Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Countdown

The last few Christmas’s have been a little crazy it seems.  It seems like I just couldn’t get it together.  This year I set a goal for myself:

Have it together by Nov. 1.

What does that mean?

For me it means, having my expectations for the Holidays written down.

I did just that. On Nov. 1st.

With the help of this:

Holiday Planner

My Holiday Planner.

I made this thing years ago.

I updated it a little this year.

It has every thought, idea, project, tradition, gift, address, recipe that just might be swimming around in my brain.


I realized that the way for me to cut the crazy was to get the crazy out of my head.

It has been helpful to get it all spelled out before the holidays actually start.

I would be happy to share my file for anyone who might be interested.

I also wanted to get all of my Christmas Projects done before Thanksgiving. I have just about succeeded in that.

I can’t wait to share what I have been working on.

Sharing Christmas gifts is a little tricky though.  The people that I am giving too just happen to read this blog.  I don’t know how I am going to go about it.

I do want to share a couple of other ideas.

I really wanted to have an advent calendar for my kids.  I really wanted to uphold some of the fun holiday ideas that I have had written in my little planner.  So… I combined the two.

Kids Advent

I bought the kit for this here.  The kids and I put it together one evening.

Advent Calendar

There is an ornament for each day.

Advent for kids

Then I took little slips of paper and wrote down anything that I thought the kids might enjoy.

I glued a paper clip to the back of the ornament for the slip of paper to go.

I wanted to be able to switch these up each year.

Next, I looked at my calendar and laid out what would work best for which days of the week.

Kids Advent 2

For example, cutting snowflakes out of paper is easy to do on a Tuesday evening.  Going to see the lights at Garvin Gardens is not.  We will save that for a Friday.

I also put appropriate tasks on Mondays that we could do for Family Home Evening.

I can’t wait to put this plan in to motion.

I am hoping to hang the ornaments on these branches.  I will probably spray paint them silver for the Holidays, and add a few more to my vase with a pretty red ribbon.

owls 4

Here is my full list of ideas:

Make snowmen out of play dough

Make a holiday treat

Read a Christmas book

Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn

Do a gift of service

Have a fondue night

Write a Christmas story and draw a picture to go with it.

Make gingerbread cookies to hang on children’s tree.

Letters to Santa.

Make a treat for out neighbors.

Cut out snowflakes.

Drive around and look at the lights.

Make cookies.

Call a family member.

Make Hot Chocolate or Apple Cider.

Play a game.

Read “The” Christmas Story

String Popcorn

Do a service for someone in your immediate family.

Eat a Candy Cane

Have a snowball fight with toilet paper.

Look through your ornament book.(this is a special book that I make for each of my kids, more on this later.)

I also finally got around to making this little advent for myself.  This is from a class that I took from this site. Can you tell how much I love Jessica Sprague?  She is also teaching a free class at the end of the month.  Don’t forget to sign up.  Jessica’s classes are awesome.

Advent 2

My plan with this little project is to take 20 minutes for myself everyday to record the important memories that happen in the month of December.  I will take a photo, and share a thought.  This little advent gives me the prompts to do so.

Advent on Eisel

For example:

Write about: The importance to you of your holiday tree. 

Photo: Of your tree

Remember: Did you have rituals or traditions relating to your holiday tree?

I will use my 365 blog for the whole month of December to complete this little project.

One other thing we do at Christmas is try to keep it simple.  We have expectations that we do not exceed.  Our kids know what to expect, and that helps them not feel disappointment.  It also helps our wallet.

We have written a letter to Santa asking him to only bring one gift.

The rest of the gifts come from us. 

Each child gets:

Something to wear, something to read, something you want, and something you need.

This makes shopping very easy.

Did I mention that I am all done shopping?

I make sure to make a list of all of that in my handy dandy planner.

Then when I am out and about I can remember, “Isaac needs new jeans.”  Cross that off the list.

I am so excited this year.

I really want to focus on the memories, and traditions.  I want to feel less pressure and stress.

I want to share a great holiday with my family.

Eight years ago when I made my planner, these are the objectives that I wrote down.

1. to spend joyful quality time with my family

2. to have an evenly spaced holiday

3. to have realistic expectations

4. to have reliable family traditions.

It is funny that those objectives remain the same to today.

We are getting there.  I am working out the kinks, but we are getting there.

I truly believe that some of the greatest memories I have as a child happened during the month of December.

There is something so magical about it as a child.

My goal is to create the magic in our home.


Krysta said...

You are inspiring me to get going with Christmas. I am already so far behind! I need to get it all out of my head and put it on paper. I love your advent calender. It is so bright and fun! Great job!

Beth Curtis said...

I love this. My Christmas tree is already up because I just love Christmas so much! I am a true kid at heart!

Karissa said...

What awesome and great holiday ideas! And I love the simplicity of Christmas gifts with the wear, read, want and need.

kristyl said...

I have the same problem with turning my brain off! I would love to see your planning file if you could share! I think writing everything down will let me rest this season and maybe get a little more sleep! We are also doing the 4 gift idea for Christmas....bringing the meaning of Christmas back this year! (ps. I am steadily losing weight with your ideas!)

Lindsey Jensen said...

You have the best ideas!! I love the book!!

Andrea said...

I really love your approach to getting gifts for your children. Really makes it simple and easy. I love the idea!

Holly said...

I just stumbled on to your blog, you are TOO cute! I have been blog stalking for a few weeks, but I thought I'd better tell you THANK YOU for posting so many inspiring ways to improve ourselves, and our families! I always look forward to your posts!

Carrie said...

I use your crock-pot recipes and shopping list SO OFTEN- it has saved me many times by reminding me of the little staples our home needs when I am in the store instead of when I am back at home needing it again. Thank you! I would love if you would share your holiday file with me :)
I'm sure it will also be spectacular! You are such a pro-active mom- thanks for your inspiration. Give Stella from me! I know she won't remember me but she is still one of my favorite little ones! Such a cutie.

Stella said...

I love the idea of the presents; we've done that too when our sons were younger.And you're right. It's about the memories and the precious time together. And your advent calendar; I love love love it.
I am a bit behind but your planner is fabulous. I'm going to create one myself this week.
Thank you for all the inspiration!
Have a wonderful day!

Tara said...

love love love it!!! You always have such great ideas, Andrea - and are always so organized about it. Can you send me a copy of your files?? I'd love to combine it w/ what I already have. Thank you!

Angie said...

Wow! You are always so organized! Thanks for always sharing so much inspiration! I would love your holiday files -

Charity said...

I would love to see your file- I need to be more organized, especially around this crazy time of year.

Jerri-Lea said...

One thing that we are doing is visiting the animal shelter... my daughter is having a Christmas creating party and asking each guest to bring an item to donate to the shelter.

Jerri-Lea said...

Oh, and I can't wait to hear more about the ornament book!

KT said...

I'm in love with your Christmas ideas right now. I WANT those advent ornaments. I'd love to get a copy of your files.

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