there because you added the item. It is up to you to leave margin in your schedule. If you don’t control your calendar, it will control you! Or, at least, everyone else will control it for you.

BELIEVE me, I know how that can be. There are a lot of good and enjoyable things that happen during the Advent/Christmas season. I hate to miss out on good things, too. Nor do I want to let anyone down, either. It is so much easier to yes something rather than face the self-imposed guilt of saying no. In the end, though, it’s not worth it. In order to keep sanity, to stay healthy, and to actually enjoy the holidays, you  need to say no to some things.

3. Enlist Some Help.

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate what you can or ask your spouse, children, or other families to help you with what you need to do. If you can afford it, you can even hire some temporary help. Get a one-time housekeeper to do a deep cleaning of your house. Use photo cards so you don’t have to handwrite every card and then have your children (or a teenager looking to make a couple of bucks) stuff, lick and stamp the envelopes. Of course, baking is one way to get the children involved – even if it makes for more work in the clean-up afterward!

With a little creativity, I am sure you can come up with tons ways to delegate your many responsibilities. Maybe getting help for the next couple of months will inspire you to continue to delegate into the new year!

4. Plan Ahead.

It really does make a difference if you can take some time to plan what you need to do and when. Getting, and staying, organized isn’t that hard if you have a plan in place.

Last year, I made a Christmas planner that made a difference for me. Unfortunately, I thought of it too late so it wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. So, I got myself in gear early and created one for 2017. I am already starting to use it and love it already! I was expecting to keep it to myself but when I told some friends about it, they wanted one too. So, I went ahead and created two: A dated planner for 2017 and an undated planner to be used for multiple years.

I will tell you, right off the bat, that it is nothing too fancy. There aren’t any pretty fonts or fancy tables. It is a clean-cut, straight-to-the-point planner that gets the job done – just how I like it! And, because it is in an e-book format, you can either print out the whole planner at once or just print out the pages you want.

To get the 2017 dated planner go here, and for the multi-year, undated planner go here.

Resources

I will be using the Advent Prayer Journal again this year. Using it last year definitely helped me keep the focus on the meaning of the season.

This year, I am hosting my first (free) virtual Advent retreat. It will be done via Facebook Live in my FB Prayer Group. More details to come soon, so if you aren’t in the FB Group, you can join here.

The ‘Ultimate’ Christmas Planning Toolkit

Christmas Planning Toolkit

Please excuse the “shameless” plug but November is next week and I wanted to make sure you knew about the ‘Ultimate’ Christmas Planner Toolkit I created.

Every year Advent/Christmas comes and goes so fast that it is hard sometimes to stay organized, sane and truly focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Do you have the same problem or is it just me? 🙂

That’s why I created the ‘Ultimate’ Christmas planner. It is a 96-page e-book chock-full of templates and lists that will help you keep track of everything you need and want to do during the Advent/Christmas Season. Actually, NOW is the time to start planning for the holy-days and this planner includes templates for Halloween, All Saints Day, Thanksgiving and more.

Here is a run-down of what is included in this toolkit:

  • Calendar Templates
  • Budget Template
  • Wish List
  • Gift Lists
  • Greeting Card Lists
  • Thank You Card List
  • Online Confirmation List
  • Menu Plans
  • Baking Plans
  • Grocery Lists
  • Recipe Template
  • Housekeeping Templates
  • Decorating Templates
  • Party and Entertainment Templates
  • Family Craft Template
  • Tradition Celebrations Template
  • Movie, Reading and Music Lists
  • Self-Care Template
  • Pet-Care Template
  • Inspiration List
  • To-Do Templates
  • Blank Note Pages

All you have to do is print out the pages you need, use a 3-hole puncher and put the pages in a binder. Keep the binder in a convenient spot and complete the templates as needed. 🙂

The toolkit is $10 and can be purchased through my Etsy Shop or by clicking the link below.

Add to Cart

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Organizing Your Kitchen Utensils

This week’s theme for Works for me Wednesday is “your best bathroom or kitchen tip (organization, cleaning, etc.)”.  I have a  tip that will free up some drawer space (and save you a little time, as well):

If you have a lot of kitchen utensils (whisks, spatulas, kitchen hammer, etc) mixed up in a kitchen drawer, use a pretty vase or container to hold them instead. Rather than fishing through a drawer of utensils, you’ll be able to see and quickly grab what you need!

utensils

I personally use a wine bucket that I received as a complimentary gift from the hotel we stayed at during our honeymoon. I keep it on the counter between the stove and my knife set. It’s handy and makes getting what you need a breeze. 🙂

Tip for Keeping Track of Online Passwords

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This isn’t my usual kind of post, but I was changing/updating my passwords and thought I would share a little tip for storing and keeping track of all the passwords you have from the various websites, forums and groups you belong to. 🙂

A lot of people use Microsoft® Excel or other safe-guarded program on the computer. Personally, though, I’m not comfortable with storing my passwords on the computer. You never know when/if your computer is going to crash (mine has twice!) and if your backup fails, you’re in trouble.  Besides that, there is always the possibility of your computer being compromised, no matter how careful you are.

Here’s my tip:

Use an address book. Write in your user name and password for each site alphabetically in the address book and then you will have easy access to your passwords in case you forget. For example: I have my user name and password for my Facebook account filed under “F” and my user name/password for my Twitter account is filed under  “T”, etc.

For a long time, I just used a notebook dedicated to my list of passwords. It was convenient, but I would have to search through lists of passwords before finding the one I needed (if I couldn’t remember the password or where in the list I’d written it). The address book, on the other hand, is safe, convenient and organized – and that works for me!

Have your own system for storing and/or keeping track of your your passwords? Please leave a comment and share it with us!