I am a list maker---so I sit at my little table in my computer room with pen and yellow pad and I begin with two topics---Inside my home and outside my home. Inside is my list of---How I want to decorate---What China I am using and my centerpiece---and my Christmas Menu.
My Outside list is---Sending Christmas cards---Grocery List for Christmas Dinner---List for baskets I make for older neighbors who cannot get out to go shopping. Believe me this will take two weeks to complete---but it helps me to stay organized and kicks stress out of my life.
I don't wait until the holidays to start preparing. If I see something in January that I know someone on my list would love I will get it. If it's something they need I don't wait to give it. The problem is remembering where I put it away so I don't find it a week or two after Christmas.
I try to update my list as the year progresses based on interactions with the individual. I make sure to include things I can knit, crochet, sew or make that they have expressed an interest in. For kids I love to give gifts that help them learn a craft or improve a skill. I try to get gifts for adults that suit the individual.
At 50 I no longer need to impress with expensive things I can't afford. And having a limited budget, and a lot of people on our list forces me to be creative and loving which is truly in the spirit of the holidays.
I turn on some Christmas tunes, get out my Charlie Brown holiday collection, put up the Christmas tree, bake some cookies, make hot cocoa, pick up some egg nog, and call it a day.
Though I do prepare much earlier by ensuring anything I need from the mall is handled by June! Mall traffic this time of year isn't on my list of favorites. Luckily I rarely have a use for the mall.
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