Hassle-Free Holidays

Note: You Weight Loss Wednesday gals, don’t forget to check in with us tomorrow…even if you blew it this week, okay? There will be a small incentive giveaway and lots of encouragement and newcomers are always welcome! See you then!

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How are your Christmas plans coming, cyber sisters? I know, I know….. it isn’t even past Halloween and no where near Thanksgiving week. Is it too early to be thinking about Christmas? Now, I am certainly not trying to be like the modern-day retailers who start putting out their Christmas merchandise IN SEPTEMBER, for the love of Rudolph! But I do think as busy women and moms, being a step or two ahead of the game can help keep us from feeling totally frazzled at the holidays.

So, about once a week for the next 8 weeks, I will be hopping on with little tips from my workshop The Holidays: A Time to Bless, Not Stress. I also have a few devotions running in November and December on Crosswalk.com and on our Proverbs 31 site that are related to this topic. My hope is that these posts will help you bless others and NOT stress yourself out at the holidays. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

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  • Each time you are out at the grocery or department store from now until Christmas, think “Stocking stuffers!” Peruse the clearance aisles and markdown bins in the toy, sports, health and beauty and clothing sections with your kids (and hubby, if you have one) in mind. It is so much easier to  find little, inexpensive items when you have 8 weeks of marked down merchandise to choose from, rather than running out to purchase them all on Christmas Eve.
  • Buy your Christmas cards now, if you send them. Once a week, take just 20 minutes or so to begin addressing the envelopes while you watch TV or a movie with your family. Or, if you are going to run off labels on your computer, make it your goal every night before bed to enter in one or two addresses. It will seem like a less daunting task this way. 
  • Writing a Christmas letter to send in the mail or through email? Start it NOW!!! Sweet one….DO NOT wait until 11:30 one might in mid-December to start it and then stay up all night to get it done. (Been there, done that, bought the shirt AND the hat!) :-)
  • Most cookies and fudges freeze well. If you are wanting to whip up a batch or two of many types of holiday treats, make one kind on each of the next 8 Saturday mornings. If you make a batch, usually 3 dozen, you’ll have 24 dozen goodies! Then you can arrange them on plates to give to neighbors, coworkers, teachers, the bus driver or mail carrier.
  • Start now to center your heart on the real meaning of Christmas. Read the account of Jesus’ birth from the Bible. This is found in Matthew 1:18-2:23 and Mark Luke 1: 26-2:52. Then, read it again. Read it at least once a week until many of the verses become cemented in your heart. This can enable you to stay focused on the real meaning of Christmas. 

Well, that is all for now. I have to scoot into town to pick up a few groceries before school and I want to leave time to swing by those mark down bins. I’ve already gotten four stocking stuffers so far and I’m on a roll!

Preparing His Holiday Blessings,

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  • I’ve already joined the weight loss band wagon and now I’m on board for a “Hassle Free” Christmas as well. These are some great tips, that I’ll be taking to heart right away!

  • Karen,

    Thank you for encouraging us to think ahead. I plan to bake some goodies for friends and your 8-week strategy for bake-ahead cookies was just what I needed! Since most of my Christmas shopping is completed (lacking two small gifts), I’m looking forward to the next get-ahead project of mixing up those cookies! A less stressful season will mean more time to focus on its true meaning: the birth of Christ that leads us to his life, death, burial, and resurrection!

    By the way, I never thought of the homemade slice-and-bake strategy for cookies which you put forth in “A Life that Says Welcome.” That idea has already come in handy in our house! Thank you for all of those helpful hints that make hospitality more natural and less stressful.

    ~Kimberly

  • Great ideas, Karen…I think I will definitely start with the cookie-making idea and try to do one kind a week…..I have started to purchase a few small gifts with Bath & Body Works coupons I got (where you buy something for $10 then get a free full-size lotion or shower gel or the like) so I have been stock-piling those and some jar candles too from there with coupons.
    I wanted to also thank you for sending me your “A Life that Says Welcome” book (for having won it on Wendy’s blog)..I just got it in the mail yesterday and was starting to read it last night, thank you, I know there will be some good advice & resources in there!
    Blessings,
    Kelly Lake

  • Karen…I love that you are doing this!!!

    I am a plan ahead person, too, but I have not planned for Christmas this far in advance before…you have given me some great ideas!

    I can also see that starting to bake and buy now will help with our budget…spreading out the spending over time helps avoid our account being hit all at once.

    Thanks!
    Connie Hughey