Let's Start Early

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    Imagin.ation

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        Imagin.ation

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        Every year i always say, "i'm gonna start early this year" and every year i never do, i face it all out of control, disorganized, and missing things or someone or paying way to much, a fiasco holiday nitemare.. something always happens.. the families always piled everything in the car and went to grammas house.. one year the cat ate the turkey..next year the dog stole the chocolate cake..one year santa fell through the roof..and don't you hate it when you forget the batteries.. one year we tried to trick the kids in the family to stop the peaking and the present shaking and the "she/he got more then me" remarks.. by renaming the presents "to name here" with code names so that no one knew which present was who's.. then lost the code sheet..(i don't know why we were that stupid too big a family to do something like that at grammas house..) some kids were opening shaving kits and victoria secret lingerie, the adults were opening teething rings,coloring books and potty training potties.. lol.. here's a list that can help us all get a little more organized for the holidays coming up...if you have some great ideas yourself please feel free to add them..

        CREATE A GIFT WRAP STATION
        keep all of your gift-giving supplies in one place
        set up gift center nearest the point where you normally wrap gifts
        set up a long under-bed box for rolled wrapping paper
        set up smaller tubs for tags, bows, ribbon, etc.
        be sure to include scissors, tape, and a pen
        also store the gifts you plan to give in the same place
        set up one storage tub for "kid gifts" and another for "adult gifts"
        make sure to include a flat surface for wrapping

        (i always end up with 10 rolls of tape, out of paper and i can't EVER find the scissors)

        KEEP TRACK OF RECIPES YOU ENJOYED
        get copies of recipes from friends or family
        cut out recipes from magazines or newspapers
        make photocopies of recipes from cookbooks
        create a ring-binder notebook for holiday recipes
        include dividers for each section (veggies, bread, desserts, etc.)
        put each recipe into a sheet protector page in the right section
        store either with your cookbooks or holiday decorations

        (i definetly do keep a list of the good recipes, how many of you have the aunt that brings the "what the hell is this" dish?)

        LIST POTENTIAL GIFT IDEAS
        pay attention to items people mention they want
        keep a running "wish list" of gift ideas for each person in your life
        cross off each gift as you give it or know they have received it
        use this as your shopping list as the holiday season begins

        (good idea to pay attention through the year, and to cross it off when you got that persons gift, i have done this before bought the same gift 3 times for the same person)

        NOTE THINGS THAT DID AND DID NOT WORK
        some plans go smoothly and some do not
        make a note of items that didn't work out and what went wrong
        include all the details so you can avoid those pitfalls next time
        also note any particular successes or great ideas you had
        include all the details so you can recreate it next year
        store with your holiday decorations and supplies

        (put the turkey UP, cover the chocolate cake with a lock and key, and try NOT to get too drunk on christmas eve.. so you don't wake up with yourself wrapped around the christmas tree)

        PACK YOUR DECORATIONS THE RIGHT WAY
        don't just throw everything in a box in a rush to get packed up
        wrap lights around a piece of cardboard so they won't get tangled
        wrap fragile items in bubble wrap or tissue paper
        get rid of the 60,000 little boxes your ornaments came in
        store ornaments in a holiday box with individual divided sections
        store like items together (ornaments, snowmen, candles, etc.)
        label all of your boxes clearly
        keep temperature, moisture, and insects in mind
        don't store items where they will melt, mildew, or get ruined

        (oh yes, always tired after all the holidays just toss it in there, won't see it for another year, that year flys by quick, you pull out that tangled mess, broken candles and ornaments, take the time to put them away i learned my lesson, we'd have the "put it away party" that worked great everyone came over and we'd have a nice dinner and dessert and put away the decorations)

        SHOP FOR GIFTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
        with your wish list, you don't have to wait until December to shop
        keep an eye out for sales throughout the year
        pick up both specific and generic (for anyone) gifts
        set aside a closet or storage tub for holding gifts you've purchased
        wrap and tag them as soon as you get home to save time

        (every walk by something and say "im going to get that for so and so for christmas" come to find out thats all so and so wanted but didn't get it, even though it's march get it!)

        START A CHRISTMAS CLUB ACCOUNT
        contact your bank about special holiday savings accounts
        generally, you can't touch the money until December
        plan to put aside a small amount each month
        can use just for gifts or for all holiday spending
        adjust your contribution level accordingly
        promise yourself not to spend more than you have in your account
        the easiest way to plan ahead, avoid debt, and stick to a budget

        (i took 30 from each paycheck and put it away, (i dipped sometimes but not to bad) i ended up having an extra 500.00 just for gifts or whatever i wanted around the holidays)

        STOCK UP AT AFTER-CHRISTMAS SALES
        many holiday items are only available during the holidays
        more expensive at the start of the season and cheaper later on
        shop for lights, wrap, gifts, etc. at "after Christmas" sales
        create a storage space in your home for these seasonal items
        can save tremendously by planning ahead for the next year

        (this is the best thing you can do, i love the after christmas sales, i went to a walmart one time way back, they had put ALL the christmas stuff on sale for 10 cents to 1 dollar, i went nuts!)

        TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR HOUSE DECORATED
        the easiest way to remember how you had everything laid out
        take photos from several angles and points within your house
        take a full shot of the exterior
        include shots of table setting, mantelpiece, and other focal points
        make notes on the back of each picture about items used
        store with your holiday decorations

        (We always decorated big time.. but you know what.. we never took enough pictures and now i wish we would have..)

        UPDATE YOUR HOLIDAY ADDRESS LIST
        go through cards you received and double check addresses
        make any changes for new addresses or people who have moved
        add to list and delete those you no longer want to send cards to
        make any revisions while they are still fresh in your mind
        if you have access to a computer, automate your address list
        put your list in a program that prints letters, envelopes, and labels

        (yes many times i've gotten back cards and gifts i sent off by wrong address or not having address updated.. waste of money!!!.. one problem i ran into i would forget to cross off the old addresses.. so now i cross off all old numbers and addresses, now i take it down and put a date next to it)

        Well i hope this helps, and as i said.. add some of your own.. Let's Start Early!!

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        Lipstick

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        Oh i love to start early! And i love Christmas! I can't even believe it is around the corner already!

        Thanks for the great tips.

        Lips
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        drpsyce38

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        Decorate the house, YES.

        But, I am going to have a "back to basics" Christmas.  The kids get one toy/item and the rest of the Christmas cash goes to relieving human suffering through a good, hands on charity. 

        Christmas Day we'll be at soup kitchen, or similar.
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        Imagin.ation

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        Very good cause Doc, thats an excellent idea, but i bet you break down and they get more, or i bet since you have the good heart and mind to do this you'll have the best holidays ever!!!
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        Lipstick

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        Doc love the name change!

        If i recall you had a similar Christmas last year planned. Christmas really is about giving. Just make sure your girls excited about this day and spoil them a bit!

        Lips
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        genenco

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        (put the turkey UP, cover the chocolate cake with a lock and key, and try NOT to get too drunk on christmas eve.. so you don't wake up with yourself wrapped around the christmas tree)


        Would you PLEASE invite me to one of your Christmas Celebrations..Sounds like fun!
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        drpsyce38

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        Imagin....oh, we have done that for years.  We have "normed in" having anti-comercialized Christmases."

        Lips......Trust me...I find lots of opportunities to spoil da gurlz!  My god, I am so wrapped!
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        toodleedoo

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        I spent a few Thanksgivings in soup kitchens, and it is a competition to even be able to help out because they have so many volunteers.  So sign up early if this is your plan.  When my kids get a little older, I plan to have them help out also. 

        Imagin- great list, thanks!  I need to make a list of gifts for the kids and stick to it.  I always go overboard, then they get overwhelmed with all of the toys.  So this year I'm thinking carefully about what they will actually play with, alone or together, and what the best choices are for the money.
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        Imagin.ation

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        Toodle, that is GREAT news to hear about that theres so many to help out, wow.. i've done it and it is fun, it feels really good doing it!

        Maybe this year we can add it to our lists to do this at our local shelters, give one day of ourselves to help, or to donate toys/food/clothing/money to the less fortunate in this world and make a difference for this years holidays!

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        drpsyce38

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        I just send a note to my politically conservative friends that I have "made a gift in their honor at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Advocacy Alliance."

        And to my liberal friends I give them a note that reads "I have made a contribution in your honor to Sara Palin."

        Finished.  No more shopping.  Done.
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        wmmeden

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        I am sorry to say this, but I HATE Christmas. Not the actual Christian message and what it represents, but all the BS that goes with it.  There are so many unfortunates that feel that much more unfortunate at this time. It is a rush to buy the biggest and best toy that will be discarded and forgotten in a month.  I, too, will be getting back to basics.  We will give gifts, but I want my children to give something back.  That is why I love thanksgiving, no gifts, no overbudgeted presents, just good oldfashioned gluttony and family.  God Bless us everyone.
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        wmmeden

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        Not trying to hijack the thread with my scroogeness. Those are great suggestions and ideas, Imag.  I always have good intentions, but never seem to make it very far.

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