Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 11: Get Your Recipes Together

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 11: Get Your Recipes Together

That favorite fudge recipe you always make, that delicious marinated carrot recipe your mom used to concoct, and Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie recipe are yearly Christmas treats. The problem is every year you have to search to find them. Wouldn’t it be great to have you recipes together in one place?

Assignment: Gather your holiday recipes and organize them.

Now is the time to gather all of your favorite holiday recipes in one place! Print, copy, scan (whatever is easiest for you), all of the recipes you use and love each year. Get them into page protectors in your binder. You will be blown away by how helpful this will be to you!

This is also the time to discard any recipes you never use.

get your recipes together

If you have a few free minutes, you can go through your recipes and jot down ingredients you will need when you go to the store.

Another great way to save time this holiday season is by making a couple extra copies of each recipe. Keep the extra copies in the same page protector as the original. This way, any time someone asks you for your recipe, you will have an extra copy ready to pull out and give them on the spot.

For More Details: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 72

Excellent instructions for how to organize your recipes in the binder are located in the book.

Supplies: 1) Page protectors 2) Your favorite recipes

Share Your Thoughts:

How many recipes did you include? Any tips on organizing your recipes? How does it feel to have all your recipes in one place before you need them? Did you throw away any recipes, and how did that make you feel?

Avoiding Overwhelm:

Don’t try to do everything or to be all things to all people. Do what God offers uniquely through you.

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 10: Gather Your Elf Supplies

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 10: Gather Your Elf Supplies

elf supplies

Originally, this project was going to be “buy your stuff,” but I know that all of us probably have enough gift wrap, tags and ribbon to supply Santa’s workshop. Problem is, most of us find it December 26th.

So dig through your basement, garage, spare closet or under the bed and gather together:

  • wrapping paperelf supplies
  • ribbon
  • tissue paper
  • tags, etc.
  • Scotch tape
  • scissors
Assignment: Elf supplies

Once everything is rounded up in one place, put it into a container to keep it together. If you can keep it out for a week or two do so, this will allow you to wrap a few gifts at a time. If this is not possible, wrap them up as soon as possible and get them under the tree. This will keep the clutter at bay. This is also the time to purchase anything that you are short on. (I end up buying tape every single year.) Organize your supplies with these fun labels.

Another fun idea is to have a wrapping party with your friends so you can wrap, chat and be merry (see what I did there).

The idea is to think outside of the box and give something new a try. You never know if something else works better if you don’t ever try something different!

For more details: Get Your Christmas Organized – Page 69

Share Your Thoughts:

What is the most stressful part for you about wrapping gifts? Do you feel stressed for time? Is it the space it takes up? How about the idea of wrapping with friends or family? Could you host a wrapping party and make it more enjoyable?

Avoiding Overwhelm:

Be sure to ask for help before you need rescue. And remember – what overwhelms you invigorates someone else.

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 9: Gifts for Out-of-Town Friends and Family

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 9: Gifts for Out-of-Town Friends and Family

Plan ahead for gifts for out-of-town family and friends

Refer back to your gift giving list to identify anyone who will require their gift to be shipped, as these gifts for out-of-town family/friends can take extra thought. Now think of the least stressful ways to make this happen. A gift card to their favorite store or restaurant is a great gift and extremely easy to ship.

You can also ship gifts directly to people from whichever website you are ordering from. You know I am a fan of Amazon, and if you aren’t a prime member, order all of your gifts at one time so you have an order of $35 for free shipping.

Assignment: Plan you gifts for out–of-town friends and family.

Think about what you are going to get for whom and by what day you need to have it in the mail. Put the dates on your calendar and plan purchases accordingly.

Consider e-gifts or something that is easy to mail.

Be sure to check out the mailable gift ideas in the book.

For More Details: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 65

Supplies: 1) Your gift list 2) calendar and 3) ideas.

Share Your Thoughts:

Share ideas for gifts for out-of-town family and friends? Any tips on mailing gifts? How many gifts do you usually mail?

Avoiding Overwhelm:

Dreading the lines at the post office? Listen to “feel good” music through your headphones. Or better yet, set a goal to make the line more fun for everyone by seeing how many people you can get to smile. Remember — when we pre-decide our reactions, we get to be grateful instead of bitter.

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 8: Catch-Up Day (and a Bonus Project for Extra Credit)

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 8: Catch-Up Day (and a Bonus Project for Extra Credit)

Organized for Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t rest

Time to catch up on anything you haven’t been able to finish thus far. Check your binder. Take a breath. You’ve got this!

organized for ChristmasIf you are not sure of the last time you took a breath, it has been too long! Your next step is to slow down and breathe deeply. Did you know that you think much more clearly when you get a good amount of oxygen to your brain? Or that by filling your brain with more oxygen you are opening receptors to help you react faster, think more clearly and get more done? This is scientific fact, so if you are feeling busy or stressed, it’s time for a nice walk. 20 minutes at a good pace should do all of us some good.

For extra credit, do something to bless your spouse and get him in the holiday spirit. This can be another form of getting oxygen to the brain! Go ahead – have fun with this.

Share your thoughts:

Chat with us and tell us what YOU did on your Catch up Day.

Avoiding Overwhelm:

Be sure to listen to your body throughout the holiday season. It “talks” to us for a reason. What is your body telling you? That it needs to go to bed? Stretch? To eat? Or stop eating?

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 7: What’s Your Christmas Budget?

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 7: What’s Your Christmas Budget?

Do you know how much you actually spend on Christmas? It can be a real eye-opener to look at your Christmas budget. A few dollars here for eggnog, a couple dollars there for the boss’s gift, $5 for the new set of lights because the old ones don’t work or you can’t find them, $20 for the ingredients for the cookies and before you know it you have spent over $100 you hadn’t planned on spending.

It isn’t just money, sometimes it is activities. You say yes to too many Christmas parties, too many shopping trips, or too many volunteer requests. For some reason at Christmas our houses have to be cleaner than normal, we cook and bake more than usual, we have presents to wrap, gifts to make, extra church services to attend and the list goes on. Sometimes we need to put our activities on a Christmas budget so we can enjoy the season.

Take some time today to identify anything you can cross off your list whether it is something causing you stress or unnecessary spending.

If you’re looking to save money this year, throw a budgeting party with friends or family. Exchange gift giving ideas and your favorite coupons or ways to save. You could also bake goodies to gift, work on crafts to give, or order items together to save on shipping or buying in bulk. You’ll get some of your gift giving taken care of, save money, and have fun while doing it!

Assignment: Plan Your Budget for the Holidays (Expenditures of both money and time!)

Use the budget sheet to outline where you anticipate spending money. It is a big holiday and often a huge part of our fall and winter expenses. Planning now will save on surprise expenses and impulse spending more later.

Also, use your calendar and carve out a few evenings or a Saturday when you don’t have outside activities. Keep that time free for you to do the things that matter to you.

For More Details: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 56

Supplies: 1) a budgeting sheet 2) calendar

Share Your Thoughts:

How does it feel to have a budget in advance? Will this project change how you spend money during the holiday season? How about putting free time on your calendar — did that give you a sense of relief? Did you eliminate an activity?

Avoiding Overwhelm:

Not sure what to eliminate from your budget or your schedule? Don’t forget to pray-cess (process through prayer).

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 6: Get Your Gift List Together

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 6: Get Your Gift List Together

Assignment:   
  1. Make a list of everyone you will be making or buying gifts for (jot down a date of when you need to exchange or mail them).
  2. Keep notes next to each name of things you think they might like, need or really appreciate. Think about whether they would most appreciate a gift that you bought for them, or maybe they’d love a donation toward a cause and you could do it in their honor? Whatever the case, take a few minutes and decide your plan of attack.
  3. Another thing I do ahead of time is window shop. I write down or take pictures of things so I can later add them to my gift list with their price. That way I don’t go nuts spending way too much. Then I go home and make up my real gift list including what I am buying and how much it costs.
Supplies:

The Get Your Christmas Organized Gift List

I actually take this one step further and create my gift list on a spread sheet because I have a budget in mind for each person. All of this is then stored in one place, and when I am at the store I know I can get what I intended and make sure I don’t spend too much doing so! This has helped not only keep me organized, but also keeps me from spending way more than I should have out of guilt, loss of time or impulse purchases.

The idea here is for you to be giving gifts from a place of joy, not last minute stress. Be smart, shop in stages so the hit on the budget isn’t so severe!

For more details: Get Your Christmas Organized page 48
Share Your Thoughts:

How do you tend to get your gift list going? Do you plan it out or just shop and then worry about it later? Do you buy for everyone or just a select few? Share with us what gift giving traditions you have developed or adapted over the years.

Avoiding Overwhelm:

Do you cringe remembering how much you overspent last year (or ten years ago)? Responsibly accept the consequences of poor past decisions by making better choices this year. And by not persecuting yourself for the past. You will feel far less overwhelmed when you stay in the middle ground of accepting responsibility.

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 5: Schedule Your Time for the Holidays

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 5: Schedule Your Time for the Holidays

If you don’t plan your time, someone else will. During the holidays it is especially important to schedule your time in advance so you have the time to do the things that are truly important to you.

Schedule your time for the holidays

For example, I schedule downtime. Life gets very stressful over the holidays, and I schedule time just to relax and wrap gifts with music playing or to kick back and read a book. The time leading up to Christmas shouldn’t be so rushed and stressful that you are totally exhausted and can’t enjoy the holiday. I schedule mini-breaks or downtime throughout the season. This is especially important if you have small children and their schedules are being disrupted.

The downtime is every bit as important as the parties and other social activities during the holiday season. I review calendars and make sure we find time to attend church, candlelight services, and other events that matter to us, I schedule downtime, and then everything else is worked into the time that left or we choose not to do it.

Go back to your Christmas mission statement and make sure everything you schedule fits into your mission. If it doesn’t, you can skip it this year. There’s always next year!

Do what gives you joy and don’t feel guilty for saying NO to everything else.

Assignment:  Schedule Your Time for the Holidaysschedule your time

Gather all your calendars and spend fifteen minutes scheduling your commitments (personal, family, church, school, etc.). Now it is time to schedule in some fun! You may want to ask your family what they would like to do this year. Consider dropping things that no longer bring you or your family joy. You may also want to set aside some special time for just you and your spouse.

Once you complete your calendar, be sure to hang it where everyone has access to it.

For More Details:  Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 44

Supplies:

1) A blank calendar for November and December (or download printable blank calendars for November and December here.)

2) School, church, work and personal calendars.

Share Your Thoughts: 

How does it feel to schedule your time out in advance during the holidays? Did you eliminate some activities? What activities will you keep no matter what? When you think about the holiday season do you feel overwhelmed, relaxed, confident or frustrated?

Avoiding Overwhelm:

Putting items on a to-do list tells you what’s important. Putting them on the calendar tells you what’s possible. Add your activities straight to your calendar so you see where you need to cut back.

 

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 4: Prep Your Christmas Card

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 4: Prep Your Christmas Card

Prep your Christmas cards

When was the last time you got to December 10th and took a deep sigh of relief that your cards were completely done and mailed?? Umm, I have to answer that one honestly and say never. But I can also honestly say that when they are done early, my stress level goes way down. That is why, I prep Christmas cards in stages.

prep your Christmas cardAssignment:
  • Go through the list of things necessary to prep your Christmas cards. Maybe you need to buy paper for your annual letter or get pictures taken. Jot down all of the steps
  • Start working through the list and possibly enlist the help of others. Maybe your spouse orders the stamps and prints addresses for you. Maybe your second grader puts the stamps on.
  • Make an assembly line while watching a movie to make it more fun. If it is too overwhelming to get done all at once, take time today to decide on one thing to accomplish each day this week. Mark each day on your calendar. By the end of the week, you will be ready to mail off your cards!

For More Details:  Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 39-42

Share Your Thoughts:

Have you broken down all of the steps before for getting your Christmas cards ready? Even though it is many steps, much of it can be tackled over time and with help! Do you elicit the help of others? What do you job out to save time, stress or possibly a paper cut on your lip? Come share with us what YOU do in the comments below.

Avoiding Overwhelm:

This is a great example of habit pairing — linking a chore with a reward. Think of other habits you can pair throughout the holiday season. Remember — habit pairing = duty + delight.

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 3: Pick Your Christmas Card Picture

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 3: Pick Your Christmas Card Picture

If you’re not sending a Christmas card this year, or you’re sending a card sans family photo, you get to sit this project out. For the rest of us, it’s time to sit down and choose a photo or choose a date to take  or pick your Christmas card picture. Enjoy this project by inviting your family to help select the photo this year.

Maybe enjoy some Christmas cookies and cocoa as you look back on the memories you made together over the year. If you still need to take family pictures, make a day of it! Plan on taking your photos together then going to the movies, out to eat, or grabbing your favorite hot beverage and shopping to fill your Operation Christmas Child boxes.

Assignment:  Pick your Christmas picture or set a date to take a family picture.

pick your Christmas card picture

The earlier you get the picture taken, the better. It’s November so photographers are offering holiday specials and booking sessions quickly. Get your favorite photographer on the phone and get this scheduled.

Make your appointment at a time when your family is at its best. If you are all night owls, don’t plan an early morning appointment. Also make sure no one is hungry when you go for the picture.

Outfits don’t have to match perfectly, but they should coordinate and not clash! Clothes should be comfortable. If uncomfortable, think of the forced smiles!

On a budget?

Digital cards save you time and money and allow you to send a card to any number of friends and family. In addition you don’t have to spend a ton of money on a professional photographer because your pictures don’t have to be as high quality to really look great.

For More Details:  Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 32

Supplies:  Cards, Picture, Printer paper if you do a letter, stamps, envelopes, address, and return address labels.

Share Your Thoughts:

Will you be sending cards this year? Will your cards include a family picture? Is it a Christmas picture or one taken throughout the year? What made you pick that picture? Do you send paper cards or digital cards? Any tips for others who plan to get a family picture taken or use pictures in cards?

Avoiding Overwhelm:

Are you thinking, “We always have a professional photographer trek to the mountains with us in the snowfall to capture us singing carols as we cut down our 12-foot tree, but this year there won’t be snow!” Well, first of all, boohoo. But remember – just because you’ve always done things a certain way, doesn’t mean you’re out of options. You can choose to make new decisions this year!

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 2: Put Together Your Christmas Binder

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas Project 2: Put Together Your Christmas Binder


Assignment:
Create a Christmas binder  with tabs

The Christmas binder is going to be your friend for the next few weeks. You know–the kind of friend you count on to help you keep your sanity. Your friend should reflect you, but more importantly, the vision you have for your family Christmas! Yesterday you made a list of what is important to you for the holidays. What it would look like for you if you started fresh this year.

Use your mission statement and go from there. But don’t forget this is supposed to be quick and easy!

For More Details: Get Yourself Organized for Christmas – Page 28

Supplies: a three-ring binder, tabs, (optional) colored pens, plain paper to decorate a cover sleeve to slide in the clear pocket.

Christmas binder Maybe you have an old binder lying around that contains your child’s old science fair project. Maybe you were on a committee for church a few years back and you can recycle one for a new purpose! Maybe you will take out a blank sheet of paper and decorate it and then slide it into the clear sleeve of the front cover of the binder. Maybe you make a fun label for the outside. Whatever you end up creating, make it SIMPLE.

Remind yourself:

Next, get some dividers for the different categories. Get one for Cards, Recipes, Budget and Receipts, etc. Next place them in the order that makes sense to you. Keep a copy of the mission statement in the front. This is to remind yourself of your core values and what matters most to your family.

Then set a reminder on your phone or an appointment on your calendar to do a binder check weekly. This check will ensure you are USING it after you took the time to create it! It is so important for you to not get overwhelmed.

Use this time to store away any needed items to keep yourself organized. Put that receipt in the receipt section now because when you are in a hurry later, it won’t happen. Doing a simple task now will keep you from feeling crazed later!

Share Your Thoughts:

Where did you get your binder? Is it newly repurposed? What tabs did you put inside? Did you list out your Mission Statement and enclose it?

Avoiding Overwhelm:

 

When we can’t find the things we know we have, it can make us feel stupid or ashamed. Our Christmas binder and Christmas Headquarters will keep everything we need for the holidays in one place. Remember–creativity is on the other side of clutter. And so is peace.