The thing about Christmas is that it happens just once a year and because of that everyone feels a desperate need to get “all” of it right. I mentioned in our GiveAway on Sunday that we spend the month of November doing all our Christmas preparation, it works for us!!!
I think as a culture we get bogged down in the enormity of Christmas not because we feel we have to “do it all” but rather we feel expected to “do it all.” Everyone is trying to make Christmas more meaningful and add more and more activities to their already packed schedule in order to achieve this. We have found that by removing unnecessary obligations and the ridiculous expectations that Christmas can be a really fun celebration.
I like to keep December free for spontaneity. I know planned spontaneity does sound a bit mad – but if you don’t give yourself chunks of time for friends to drop by, trips to the beach (remember it is mid-summer here) and so on then you will never have time for the fun – trust me on this there will always be a another thing that must be done – schedule in the fun. Else you could end up starting your new year totally frazzled and burnt out.
In order to keep things fun and stress free we break our Christmas preparation up into the four weeks of November and three of the weekends… the last weekend we keep for a quick spring clean and getting things in order for a month without anything but the most basic chores.
Here is our November Planning in a Nutshell:
- Operation Christmas Box: We always begin with this it gets us into the spirit of Christmas.
- Christmas Cards: We like to send real live cards to friends, I know we can just send email on the day, but nothing beats a real live letter!
- Plotting and Planning Gifts: We have a list of folk we make gifts for and I have gathered ideas on a page at the back of my journal for them. We just need to brainstorm what we need and gather our materials for them.
- Creating Gifts: Homemade gifts don’t have to be hideous (!) but they do take time and effort… they just can’t be done at the last minute.
- Gifts Packaging: There is nothing worse than wanting to relax with friends that drop in the night before Christmas and you haven’t begun packaging gifts – I really try and get it all done before December and then I just don’t think about it again!
- Calendar Planning: This can quickly get out of hand if you don’t have your priorities organized, at least in your head, beforehand… You can find yourself totally committed to obligations and no time left for family fun without even blinking an eye. I pop all our Advent activities onto the calendar as well so that they don’t get lost.
- House Scrub: The last step is easy, we do a general clean-out throughout the month of November and I gather up things to donate: whipping through clothes, bookshelves, toys – just a “fifteen minutes a day” purge. You would be so amazed at how quickly you can declutter a house in a month of fifteen minutes a day.
I will blog about each of these steps as they arise and if you need to know now and can’t wait for this years update then take a trip down memory lane and have a look at our Christmas Round-Up from last year.
This Post is part of The Thirty Minute Mom’s Challenge at Steady Mom.
I popped this post onto the Works For Me Wednesday Site – go and have a look there for all sorts of tips on absolutely anything.
29 Replies to “Se7en do Christmas in a Nutshell…”
You are inspiring me to get moving!!! Fantastic ideas…
I totally agree that planning ahead gives us freedom to enjoy the true miracle of it all in DEC! Christmas is my favorite time of year. 🙂
I have 7 children too. We don’t do elaborate Christmas celebrations but even so I also start in November with cleaning and planning or December is just miserable.
You guys sound amazing! We do the Operation Christmas Child as well.
It looks like your link back to Steady Mom isn’t working properly if you want to update it – thanks!
Hi J, Sorry about the link – I put it in the one above by mistake!, it is all fixed now!!! Have a great day!
Hi S, The more kids we have, the less energy we have for vast celebrations and the more fun we have!!! We have the same ladder as you do!!! Have a lovely day.
Hi K-M… Aaahhh good intentions! Actually I am quite strict, what isn’t done in November doesn’t get done. I just can’t do last minute panics!!! I am sure you have got Christmas down to a T and lots of memory making up your sleeve!!! I so hope you got all your “back-up” troubles sorted out… Take care all of you and have a good week!
Expectations! I have found that to be the bane of everything! Anything, that I have grief with and I take the time to figure out what is causing the grief. . .it all boils down to expectations!
That was actually a huge “moment” for me, when I figured that out.
Hi C, Good to hear from you… Yup expectations come on little cat feet and smother us!!! Glad we have both got this epiphany out of our system and we can get on with our lives now!!! You have a great day!
so nice to see other people also busy with preperations for christmas. I thought I was the only crazy person. Last year my little one was almost 2 months old at christmas. (she is actually turning 1 tomorrow).
I love your ideas and things to make. especially the aliens and the dragon and the dinosaur stuff. my boy (now 5) loves those.
and yes… there is nothing like home made cards. children make it for free – so why not use them…..
Hi D… Oh have a fabulous birthday tomorrow – Congratulations to all of you!!! Yup it is never too soon to get your act together for Christmas, especially when you plan to enlist the help of kids… things can take a lot longer when you get “special” help!!! Have a great day tomorrow!
PLAN for Christmas, and then prepare for it in NOVEMBER… Now why have I never thought of that before????? Love your blog.
Great ideas for keeping the holiday season real.
Hay J, Yea that P is for Planning idea!!! Hope you all have a lovely day… planning away!!!
Hi there R, Glad you liked them!!! It is so easy to get caught up in all the madness and forget what Christmas is all about! I hope you have a fabulous day and thanks so much for stopping by.
Some great ideas here. I am really trying to get ahead of the game, but am sometimes thwarted by a recalcitrant spouse. Well, maybe just a procrastinating spouse who is also a perfectionist!
Hi T, I think you’re right it is hard to get things moving when you are not a team… but you can still plot and plan and have a list of to dos ready in advance for when you are ready to work together. I find it really helps the process along if at least one of us has an idea of what we are doing!!! As for perfection there are lots of things that the father person likes “just so” and lots of things he doesn’t mind… I get all the latter out of the way so that we have time available for the undone things nearer the time. I might be ready in advance but I can assure you the father person will be dashing to the store on Christmas Eve. We certainly aren’t doing everything the night before, just a couple of things he can’t face so he has left them to the very last minute!!! Have a good week, plotting and planning!!!
I am with you!!! I think I should do this so I’m done by 1 Dec too 🙂