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Holiday Planning 101....Getting a Jump-Start

It feels like the calm before the storm.  Quiet Sunday morning; Eddie is already at work and the two little dogs are wrestling around in the floor at my feet....

But, the real action will get started this week! 

The holiday season is barreling down on us with gaining momentum.  Only three short days until Thanksgiving and its festivities.  I can't count today because most of my afternoon will be tied up with an open house at one of my listings.  Please say a prayer that this place gets sold soon!!!

I've done what I can in advance to try to allow for flexibility and enjoyment of the actual holidays ~

My menu for a simple, but traditional Thanksgiving dinner is planned and my shopping list prepared.  The kids have plans with their Dad's side of the family for the noon meal, so we are having an early supper at our home.  This will actually end up working to everyone's advantage.  I don't have to be up at the crack of dawn to start the turkey, so I might actually get to watch a bit of the Thanksgiving Day parades on TV!  On the menu ~ turkey, cornbread dressing, yams, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce and soft rolls.  I'm trying to talk my Mom into making her fruit salad.  And we are doing a variation on traditional desserts with pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate coca-cola cake.  My mouth is watering just typing this!

I went ahead and did the bulk of the interior Christmas decorating this past week.  Oh, I know there are lots "nay"sayers who feel the tree going up prior to Thanksgiving is a travesty.  But, honestly, if I hadn't done it early, I would be so stressed out trying to get it done this next Friday and Saturday.  (Especially when you consider the debacle of having a pre-lit tree with 2/3 of the lights not working and have to run to the store for a new one!  Honestly, that is not a boat I would like to have ended up in on black Friday...)  I'm still tweaking and finding things in crates that I'd forgotten about, but overall I love the way it is turning out this year.  Every year is a bit different and this year we had to find a new place for the tree since we've rearranged the living room a bit.  Although the pencil-slim tree I found isn't everyone's cup of tea, it is working very well for us.  And with as many ornaments as we have, it truly looks "loaded"!

Oh, Christmas Tree!!! - 2012

I've gotten a lot of our Christmas shopping done over the past month and wrapped a good portion of it yesterday.   I can remember years when I've been shut off in a bedroom on Christmas Eve, still wrapping presents, because I put things off until the last minute.  Let me tell you, that is not very enjoyable!  More like STRESSFUL!  So, I've tried to eliminate that stress this year.  And, even though Christmas giving is scaled back in our family (because we're all pretty much in the same boat financially and don't have lots of money to spend on expensive gifts), I was grateful for each gift I wrapped, no matter how small, because it was chosen with thought and love. 

But the most important thing I have been trying to do this year is prepare my heart for the wonder and joy of the season ~ taking the time to reflect on blessings and be thankful.  I can only do so much to eliminate some of the physical stress during this busy time of year.  But, if I can prepare my heart and maintain a sense of peace and thanksgiving, it will be easier to deal with unexpected stresses and outside factors when they arise.  Although this is something to work on throughout the year, it seems to be even more critical at this time of year when we are so bombarded with activities, expectations and emotions.   

I'm sure every one of you has some sort of plan for getting through the holidays with your sanity intact.  Everybody handles it differently and if you've got some tips to share, I hope you will leave a comment below.  


  1. As rushed and crazy as it seems (especially with Jemma's birthday the week before Christmas!), I try to just cherish each moment and watch for the sparkle in her eyes as she takes it all in!

  2. My mother-in-law was our holiday coordinator. She baked and cooked and decorated and made sure everyone got a little something. This will be our first holiday without her and we're all a little lost... but maybe this will be an opportunity for more of us to step up and make some memories together :)

  3. Beautiful post Janie! It sounds as though you are ready for Christmas! Doesn't it feel so good? I have wrapped presents on Dec. 24 in the past, and you are so right...its is stressful and NOT fun!
    Have a wonderful week! Angie xo


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