Tweaking the PLANS...

Discussion in 'Christmas Countdown' started by AuntJamelle, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Whether you like to follow the HGP, HHP or CC - join in!

    Over the years I have added a number of “extra” tasks to my HGP holiday prep sections each week of the plan. Thought I’d share in case it helps spark an “ah ha!” moment for anyone else!

    Share any other ideas for things you’ve historically added to your list – HGP, HHP or CC– or things you need to! Turn those "Oh, SNAP!" moments from last year into tasks on your radar for this year! What do you always forget? What always sneaks up on you?

    Some of my "extra" holiday prep tasks:

    Order return address labels for Christmas cards!!! I've never done this before but decided last year that I am going to just do it - makes life just a little bit easier!

    Sort freezer contents/Prepare room for freezer meal storage/Make note of items coming to end of storage life to use up soon to make room!!! I do this early on in the plan weeks!

    Start planning home staged picture session for DS’s Christmas Card photo – outfit, props, etc.

    Locate shovel/Confirm and purchase correct type of salt for steps and sidewalk

    Locate ice scrapers for both vehicles

    (I know those last two aren't really holiday prep at first glance, but not having to scramble for those items when the bad weather hits makes all the world of difference! Allowing holiday happiness to proceed with out worrying about anyone breaking their neck on our stairs, etc.)

    Order 1 or more sets of Christmas PJs online (check current sizing) - need one for Pajama Elves box and one for wearing to school (they always have a day for this)

    Various tasks sprinkled among the weeks for choosing a Christmas treat for class mates, buying needed items then assembling/crafting

    Verbally or via text invite everyone for Christmas dinner party and/or other events we are hosting

    Planning for Black Friday shopping

    Shop for/Order online for nice sweater or shirt for DS to wear in picture with Santa

    Giving the inside of the car a good clean!!!

    Early December I have a task to remind me to begin to prepare for DS's birthday party at beginning of Feb - otherwise the Christmas season overwhelms everything and I am scrambling come Jan 2nd!

    What other extra things can you guys think of? Those of you that have an elf (or elves!) that visit probably have other items on your list! I'm sure there are other things! There always are!
    Minta, Myron's Mom, PamelaG and 2 others like this.
  2. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    WOW some great reminders on there.
    I need to do things in reverse.
    Clean the filter on the aircon, make room in the freezer for quick Summer meals so as not to heat up the house, locate and check the use by date on the sunscreens and insect repellent.

    Will look at the city map early in December to plot the best houses to visit for Christmas Displays
    Minta, PamelaG and housewife2 like this.
  3. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Yes! For those that have the opposite seasons from here in the states there are definitely different things to think about!!!
    Minta likes this.
  4. missjane

    missjane Well-Known Member

    AJ, thanks for this. I need to check my notes from past Christmases and see what I should be doing in addition to the Christmas plan.
    Minta likes this.
  5. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Great tips ...

    Towards the end of the growing season I get a bushel of corn to blanch, cut the kernels off and then bag up different amounts for regular dinners, holiday dinners and soups. I also keep an eye on the local farm stands for mark downs on peppers and broccoli to cut up, flash freeze and bag up to freeze for winter use.

    As soon as I see the store putting out wrapping paper I am looking for the bins of the large packs of tape and I bought 1 or 2 to make sure I have enough tape on hand for wrapping. I always buy extra at the end of the season but it never fails that my kids find my tape stash during the year and it disappears.

    I love to stock up on foil, wax paper and parchment paper now so that's one less thing I have to worry about as the holidays get closer.

    Grocery stores love placing their baking items on sale earlier and earlier so I start budgeting and extra $5-$10 a week for them in Oct and Nov. Years ago I didn't realize I was very low on molasses and I was unable to find it in any store around me in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
  6. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    A great tip Minta. It is getting to the time where you can start stocking up on baking goods. Butter for baking can freeze, flour and sugar can go on the shopping lists soon. I have written a list and still need to get coconut, icing sugar and a few bags of flour.

    Pity eggs can't be bought now, I use a lot of eggs for baking.
    Myron's Mom and Minta like this.
  7. missjane

    missjane Well-Known Member

    Butter has been on sale the last two weeks here. I've been stocking up.
    sweetpumkinpye and Minta like this.
  8. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Walmart here lowered their butter prices to under $2 a pound so I will be stocking up soon hopefully before the prices rise. Gotta make room in the chest freezer first lol
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  9. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Minta, any savings in our pocket now is a good thing.
    Minta likes this.
  10. Cathymac2

    Cathymac2 Active Member

    I have cleared and cleaned and reorganized my pantry to accommodate holiday supplies.
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  11. Miss JoDee

    Miss JoDee Well-Known Member

    DH and I will move the plan around a bit as we always run out of steam when we get to the garage and attic because it is usually to cold to work those areas. so we will begin there. This area will be a major clean. The main question will be how long as this been here and why is it still here?
    AuntJamelle, Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  12. PamelaG

    PamelaG Moderator Staff Member

    I LOVE having a special shelf or area to keep all the festive supplies.
    Minta likes this.
  13. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    TFS Cathymac. I have a shelf in the laundry that I use as my stockpile. I can put the festive foods on there too.
    Minta likes this.
  14. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    Aunt Jamelle - I like the Shovel, salt, ice scraper reminder. I also send an Evite for our Christmas Eve party but I realize that I don't have that written down anywhere.

    Minta - That butter price is super. I will have to check it out.

    Miss Jo Dee - you had me LOL at "how long has this been here and why is it still here?"

    I reviewed my "Recap" notes from the last five year. Here's what I noted was of great help to me:
    • Simplify the gifts and the gift list.
    • Set up pop-up email reminders on Google Calendar to find stockings, get out Christmas dishware, etc. It saved me from looking for them on Christmas Eve.

    • Set hard deadlines for those things that don't get done earlier in the plan due to the family getting sick and a death in the family.

    • Give myself permission not to run around like a chicken without it's head after Dec. 18th.
    • Store wrapped gifts in the attic. Each gift gets a tag. I place all the gifts for one child in a huge black trash bag. This has helped immensely.

    • Use cookies for dessert after serving appetizers and a big dinner. It is enough for those who wanted something sweet without eating too much more.

    • Freezing meals in the Oct. and Nov. helped with the busy December evenings. Also menu planning around busy days helped.

    • Buy Christmas cards earlier.
    • Finish writing out cards earlier than December.
    • Buy stamps before Thanksgiving.
    • Keep better track of after school activities and appointments in December.
    • Set a clothes budget within the Christmas gift budget so we have enough money for other fun gifts.
    • Buy all the same gifts for service staff/teachers, etc. In the past, the gifts have been food items with long shelf life. I bought these in October and then wrapped them then too. This year, I was done early and it was such a relief.
    • Buy stocking stuffers (chapstick, make up, pocket size Kleenex boxes, etc) in September. I bought practical items and wrapped them up in October. Then I put them into individual bags with the names written on them. On Christmas Eve, I was able to give the bags to my husband and he filled them with no problem.

    • Stock up on household items (paper towels, napkins, Kleenex, dish soap, etc) and cold/flu medicine in August and September. This was very helpful leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had a three weeks of sickness going on here and I had to make a few extra replenishment runs. I was just glad I had the extras to begin with and it kept me going while everyone was sick.

    • Do as much ahead of time as possible. This is the first December in ages where I felt rested the week before Christmas. I didn't run around like a chicken without a head. I've set a date of December 17th to have the cards in the mail, gifts bought and gifts wrapped. If I'm waiting on an address and it isn't available by the 17th, I've given myself permission to not send the card. If a gift isn't bought by the 17th, then I've given myself permission not to feel guilty about it. If gifts aren't wrapped by the 17th because it is back ordered, then I've given myself permission to use a gift bag when it does arrive.

    • Get to bed at a decent hour, exercising and eating healthy. This can be really hard but I worked hard at getting this done. I went to bed at a decent hour the week before Christmas. It was important to me to exercise and eat healthy. I wanted to stay healthy for Christmas. This helped me to feel like I could tackle the week of dental/medical appoints.

    • Divide cookies into bags for parties before freezing them. We have 4 parties we're hosting and 2 we attended this Christmas. We divided the cookies up according to the parties and froze them in freezer bags. It has made the cookies last longer since no one wants to raid the freezer all the way down the basement.
    • Sit down around Halloween and write in dates/snow dates to get the tree, go shopping, Christmas concerts, cookie baking, etc. Put into Google Calendar too. That really helped us when events popped up. We already knew that in order to say yes, we would have to say no to the tree, concerts, etc.
    • Write in a weekly time to myself to take care of me. I really liked doing this! I looked at each week of November and December and figured out the best time. I either read a book with a hot beverage or I watched a Christmas movie.

    • Cut back on food. Per last year's notes, I did cut back on the amount of food in the house. I bought lots of raw vegetables to snack on and made salads to eat. We had some cheese and dips but I did not go overboard on the amount. That has helped a great deal in limiting the over eating. In addition to the soda and water that is in the cooler, we also added seltzer water. That was a nice surprise for many.

    • Keep a stash of "Christmas week only" supplies out of everyone's eyesight. I quickly realized by Thanksgiving that some of my extra supplies of things like tissues were disappearing. I'd buy a three pack of tissues and then two weeks later there was nothing on the shelf. (Schools were asking for tissues. My children were taking them to school but they didn't tell me. ) My husband got to the point that he said, "Wait, don't say it. 'I just bought tissues last week. How could we be out of them?'" [​IMG] From then on, anything that I was concerned about having on hand Christmas week was kept on a shelves out of sight in our basement.
  15. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Mary, there are some great hints in your list. I am going to add a few to my planner. I particularly like that you give yourself permission not to panic and feel guilty about things you cannot control.
  16. Myron's Mom

    Myron's Mom Well-Known Member

    Love your list Holiday Mom! Especially the do ahead as much as possible part. I've set Black Friday as my gift buying deadline in the past which has worked well for me. I rarely buy anything past that date unless there is some major after thought that can't wait until next Christmas. My husband is planning way ahead he asked me to pull out the wrapping paper for him because he wants to start wrapping already.
    AuntJamelle and sweetpumkinpye like this.
  17. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    Mary I love your list. this will be very helpful
  18. Cathymac2

    Cathymac2 Active Member

    Great wrap up details! I always forgot in the past what did and didn’t work until I started doing the wrap up list.

    The past two years I took two weeks vacation at Christmas. This year i’ve only put in for the week before to allow someone else the week after. I know on December 26 I am going to be aggravated to have to return to work but it can’t be helped. I think i’ll plan some festive things to do at work that week. It’ll be slow business wise and very skeleton staff if it’s like usual. Any thoughts besides the obvious treats and small trinket gifts for co workers?
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  19. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Cathymac2 - You could send out Christmas themed trivia quizzes via email, the first to reply getting a simple gift from $ store? Can you play holiday music at work? Is there a conference room where you can project a Christmas movie played on a laptop during the lunch hour? Every little bit of "cheer" helps?

    Mary - Love your tips! Especially the "not running around like a chicken with head cut off" one! I need to check my lists to make sure I have buying postage stamps marked down for October, I'm pretty sure I do but still!
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  20. housewife2

    housewife2 Well-Known Member

    thanks for all the tips
    AuntJamelle likes this.

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