22 November 2010

Organized Chaos

This weekend I picked up a couple of my favorite magazines' holiday issues.  I love the articles on foods (of course) and recipes and I am always eager to read the "I'm not going to go crazy again this year" holiday tips articles.  I am always disappointed...no magic solution yet.  

So, I am going to share a few of my tips with you.  John and I are swamped this time of year at the Market and we love it!  It is not a season for relaxing however and from years past experience, I have to be ridiculously organized, or we have cheese disasters and entertaining nightmares, mad family members and half cooked dishes to pass. 

  • BUY A SMALL NOTEBOOK ,see previous post on leather one :)
Create all of your master lists in this notebook.  I write which gift I will buy for each person.  I keep note of every event we are attending, the time, date and location, what I am bringing and WEARING.  I even list ingredients for recipes, so I can pick them up anytime I'm at the grocery.  The notebook is kept in my handbag.  If I change my mind on a gift, or run across something fab that my daughter might like, it gets noted and changed in the notebook.  I also keep a paperclip on the back cover to clip all receipts.  I also include advil, pepto bismol, neosporin and bandaids to the list...you are gonna need them!    
I purchase a couple festive outfits for the holidays every year.  Sometimes, I have something from last year I really liked, so I will update accessories only.  I purchase clothing that is comfortable, washable and I feel great in it!  I keep it laundered, pressed and ready to go.  This way, I do not have to make any choices when it's time to get ready and I feel like I look great!

I usually take a few minutes at Thanksgiving time to go through ALL of last years gift wrap, ribbon etc.  I put it all on the list.  I purchase all of my cards, small envelopes and wrap together.  I like when everything works inter-changably and I'm not scrambling for matching ribbon.  I also do lots of "gifts from my kitchen" so I take a moment to go through my collected bottles, jars and boxes and run them through the dishwasher, check for chips etc. Check your list for needed amounts :)  I do ask for boxes and bags when shopping, (anything to keep it easier) and keep paper shopping bags for schleping dishes to pass, small gifts and my slippers!

I wrap as gifts come into the house, and they get put under the tree or stashed in the closet.  Remember your list and check it off as you go, so you remember what you purchased!  I keep a box on my unheated porch for gifts from my kitchen to be stashed in.  

Limoncello, vanilla extract, caramels, spicy nuts and wine jellies were gifts last year, and they kept fine out there.  Easy to prepare and a long storage life made them great gifts!  While I love baked goods, they are too time consuming to prepare and give, and they go stale too quickly.  These choices gave the recipients a longer time to enjoy them as well.  They were easy to grab hostess gifts for unexpected friends and cost very little to make.

The sheer amount of "everything" this time of the year is often overwhelming.  Whatever you make, buy, wrap and do is "enough" with the right spirit.  If someone else has a problem with, it's exactly that..their problem!  I do not feel the need to do "more" any longer.  The gifts cost enough, the food is good and plentiful enough, the house is big enough and decorated enough, you did enough!  There will always be someone that does more.  I often think this is the part of the holidays that really bring us all down.  Just say "it's enough" and "I love you". 

We have really ignored the holiday-hell in the past couple of years in our household.  The girls usually choose larger gifts (unaffordable to college students and minimum wage employees) and then I choose stocking stuffers and small gifts that I think they will love/use/appreciate.  We make an effort to ignore the not-nice things that happen at the holidays due to stress, expectations and lots of together time and enjoy our family, home, food and each other.  (By  the way, wine never hurts the situation!)   

(I always keep this mantra in my mind...it's called a GIFT!!!  I appreciate the fact someone thought of me and shared a bit of themselves or pocketbook with me.  It's the holidays...)                   

No comments:

Post a Comment