I’ve decided to Organize my blog, and in accord with that goal I will be sharing on certain themes on certain days. Tuesdays I will be calling “Tuesday Tips” (not very original or catchy, I know, but until something more “inspired” comes to me, that’s what it’ll be)! (Note: Not that it’s more “inspired,” but it’s now called Timely Tips on Tuesday.) Included under that theme will be Homeschooling Helps, Tips on any form of Home organization, Scheduling, Planning, etc. So, for my first Tuesday Tips theme, some will think me crazy, others will think me late, but I am going to talk about Christmas Organization! I promise I will return to celebrate Thanksgiving, and not skip over it! But first, some planning ahead.
Does Christmas Make You Crazy?
Christmas is the busiest time of the year for me, and it threatens to overwhelm at times just thinking about its coming. I don’t want the celebration of my Lord Jesus’ birth to become a dreaded time, so I was thrilled when a friend shared a site with me years ago called Organized Christmas.
Quoting from their site,
“Written by organizing author Cynthia Ewer, the Christmas Countdown is a free six-week Christmas organizing plan from OrganizedChristmas.Com. Online since 1998, the Countdown is a tried-and-true road map for organized holidays.”
You can go to their site and printout free forms that will help you to think through Christmas and all that you have to, and want to, accomplish, by breaking it down and spreading it out over 6 weeks. I have used a “Christmas Notebook” for a number of years. The charm of this plan is that you can personalize it, printing out only the forms that you need–go into as much detail or as little as you want–and it’s all free! There are even forms for keeping your whole Christmas Card Address List, with a checkoff box for three years of “Sent To” and “Received From.”
There are cleaning checklists, calendars and dividers, or if you prefer a smaller version to be able to take with you, you may choose the pretty Christmas pocket planner.
I Use the Countdown Planner
I use the Countdown Planner. (I also have the Holiday Grand Plan printed out. It’s a plan, room by room, for obtaining a completely clean house by Christmas. I doubt I will ever achieve that, but seeing the forms helps me to tackle weekly some part of the job, and every bit of cleaning and organization I do ahead of time helps make a less stressful Christmas season.) In the Countdown Planner, you will find forms which ask you questions and give you thoughtful suggestions.
The Holiday Values Worksheet and Why I Like It
One of my favorite forms, the Holiday Values Worksheet, helps you evaluate your activities from the past year(s) to see if they are lined up with what you believe and consistent with your values. I appreciate so much the encouragement that it gives to evaluating and being intentional about our activities and choices. It is so easy to just get caught up in the busyness, without even thinking about what we are doing. My mother always laughs when we girls are talking about some tradition or other that we “always” did growing up. Chuckling, she will say, “We probably did it twice.” But it’s true, and is a caution to Choose carefully our traditions, when the children are very small, to make sure they are Biblical, and true, and emphasize the real meaning of Christmas. Also, ask yourself before adding each new activity, will I be able to, or want to, continue this activity every Christmas forever? Remember how strong the pull to continue traditions that we grew up with in our childhood.
Questions To Ask Yourself To Help You Choose Traditions Wisely
The Holiday Values Worksheet asks several very helpful questions:
“Was your family spiritually invigorated by the holiday celebration? Did you participate in appropriate worship, service or giving activities?”
“Did inappropriate influences enter your home last year? Were décor, clothing or gift-buying decisions motivated by competitiveness or insecurity? Did the hectic pace of the season take precedence over family closeness, family values?”
These, and other, excellent questions, make this worksheet one of my favorites of the Countdown Planner.
Some other favorite forms are the “Freezer Inventory” where you can record meals made ahead to ease the stress and lessen extra spending on eating out, (and also record baked goods you have made and stored there), the “Christmas debriefing” form on which you can honestly answer, “How did it go?” and the “Holiday Memories” form which makes it easy to record and remember happy and wonderful moments which you never want to forget.