Happy Friday to all. Hopefully where ever you might be, the weather there isn’t half a gross as it is here. I have to say y’all, I am just so over this humidity. It is near about the end of November and it is hot as blue blazes outside. What’s a girl gotta do for a weather change around here? Enough of my fussing.
On a more “merry” note, Thanksgiving is next week! WOO HOO. I honestly adore the whole kit and caboodle that comes along with Thanksgiving. Now that does not mean that I, by any means, am a good cook. It would be a stretch to even say that I am a decent cook, but I do make a mean deviled egg. Being that the cooking can’t be left to me, aside from chopping onions and what not, I get to really enjoy the family, friends, food, and booze. (she says with a grin.)
For most people, the end of Thanksgiving brings the start of holiday decorating. But not for me. At An Orderly Abode, Christmas can be a very busy time of year. Being that I am a Seasonal Decorator, I start holiday decorating early (so I have time to fit everyone in). This year’s first client was 2 weeks before Thanksgiving! That might seem a bit premature, but it was not a residential home. It was a hair salon. So, that makes it okay. Right? What am I saying? I don’t have to justify this! Some crazies leave their holiday decorations up ALL year long! Besides, it’s the happiest time of year. That is reason enough to enjoy it even sooner.
Many of you might consider this annual ritual of decorating to be a dreadful one. Be not afraid. With a few of these simple tips and tricks, this year’s holiday season will not be spent in disorder and chaos, but rather in great delight!
Here are some of my most favorite and effortless ideas to keep you in order this year.
1. Simplify card giving.
The Dreaded Christmas Card. It seems like such a daunting task, and things are crazy/busy enough during the holiday season. How about an automated contact list. Yes, it seems so technological and impersonal. But it really isn’t. Besides, we might as well get on the technology bandwagon soon enough. Everyone else is. The process is quite simple. All you have to do is enter your friend’s and family’s contact info into a mailing label format in Word. Print, peel, and stick! Undemanding mailing as it’s finest! And for those of you who feel like taking it to ANOTHER LEVEL … Transfer that contact list into a spreadsheet, using separate columns for each category: name, address, birthday, age, gifts purchased, and gift ideas. Trust me, knowing who needs what, and who is finished, can greatly reduce your time shopping.
2. Great gifting.
With the holiday season comes HOLIDAY PARTIES. A lots of them! Take the stress out of these socials with a bit of pre-planning.
Whether you have an entire room, closet, or dresser drawer, designate one space for gift wrapping and gifts. Everything needs a home, and if everything is in it’s home, it will make getting out of the door a much quicker task. Throughout the year I like to accumulate an assortment of hostess gifts (candles, accessories, wine, bath salts, etc.). Keeping all of these little happies in a home close to my gift wrapping things, makes taking a gift so effortless.
3. Lovely lights.
The hassle of hanging lights comes down to one important factor. The tangles. Let’s face it. Typically, we are the ones who sit around de-tangling strand after strand of white lights, while the “muscle man” does the hanging. If we eliminate the tangles all together, we could save ourselves the grief. So here is what I do. I go with the individual approach.
One strand at a time, test each set before storing away. If there are any dead bulbs, replace them now. Toss the strands that do not work.
Make a loop with each strand and wrap the ends around the loop (as shown).
Store each individual strand in its own sealed one-gallon Ziploc bag. This will prevent one from getting tangled with another. Leave some air in the bag to act as a cushion that will protect the bulbs.
Keep all extra bulbs and fuses together in their own Ziploc bag.
Stack the sealed bags in a large storage container. If possible it is best to avoid storing Christmas decorations in the attic or basement (because of the temperature changes and moisture).
4. Organizing ornaments.
When it comes to decorating and “un-decorating” when the season is over, organization is key. With a good system, it can be done in a jiffy.
Important* … Containers are crucial! Designate large containers for each category (lights, garland, fragile ornaments, tough ornaments, kitchen, etc.). Don’t forget to label these containers.
There are many methods out there for keeping ornaments safe and organized. For fragile ornaments, I prefer to wrap each ornaments individually in tissue paper before placing in plastic bin. For other, not so fragile ornaments, a segmented cardboard box works wonders.
The Container Store sells an excellent option for ornament storage (that I have had my eye on for a while).
Here are some ideas to inspire you while packing up your ornaments this year. Recycling is a great “on the house” option to keep in mind.
5. Go green.
My best solution for the time consuming storage issue that comes along with the holiday season, is GO GREEN. Taking the time to unpack and pack up all of the wreaths and garlands can really be a bummer. While it may not be as economical, fresh greenery is a big time saver. Not to mention its other perks… That yummy sprucy smell we all love so much, and the timeless style that comes with simple, live greenery. Going Green might just be my favorite part of the holidays!