Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Countdown to an Organized Christmas - Day 29 - Decorate Week

Article and Photo Courtesy of Organized Christmas

Thanksgiving arrives, and we're on the home stretch to the Christmas season: welcome to Decorate Week!

Today, it's time to take stock of all we've achieved, and chart a course for the remainder of the Organized Christmas Countdown.

Where are you with your holiday preparations? Ahead of the game this year? Congratulations!

And everyone else ... including me? No matter what we've managed to accomplish, many of us still feel more than a bit behind. Thanksgiving gives everyone a shove toward reality: the holidays are here, ready or not.

To quell any feeling of "behind", take a look back! Along the Countdown, we've clarified our values, begun gift lists, built a budget and gotten a head start on holiday cards or letters. Gift giving is underway, and the kitchen is stocked and ready for holiday meals ahead.

Are our preparations "perfect"? Of course not! Because, as explained in today's essay, there's no such thing as a perfect Christmas--one thing to keep close in our minds as we complete our preparations for the holiday ahead.

Ready? Set? Decorate ... for an organized Christmas!

To Do This Week

Decorate Week Assignments (additional print outs available)  

Write and address one-fifth of the Christmas Card List this week.

Complete one-fourth of the Gifts To Make list this week.

Begin interior and exterior decorating.

To Do Today

To Read Today

So you still think it's possible to have a "perfect" Christmas? Cynthia tells all with a Tale of Two Turkeys:

There's No Such Thing As . . . A Perfect Christmas

"Oh, to have a perfect Christmas!"

This potent illusion grabs us by the throat sometime in September. It lifts only on the afternoon of December 25, in concert with the 3 p.m. Christmas post-gift letdown.

It's a fancy subscribed to by many well-meaning holiday planners. It sells one heck of a lot of Christmas magazines.

To my dismay, it may even have motivated you to join the Christmas Countdown!

The culprit? The Ghost of Christmas Perfection. This siren song sings as follows: "It is possible to organize a completely stress-free, hassle-free, calm, serene and spiritual holiday season!"

This Web site notwithstanding. Paying heed to the idea of a "perfect Christmas" will clog your planning and cloud your joy--and it's just not possible.

Over the years of my adult life, I've been organized and I've been disorganized. I've been child-free and child-bound, swamped with houseguests or all alone. I will tell you: it is simply not possible to create a perfectly organized holiday season.

There will always be something. Always.

It wouldn't be the holiday season otherwise! Holiday realities are fights with in-laws, returning gifts, burned cookies, collapsed gingerbread houses, pets in the side dishes, stains on the rug, cranky children, broken ornaments, and grouchy late-night sessions at the sewing machine.

Stop and think: this is the material of life! Look back in your memories, and you'll see that every Christmas Imperfect lays its own special claim to your heart.

In my own copybook, nothing could be a better contender than Christmas, 1997: A Tale of Two Turkeys. One turkey, the edible variety, was still frozen rock-hard late on the evening of Christmas Eve. Turkey Number One was scheduled to appear as dinner the following day. What to do?

The second turkey, our household's home manager (take a bow, Cynthia!), got the bright idea of speeding the thawing process by depositing the turkey-sicle in the utility room sink, and running cold water over it. Leaving the bathing bird unattended, Turkey Number Two returned to merrymaking, innocence herself.

Twenty minutes later, the sound of rushing water alerted the household. Turkey Number One had wedged his frozen little hiney in the drain of the sink, blocking it and causing Lake Noel to spread an inch deep over the hardwood floors of kitchen, hall, and dining nook.

The ensuing panic involved eight adults, every towel in the household and gratuitous sound effects from a shorted-out security system. To complete the humiliation, the entire sad-and-soggy episode was witnessed by a full slate of houseguests, including my parents, children, and auntie.

Turkey Number Two had her revenge the next day. I have seldom had such joy carving open the breast of a holiday turkey before or since. Christmas Imperfect--but boy, do I remember it well!

This is not to say that you can't do a lot to promote organization in your holiday planning. You can. Tested organization techniques smooth out many rough places as we travel together toward the height of the season. You can do "more organized." You can do "simpler," "more fulfilling," and "more spiritual."

But you can't do "perfect" because life never is. Who would want it that way, really?

Holiday Tradition: You’ve  Been Elf-ed

Have you been Elf-ed? Join the fun with this Christmas version of the Halloween BOO game.

Sometimes called "You've Been Jingled", "You've Been Elf-ed!" is easy to play.

Sometime before Christmas, one neighbor starts the game, secretly leaving a basket of treats together with an Elf sign and Elf poem explaining how to play the game.

Ring the doorbell and run! It's the best part of You've Been Elf-ed!

In turn, each recipient is asked to post the sign to alert would-be Elves that they've been Elf-ed, and to pass the game along to two more friends or neighbors.

As the days pass, Elf signs pop up all over. Who's been Elf-ed? It's all part of the fun to see holiday cheer spread from door to door.

To start the game, we've made it easy with free printable Elf-ed poems and Elf signs.

Will you join the Christmas fun? Look out ... You've Been Elf-ed!

 Today's Recipe

If good little boys and girls get Snowman Soup, what do naughty children receive? Snowman Poop!

Make this silly holiday treat with marshmallows, seasonal candies or jelly beans. A selection of free printable gift tags and bag toppers makes it easy to make.

A great gift for Secret Santa or You've Been Elfed traditions!

Snowman Poop

If good little boys and girls get Snowman Soup, what do the naughty ones deserve? Snowman Poop!

This inexpensive holiday gag gift is easy to make for office gifts, Secret Santa exchanges or stocking stuffers.

Naughty but sweet, it's sure to get a holiday giggle from family and friends.

Snowman Poop Recipe
To make Snowman Poop, place a handful of mini-marshmallows in a small zipper food storage bag or decorated cellophane treat bag, then attach a gift tag with the Snowman Soup poem.

Choose a free printable Snowman Poop gift tag, or hand-write a tag using the Snowman Poop poem below.

Snowman Poop Poem
I hear that you've been naughty,
So listen, here's the scoop...
I'm running short on coal this year,
So you get "Snowman Poop"
Love, Santa

Snowman Soup

Warm the hearts of good little boys and girls with a packet of Snowman Soup!

Take a single-serving package of hot chocolate mix, chocolate candy kiss, marshmallows and candy cane, package in a mug or holiday-themed goody bag, then add a free printable gift tag or bag topper for a cheery winter gift.

Easy enough for children to make, Snowman Soup is perfect for stocking stuffers, office gifts, Secret Santa presents or 12 Days of Christmas gifts.

Add a Winter Warmer Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper for an easy, cheery winter gift basket.

1 individual packet hot chocolate mix
2-3 chocolate kiss candies
10-15 mini-marshmallows
small candy cane
treat bag or zipper food storage bag
plastic wrap or small zipper storage bag
Place mini-marshmallows in small zipper storage bag, or wrap in plastic wrap.

Tuck hot chocolate packet into treat bag. Add marshmallows, chocolate kiss candies, and candy cane.

Seal bag or close with twist tie. Holiday hint: glitzy chenille stems make pretty, decorative bag closures. Curl stem ends around a finger or a wooden spoon to create a curly closure!

Add a printable gift tag or bag topper, or attach hand-written tag using the Snowman Soup poem below.

Snowman Soup
Was told you've been real good this year.
Always glad to hear it!
With freezing weather drawing near,
You'll need to warm the spirit.

So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick.
Add hot water, sip it slow.
It's sure to do the trick!

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