Christmas Day 2017 is on a Monday and there are 35 Sundays to go before we reach Christmas. It doesn’t sound so long until we get there, huh? Maybe now is the time to start planning if you want a stress free Very Merry Christmas this year.
It’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment (April) and conifers are dropping any extra pine cones. The earlier ones are small, the later ones are larger. If you want pine cones for your decorations, then now is the time to collect them. It’s easy enough to carry a plastic bag with you if you are walking anywhere near pine trees or even put a few in your pocket each time you are out. Store them in an open bowl to make sure they are dry and you will then have your own pine cones to add to a pot pourri with cinnamon for a Christmassy smell nearer the time or you can get gold paint or craft glue and gold glitter and decorate them ready for use around the house. Both ways of using cones are useful, they don’t cost much and you can use them as a children’s craft if you want to keep the kids busy on some weekend or just enjoy the decorating yourself!
Watch a Pine cone decorating Video
Some people are highly creative and there are a great many ideas for using pine cones in the video below!
Ugly Christmas Jumper
If you are a keen knitter and like the idea of creating your own Ugly Christmas Sweater, then now is the time to start collecting ideas for a pattern and costing out the wool. If you are not a knitter and can’t persuade anyone to knit for you, then you will be able to find Ugly Christmas Sweaters on line to buy nearer the time. It would be good to start saving for it now, if budgeting might be a problem.
Take down the Christmas cards you were sent and displayed. You DID get them up?
If you do not have a list of people you send Christmas cards to, then you could start to build it up now, by recording the names and addresses of those who sent you Christmas cards this year. Even better, record them on a spreadsheet because that will let you print out address labels next November or December, making sending cards even easier!
Just Get It Done Tip
If you find that making a card list or recording it on a spreadsheet is holding you back from clearing away the cards, then forget that and just get them gathered up, ready to recycle or dump.
Store Any unused Cards For Next Year
If you had any Christmas cards and stamps left over, you can save them for next year. I use an old boot box or shoe box and store it at the side of my wardrobe. If you need to have something tidier, AND your finances can stand it, you can get special boxes for storing all kinds of cards. If money is tight, an old shoe box or any other kind of available box will do fine. You can even use it for storing birthday cards, so you always have one available for emergencies during the year!
Take Down The Tree
Of course, this depends on the type of tree you had. A “real” Christmas tree will now need to be disposed of somehow and removed from the house without dropping dry prickly pine needles all over the floor. This is always a harder job than dragging in the fresh tree at the start of December. Some people keep their fresh Christmas tree in a tub and bring that in each year, rolling it outside again in January. That gives you the joy of a fresh tree without the needle drop, however, the tub can get dirty during the year, you may need a trolley to move it in and out and the tree will keep growing, eventually getting too big.
An artificial Christmas tree can of course be dismantled and stored in the box it came in. What? You didn’t keep the box? No problem, you can get a Christmas tree bag, to take the place of the one you threw out when Christmas was going to last forever. It is also possible to get a bag that covers the tree without dismantling it which saves having to take it apart, with the possibility of losing or breaking a vital part. If you get one of those, you are probably best to be able to keep the tree on the same level of your house as it may be heavy or awkward to move.
Take Down The Decorations
And unless you are storing the tree vertically, with unbreakable ornaments, you will need to take any lights, tinsel and decorations off and store those safely. Lights can be wound around a reel to keep them tangle free. Many decorations are fragile and may need to be stored in a soft storage box with good protection around it.
This really should be done as soon as Christmas is over but unless it is done in the time between Christmas and New Year, it will probably get left until there is a bit of time left over from putting the wreckage away! This is the bit about recording what went well and what could have been improved over Christmas. You may enjoy creating a Christmas journal for this, to last from year to year. If you haven’t the time or the money to develop a journal at the minute, get an old school exercise book, or anything you can write in and keep, to record what you need to remember.
I have included the turkey roasting times and oven temperature, the weights of vegetables I used (roughly) a reminder to get large foil and check my roasting tin is still ok. A list of fruit and veg I buy to last over the 4 days, boiling times for Christmas pudding, a reminder to get cream, the recipe for the favorite Turkey curry and turkey soup, etc. Anything that you only do at Christmas and might forget about by next Christmas. While you might enjoy coloring in a journal and recording all this in different styles of penmanship, the important thing is to write it down or record it for next year, so you don’t make the same mistakes as this year (if you did). I also write down the number of cards I posted out, so I can buy enough for next year and the correct number of stamps.
IF you have the money available and the available space, and only if, then see whether any of the shops have sales on for Christmas cards, wrapping paper, money envelopes, colored sticky tape, labels, or anything that you USE for Christmas and don’t still have enough of for next year. You could also look out for any craft sales or children’s books that would be suitable for any children you buy for (remember they will be a year older). If your finances are not in a good way of going, forget about this point, it’s more important to get the money side sorted.
Now is the time to take a good hard look at your finances. Christmas can be a very big drain on the purse or wallet if you let it. And the credit card bills will be coming in to roost shortly. If you have several cards to pay and are worried about how to pay them, get advice on debt EARLY. If your debt is worrying but not at crisis point, then pay the minimum off on all cards and pay extra off on the card with the highest rate of interest to bring it down as fast as possible. If the interest rate is the same on all the cards, then pay the extra off on the card with the least debt on it, then move onto the next. The reason for that is that you will be able to pay it off fastest and then you can spread any available money between fewer cards. If you do not know WHY you got into debt and are not sure how to get out of it, then I suggest you buy and read the GOOD book – the Get Out Of Debt book by Pam Young – ignore any other books of the same name. Pam Young is the real thing. She was in massive debt and found a way to get out of debt and cut up her credit card. You can do it too. This book is also SERIOUSLY FUNNY!
If you really want to see the credit card funeral, you can watch this here.
It is also extremely funny and shows a judge performing a funeral service for credit cards at a convention where people decided to become debt free, despite having large debts owing.
Check that you have taken down all your Christmas cards, your tree, decorations, lights, tinsel etc and that they are now stored safely where you won’t trip over them but you can access them easily next December.
Get your Christmas card list started, completed or updated for next year.
Check your finances and make plan to improve them if necessary.
Record any necessary information in your Christmas journal, so you have your recipes, times, oven temperatures and other plans ready to remind you at the critical moment.
If your finances are sorted, you could consider whether there are any small items you could buy ahead for next year. Alternatively, start saving money towards the cost of next Christmas but only if your credit cards are sorted. If you owe any money, get it paid off as soon as possible.
Excellent Practical Ways To Actually Recover Quickly From Christmas
Christmas is over, gone, past, finished and done with – for this year! But what about NEXT Christmas? Did this Christmas go with a bang for you? Was it the best ever? Could it have been better?
I am not talking about your personal world because things can happen that we can do nothing about, that we can’t plan for and heartbreak can happen at any time. But if your Christmas plans did not work out, if your home looks like a garbage tip, if you were stressed out to the max, along with your credit cards and you are not looking forward to a long January with very little in the bank and big bills waiting to be paid then let’s look and see whether we can do something NOW to make sure NEXT Christmas goes more like the way you would like it to.
Easily Work Out What Went Wrong For You
Holiday depression and post holiday depression are very common, especially during and after Christmas. There can be many triggers; loneliness, family rows, the time of the year (the cold and dark), feelings of alienation from what is going on, etc. If you feel depressed – whether post Christmas or just generally depressed – please seek medical advice. There are many ways these days of helping people with depression and you shouldn’t just get told to “pull yourself together”! Please seek help now.
Totally separate from health concerns, there are many common themes to post-Christmas upsets, rows and annoyance over what did or did not happen. While it may not be possible to change what has happened, it is certainly possible to start planning now, so that next Christmas will be better. Ignoring it means setting yourself up for a repeat of what you did not enjoy this time round. If you want next Christmas to be better, start planning now, to ensure a better Christmas for you and your family and friends.
Overspending at Christmas is a common complaint AFTER the event. If you have overspent, then you need to get your finances back into good order and THEN start planning for next Chrsitmas
Not enough Money
The old saying is that “you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”, that is, you must make do with what you have. That’s old advice but still sound. When our finances dipped, I told my kids NOT to buy me a Christmas present, after all, I actually had everything I needed and I definitely didn’t need something to clutter me up further! I also told them that I would spend less on them at Christmas, to account for getting no present from them 🙂 and also told them I would spend more on them on their birthday, which helped spread the financial load. I also told them that there was a financial limit and that they could have their present in cash if they preferred. They did! I also set a limit on what I would spend on the grandchildren, so they all had the same.
There are lots of areas that can be planned and prepared well ahead of time and with a good calendar and perhaps a journal or diary, it’s possible to have a stress free Christmas if you want it, with no planning disasters. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee no natural disasters but you cannot do much about those.
Not Ready In Time
Christmas comes on the same day each year – surprise, surprise, so a countdown can help get everything planned and managed in good time.
Home looks Like Disaster Zone
After Christmas, it can take some time to take down the decorations and the house may look bare without the tree and the lights but a bit done each day soon gets it completed. Packing everything away carefully will make next Christmas a lot easier.
Family and friend Rows
Unfortunately, holidays at all times can be marred by family rows, especially if fuelled with alcohol. If you find Christmas spoilt for you EVERY year, maybe it is time to consider NOT inviting the offending family member?
Important Revealed Here – How To Have An Awesome NEXT Christmas
Next Christmas starts here. I will be sharing storage, clearing and planning tips with you to help make next Christmas even better.
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