That wonderful (wink! wink!) time of the year is here. Each year I invest serious energy into turning our family’s focus toward the true reason for this glorious season vs. turning into a consumer driven crazy mama tackling all the gift giving. In addition, our talented crew of organizers are busier than ever decorating clients trees and mantles for holiday parties and clearing out storage rooms (aka bedrooms) for visiting guests galore. So we all have to move into organizing orbit to get it all done not only for our families, but our clients as well. Deep breath…iiinnn and ooouttt…repeat with me…iiinnn and ooouttt. I hope this month’s newsletter adds more sparkle and less stress to whatever holiday you celebrate! Everything is better with a touch of sparkle…true fact, not personal opinion…Santa told me so himself!
1 – Show your love to Teachers and Vendors at Valentine’s Day vs. the Holiday Season.
It will the remove the burden of tackling too many tasks on your existing overfilled plate. In addition, your gift will be more appreciated during a time that is less chaotic and the receiver will be surprised to be graced a gift that month. You can still wrap the gifts using any holiday leftover paper or ribbons with red, silver or white. Gives you more time to plan this month and next to buy, wrap and write a thinking of you card. Add a pink or purple heart and its a double win and done!
2 – Consider a more creative and less consumer driven approach to gift giving.
Last year Phil proposed gift giving become gravely simplified for all extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Frankly, we ran out of gift ideas and it turned into a massive impersonal gift card exchange…Boorrring and rather lame we felt. Instead we proposed everyone buy and wrap (1) gift valued no more than $30. Gifts were placed on the coffee table, people drew a number which indicated their gift selecting order. Person #1 selects and unwraps their first gift and places it on the table near them. Person #2 can select either a NEW unwrapped gift or STEAL an already opened gift. If a gift was stolen from you then you can either select an new unwrapped gift or steal from another. To make things even more exciting, we allowed gifts to be stolen twice! The cousins followed suit with their own kids gift exchange shortly after watching ours! Everyone was quite skeptical on this tradition at first, but must say it brought our family together in a way that brought such tremendous laughter and memories we will be repeating it again this year!
3 – Reduce Your Décor Inventory
One year I was just flat out mentally and physically exhausted come December. I purposely put up less décor as a test to see if it felt “less Christmas” in my mind and home. In fact…the exact opposite happened! It was the most relaxing and enjoyable Christmas to date! I savored the season even more since there was less work to decorate and more energy to drink hot cocoa with my kids while staring at the twinkle lights before bedtime. After that year, I reduced my décor down to one 18 gal tub for holiday lights, one for ornaments and one for inside home décor. That is more than enough to put up and take down each year without turning into a sour, grumpy Grinch.
4 – Give back to … YOURSELF!
In the spirit of the “Giving Season” it is important to add ourselves to our list of gifting…heck yeah! For me, that gift would be a post holiday spa day at a local resort. The deals are great, the holiday hosting is behind me, so I can finally untangle my mind and unwind in peace. I love having that day to look forward to before it rolls over to the next year. As I write this post, it is reminding me to book my appointment soooo… I best get on it and give back to ME…oh yes please!
Nothing’s better when a random last minute solution soars above to be a killer kitchen hack! One morning before leaving on a long family road trip I noticed that pantry potatoes sprouted buds, therefore would turn rotten and stinky upon our return. Dang it! For those that know Phil and I, we have a zero food waste program at our house. How could I chop up a half a sac of potatoes as quick as possible while the boys were loaded in the car? I saw our apple slicer gadget sitting out and thought why not try it out. Pure slicing heaven! I then tossed the slices into a freezer bag, seasoned with kosher salt, pepper, parsley and oil. Shook up the sealed bag and laid them all flat in the freezer. The center core pieces were sliced, seasoned and bagged separately for they would cook at a different rate being smaller. Now your apple slicer gadget is good for fruits and vegetables!