I can’t believe it’s already Week Three of the Holiday Countdown. I hope you were able to start crossing some projects off your list. If you’re just joining us, there’s still time to catch up on Week One or Week Two.
How did I do?
I’m not hosting Christmas this year, so there isn’t a rush on ordering furniture for our home. However, we’re currently working on the plans for our basement and haven’t decided if we’re going to begin that project now or in the new year. My son would really like it done asap so he has the perfect place to hang with his friends, but I really don’t want to spend the holiday season dealing with drywall dust.
Last week I did help a client source a new dining table and bench (*affiliate link) from Crate & Barrel and she should have it within a few weeks. Sometimes I’m able to live vicariously through others!
Clean and stock the kitchen.
A few weeks ago I did a thorough cleaning of the deep freeze and pantry. It’s amazing how many plastic yogurt containers can build up if you let them! I’m personally not a big toast or sandwich girl, so I don’t keep up on the happenings of bread in our freezer. I think we had enough crust to feed a small army!
On Saturday we braved Costco and stocked up on some groceries and entertaining supplies. I was excited to find new tapenades, spreads, cheeses and crisps. These are easy to pull out at a moment’s notice.
Decide on a decorating scheme.
Last year I decided I was tired of most of my decorations and took many of them to charity. This is the perfect time of year to donate because most places will only accept decorations in the fall because of storage issues. Of course I kept the sentimental items- ornaments my son made in school, handmade items from friends and decorations that bring back memories. However, anything else that didn’t fit my new “cool” color scheme (white, silver, blue, smoke and green) was sent away. Once I had decided on my new decorating focus it was much easier to make purchases. Last year I added several of these vintage hand-blown ornaments in several shapes and sizes to the mix:
Organize a cookie exchange.
I’ve never been part of a cookie or treat exchange before so I was most excited about adding this to my holiday routine. My friend Sandi is always whipping up delicious food, so I know whatever she makes will be amazing. I’m just hoping whatever I come up with will be deserving of a trade. Perhaps I can up the ante with the presentation!
The other day I was at the mall to return a shirt and couldn’t believe how jam-packed the stores were with holiday decorations and gift items. I was time-crunched and tried to pass by Pottery Barn, but the decorative beauty of the store pulled me in and I couldn’t resist a little peek at what was new for the holidays. Luckily I have a lot of will power and left without a bag full of decorations and accessories, but I know many people couldn’t do the same. I personally don’t like credit card bills I can’t pay in full come January and I love my warm beach holiday I take every winter with my family way too much to jeopardize it because I bought too much for Christmas. You can stay on track this year as well if you plan ahead.
Plan your gift buying.
Two things I do every year is make a list of who I am buying gifts for and then I set a budget for what I’m going to spend on each person. I created a Christmas Gift Planner on my computer where I record all the gifts I buy and I tuck all the receipts in a labelled envelope for safe keeping. Here is a printable one you can use from momAgenda.
Do your homework.
As Canadians we don’t typically have the Black Friday sales like those found in the US (the Friday after American Thanksgiving- November 25th this year). However, many major American-based retailers will extend their online deals to Canadian consumers. To see when the deals will be available, check their websites. Make sure you calculate duty, shipping and taxes before you buy! In addition, the biggest online shopping day of the year is Cyber Monday (November 28th this year). If you are subscribed to a retailer, you’ll likely receive a promotional email in the days leading up to Cyber Monday.
If you normally purchase your gifts directly from a store, find out if they have any friends & family events coming up. Over the years I’ve made a mental note of when stores I frequently shop at have their best sales. It’s a gamble whether or not the products will still be there, but if you’re flexible, it’s worth the wait. In addition, check out the flyers that come in your newspaper instead of automatically throwing them in the recycling.
Consider handmade gifts.
Every year I like to make something to give to friends and/or family members. Last year I made Toblerone fudge, placed it on a carefully selected plate that suited each person’s style and wrapped it all up with cellophane finished off with pretty ribbon and an ornament. It’s easy to find unique and inexpensive plates at second hand stores or discount corners of home stores. Other years I’ve made ornaments, aromatherapy bath salts, preserves, cookie mix… I find that everyone loves receiving these gifts and appreciates the work that has gone into them.
Lavender Green Tea Foot Soak by Thirsty for Tea
Think about what you could possibly make to give out this year. Find out what supplies you’ll need and start gathering them as soon as possible. If it’s something you can start making now, set aside an hour or two spread over a couple weeks or dedicate some time on the weekend. If it’s something perishable, mark off time in your calender closer to Christmas to get it done. I promise it will bring joy to your life!
I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to over the past couple weeks. If you have any suggestions or tips for staying on budget or anything else related to getting ready for the holidays please send them my way.