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Gearing Up for the Holidays!

on November 30, 2013

With Thanksgiving so late this year, it seems like the time between now and Christmas is going to absolutely fly by.  I’ve been really trying to get as much done ahead of time as possible and to save money wherever I can.  Right now, I feel pretty on track to celebrate the spirit of giving and to enjoy this festive time of year.

Here are a few of the things I did to keep my head from exploding and feeling in a huge rush–and to remain in the happy spirit of the holidays.

1)  Plan!  For the last few years, I have had portrait studio pictures done of my daughter this time of year to send out in our holiday cards.  This year, I was on top of it and did them in early November.  We had already purchased cards at one of the end of Christmas sales last year, and I had the printed pictures in hand.  Instead of waiting until December, I thought, what the heck!  I have time, so I addressed all of the envelopes, signed all the cards, and dropped a small photo in the majority of the envelopes.  I hit one small setback when the glue on the envelope wouldn’t seal.  To combat this, I grabbed some holiday washi tape and picked up some festive round foil seals.  My daughter was excited to help me seal the envelopes, because she was bummed she couldn’t help me with all the writing.  I just picked up my holiday stamps this week, and the envelopes are now ready to drop in the mail next.

Our pretty envelope sealing supplies!

Our pretty envelope sealing supplies!

I also make an photo book online of our favorite pictures of the kiddo from the past year and print out one for us and one for the grandparents.  I’ve used a variety of companies to do this, and I have been satisfied with the results from all of them.  I also got a jump start on these this year and took advantage of a percentage off coupon to get a discount.  The books will be here in plenty of time for Christmas.  I feel pretty on top of things so far, but I’m sure that I will get knocked back to reality at some point when I realized I forgot something obvious.

2)  Give!  We are so close to starting our 25 Days of Giving, and we have so many things we’ve collected to give.  I can’t wait to start!  The hard part is going to be only doing one per day.  We have also been planning out gifts for family–and most of that shopping is done!  Huzzah!  I started the process a little over a month ago and just kept my eyes out for deals on things I know they would love.  Did a little Black Friday shopping online and only hit one store in person after the crazy crush of shoppers.  Now we are all set with gifts for our kiddo friends (I buy books from Scholastic every year to give to my daughter’s outside of school friends–we make this an event with secret deliveries in their mailboxes), I have teacher gifts purchased, and co-worker gifts purchased (I am so excited for both of these.  They are going to be way cute.)  I don’t know about you, but I always find the act of giving so much more fun than trying to figure out a list of stuff I want.

Our teacher and co-worker gift supplies.  I saw on Pinterest little signs that said "We Wash you a Merry Christmas!"  A little dorky, but super fun.

Our teacher and co-worker gift supplies. I saw on Pinterest little signs that said “We Wash you a Merry Christmas!” A little dorky, but super fun.

4)  Enjoy!  Sometimes I have to really sit back and remember to enjoy my life.  Everything gets so hectic and busy with work and outside commitments, that sometimes I forget to slow down and enjoy the moment.  This will be the only Christmas my daughter will be five.  That thought is precious to me, and I want to make sure I experience the joy it brings.  So, we put up our Christmas decorations the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Turkey day was a week later than normal, and we wanted to be able to enjoy the holiday cheer that we spread throughout every room in our house for the full month we normally do.  In addition to the 25 Days of Giving, I have some really fun outings and craft projects to do as a family, with grandma, or just the two of us.  We will go see a gingerbread house exhibit, look at decorated store windows, visit reindeer at a local tree nursery, bake cookies for a cookie exchange, go in search of beautiful Christmas lights, and probably a little more.  I am so excited to share them with my girl.  But, I am also going to try to be very conscious of her little voice telling me that she just wants to stay home and play.  We don’t have to haul ourselves all over town for every single holiday event–that would be exhausting, but I know a few outings will make both of us smile.

The biggest of our holiday decorations.  We really do have a little bit of Christmas in every room of our house.  Not a ton, but enough to make each room feel festive.

The biggest of our holiday decorations. We really do have a little bit of Christmas in every room of our house. Not a ton, but enough to make each room feel festive.

Is there anything special you do to make sure the holidays run smoothly and that you are able to take full advantage of enjoying them?  I’d love to hear about them!


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