Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Clearing up Christmas

Christmas Cookies. Ahhhh....
This is the time! You may not want to spend another minute thinking about Christmas once you stuff all your decorations, wrapping paper, and holiday cards out of sight, but right now, Christmas is still near the top layers of your mind, and it's a great time to give some thought to how you want to handle things next year. Some ideas:
  • Review and collect your holiday recipes together in one place. Make some notes as to what worked and what didn't work for each recipe, even if it seems obvious, because it's pretty unlikely that you will remember that your pan was too small for the ingredients next year! My notes include the fact that I need to buy an extra box of lady fingers for the English Trifle I make for Christmas Day.
  • Make a list of items you need to purchase near the beginning of the holiday season, particularly of things that sell out quickly. For my list: Christmas lights! All our strings are old and half-working, and I need to grab them early next fall; they are always nearly sold out by the time I set up our Chrismas tree in mid-December.
  • If you don't keep a list already, I highly recommend starting a spreadsheet record of the gifts you give each year. I have an Excel spreadsheet that contains a record of gifts that we have given back to 2004. It's handy to know what I've already given people (Especially book titles so that I don't give the same book more than once!) and sometimes it helps me to come up with gift ideas for challenging people when I see successful gifts I've given to other people in the past. This year I'm going to add a column for 2010 Birthdays and Holidays (Mother's Day, etc.) If you buy gifts throughout the year, you can plug them into your spreadsheet and recall everything you have when you need it (you just have to go and find it... whereever it is...)
  • Make a Christmas Note to Self. Think about what worked well for your family this past holiday season, and what didn't work so well and write a note to yourself about it, to remind yourself for next year. Then, instead of doing the same dysfunctional thing next year, you can be proactive about keeping what works and changing what doesn't work instead of repeating the same cycle. What worked for me: Hosting a neighborhood get-together the week before Christmas. It was a great party, helped by the fact everyone had been snowed in for 2 days. What didn't work: Trying to have my siblings and grandparents over 3 days before Christmas. Too much (and it got canceled anyway). I also need to figure out more strategies for the 24th and 25th to make it less hectic. New Goal for next year: I want to figure out how to get together with my husband's siblings closer to Christmas (this is challenging because they tend to disperse for the holiday...)
  • Lastly, figure out how you are going to get all of this information to your future self, and when, because it doesn't make sense to write it all down now and never read it again! I am going to try to set myself a remind in Outlook for November 1st to read my Christmas Note to Self (saved in a file on my computer in a folder marked "Christmas" of course! Do you have one? That's where my gift spreadsheet lives!)

Please share what works and what doesn't work for you!

No comments: