Wow! September is really flying by! I can't believe we are almost headed into the Holiday season! I know what you are thinking, "OMG Cindy please don't rush it! Christmas is SUCH a stressful time of year!" Well, I will tell you that I used to feel the same way. I became obsessed with perfection, over abundance, and gave myself a healthy dose of agita with trips to the grocery store, wracking my brain for the PERFECT gift; (OMG, and then WRAPPING all of them!) more trips to the grocery store (OOPS! Forgot to check how much sugar I had BEFORE I started making cookies!)! Oh! Then there is BAKING the COOKIES!!!!!!
Year after year, it was an endless cycle of perpetual unorganized mayhem.
If only Christmas could feel like Thanksgiving....food, family, and fun! (Notice I put food in front of family. Lol)
Can you relate? (If not, I’m sure you know someone who fits this description!)
OK so how did I turn it around? Read on!
My first step was to acknowledge the obvious fact that Christmas comes the SAME time EVERY year! There aren't any surprises here! All I needed to do is some simple STRATEGIC planning, and I would be all set!
Here are my easy steps to limit your stress during the holiday season; use this guide to help you organize your holiday prep!
Step 1 - Make out your Christmas list and plan your meal by the first week of October!
Make out your Christmas list - I’m not saying figure out exactly what you are going to buy everyone by the beginning of October; just a list of people you would like to buy things for; not what you are buying for them. You can either do it by hand or on your computer. I have a Christmas Gift, Cookie Gift, and Holiday menu list file on my computer; I print the file, and I am ready to rock and roll!
Plan your meal - my husband and I host Christmas and Easter; and every year, we would rack our brains trying to figure out what to cook for dinner. My husband used to work in the culinary industry, and he is the man on how to plan, cook and serve meals. He came up with the idea of having a set menu for both holidays. “Why not?” he said, “You have the same meal at Thanksgiving and no one complains about the menu being the same; everyone looks forward to it!” And that was when our traditional Holiday Menu was born: carrot ginger soup, signature salad, leg of lamb, roasted redskin potatoes. I make the soup a day ahead of time(tastes EVEN better the next day). The rest of the meal isn’t that labor intensive, and everyone LOVES it! I have a client that makes a tray of lasagna ahead of time and freezes it. On Christmas morning, she pops it in the oven, makes a salad and garlic bread, and she has a traditional meal that her family looks forward to every single year!
Step 2 - Time to set up some dates on your calendar. I have all my “to do” dates set up on my phone, and on my calendar on my wall; I like the phone alerts and the visual of my wall calendar as well.
October 1st - I print my gift and cookie list, and the day’s menu, and put it in a bright colored, cheery folder!
October 8th - I look at my Christmas list, and start writing gift ideas (super cool hint; I have a bookmark folder on my phone and computer that is titled ‘Gifts”. Throughout the year, if I see something I think someone might like, I bookmark it and save it to that folder. I also have one named “Wish List” that I save for myself. This way I have a list of things I could buy if I want to treat myself, and if anyone wants any gift ideas for me, I could send them the link to the page, and now they have some really great gift ideas for me that i am sure to like! You can also set up lists on Amazon!). I decide what gifts I am going to buy, and what gifts I am going to make. I start with the little ones first; they are so easy because any toy from Toys R Us and they’re happy as a clam! With my other family members, I don’t go crazy here; just something thoughtful for each person on my list. Hey, if they want money or a gift card, then that’s what they get.(I know I LOVE getting gift cards to my favorite store!), and that way my loved ones truly get what they are hoping for. I will make up a gift box or bag for them and add some cookies, “stocking stuffer” presents, a homemade gift, or a Christmas ornament. I make it personal for them, and things that they like. The older kids really love this, and they look forward to my little “gift bags”every year!
I make a target date to have the bulk of my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving; as soon as I buy a gift, I come home and wrap it! (You can always store the gifts in a big plastic tub in your basement so they are out of sight!)
Weekend after Thanksgiving - The tree goes up. We don’t decorate it until Christmas Eve, however we do plug it in and enjoy the lights until it is ready to decorate. Time to take inventory of my baking goods!
December 4th - I make a double batch of my grandmother’s cookie dough recipe, and put it in the freezer to make at a later date to send off to my relatives in Virginia. She always made these for the holiday; it wouldn’t be Christmas without them!
December 11th - make batches of drop cookies in portions and freeze. I learned this when I have my nephews over to help make cookies; they can’t be bothered with the mixing part; they want to BAKE!!!! Make the dough, scoop it out onto a parchment lined cookie tray and freeze until just set, place in mason jars or ziplock bags in the freezer. ( I actually always have a mason jar with a few cookies ready to bake on hand!)
December 12th - Bake cookies for my relatives in Virginia, and send out!
December 18th - Cookie baking day for my family!
December 20th - Final touches on Christmas menu; order lamb.
December 24th - Time to put the ornaments on the tree! We watch my favorite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and decorate away!
And now that you have preplanned your Christmas stuff; you can plan for yourself because you deserve to look fabulous for the holidays!
Prebook your hair appointments - I am getting booked up fast! Book your hair appointments from now until December to ensure that you can get the appointment times and days that work the best for you!
While we are talking about hair…
Is your hair a little “sad” from a little too much Summer? For those of you who know me, you know how much I am in LOVE with Olaplex! It is truly revolutionary; an Olaplex Stand Alone Restructuring Treatment rebuilds damaged hair! I also love to add it to my lightening formulas to keep hair it’s healthiest! If you haven’t heard me talk about Olaplex, ask me about it the next time you see me!
That’s all for now, love! I thank you so much for being a part of my life; it is truly you that keeps me going!