8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Decorate and Plan your Baking

Decorate and Plan Your Baking

Here we are, week five of the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series.  That means there are only 28 days left until Christmas! Hopefully you’re feeling a bit more organized than usual because you’ve been following along with the series?

We have a “rule” in our house.  One that I actually grew up with so it sort of just stayed in place now that I have a home of my own. Christmas decorating (and Christmas music listening) doesn’t begin until December 1st.  Maybe you have that same “rule” in your home?  Either way, December 1st happens to be this week.  Monday to be exact.  So that puts the focus of this 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas post on Christmas decorating!  (I’m going to add in Christmas baking planning too since it’s nice to have a plan for all those parties and gifting opportunities.)

It’s easy to get carried away with Christmas decorating.  After all, the stores are really good at displaying Christmas decorations juuuust right, so you want to buy them.

This year, focus on decorating simply.  Bring out only your favourite decorations.  If you must buy something new, limit yourself to one thing.  Find contentment with what you already own.  (ahem, something I’m telling myself…)

Here are a few ways to decorate frugally for Christmas:

Buy Secondhand

Head to your local thrift stores to see if you can snag any good deals on Christmas decor, Christmas linens or even objects you can transform into holiday decorations!

Get your Craft on

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to get the whole family involved in creating some cute homemade decorations.  Pinterest is full of family friendly craft ideas to help make your home more festive.

Shop the sales

Even before Christmas you can find some great sales on Christmas decor.  There seems to always be some sort of Christmas light sale going on, especially at hardware stores.  You might even find some clearance deals on last years stock!

How to your save on Christmas decorations?

Now for the baking.  Start making a list of everything you want to make this year.  At some point this week, purchase all your baking supplies so you’re good to go whenever you have a spare moment.  When you start baking, make the items that can be frozen, first.

Here’s what I’ll be making this year:

Tomorrow I’ll have a free Baking List printable available for you to download that should come in handy!

What will be on your Christmas baking list this year?

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas


8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Order Christmas Cards

Buy those Christmas Cards

It’s about this time of year when I really start to get excited about the Christmas season.  I get a bit of an urge to turn on the Christmas carols and swap out my fall decor for some winter decorations.  Also, have you seen Pinterest lately?  This is the time of year when amazing Christmas stuff gets pinned!

Alas, it’s so easy to get carried away dreaming about all the projects you want to do.  Adding too many crafts, baking and activities can be overwhelming!

Every year I struggle with wanting to make all sorts of neat things to feature on Simply Frugal.  But the reality is, I have limited time with a very busy little girl underfoot and other responsibilities to deal with.  So any project I do accomplish has to be simple and quick.  Preferably something I can do in about an hour, including picture taking!

All this to say, you don’t have to pack your schedule full of Christmas activities, baking, crafting and shopping in order to have a festive and memorable season.

This is why I’m breaking down the steps to an organized Christmas by one task a week.  It’s good to have direction and a plan in place!  I know without a plan, I become quite scatterbrained! 😛  8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas is about creating a more relaxed Christmas season with just the right amount of extra projects and activities.

Here’s this week’s task:

Order Christmas Cards

Now, I realize that many of you are not likely to order custom Christmas cards but for those of you that do, now is a great time to do so!  Custom Christmas cards can take a while to arrive in the mail and if you want them to be sent out to friends & family in a timely fashion, I’d get on it this week. :)

Here are a few designs I love, along with some deals!


Vistaprint Canada has a great selection and currently offering their Christmas cards at 60% off for a limited time with the coupon code STOCKUP. (expires November 22, 2015)


Snapfish.ca is offering 70% off cards (set of 10 or more) with the coupon code DANCER until November 23, 2015.  Also, get 20 free prints if this is your first time ordering from Snapfish.


Shutterfly usually has some great coupon codes going that should save you a bundle on high quality cards!


Pink dot Design has a wonderful selection of Christmas cards!


Etsy also has a ton of shop owners who create beautiful custom cards and templates!

If you aren’t the type to order custom cards you can of course buy a set of boxed cards and add a photo and a letter if you wish!  That’s what I’ll be doing this year.  I bought a box of cards last year on clearance so I’ll be sticking in our family photo and hand delivering to friends and mailing to out of town family.

Oh, and I’ve got a post telling you how you can create your own FREE custom photo cards.  You won’t want to miss it!

This week along with ordering/buying Christmas cards, take care of these tasks as well:

  • buy stamps, envelopes, if necessary
  • write Christmas letter, if desired
  • put family photos inside, if desired

Do you send out Christmas cards each year?

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Ice Cream Sundae Kit

I’m a bit of an ice cream lover so this gift is really appealing to me! 😉  Create a special Ice Cream Sundae Kit like the one at Family Bites for someone on your list.  I also like that this is an edible gift so once it’s gone, it won’t be taking up precious storage space!


Homemade Christmas Gifts sidebar

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Winter Mix Cocoa Gift

This Winter Mix Cocoa Gift is the perfect, simple, consumable gift for the hot chocolate lover on your Christmas list!

This Winter Mix Cocoa Gift is the perfect, simple, consumable gift for the hot chocolate lover on your Christmas list!

I’m a big, big fan of consumable gifts. I like to give them and I like to receive them :)  This winter mix cocoa gift is perfect for a hostess gift, stocking stuffer, or for sticking in a care package! Really, the options are endless. It’s festive and versatile. (add different coloured candies if you want!)  Here’s how you can easily whip up a big batch for multiple jars of Winter Mix Cocoa:

Winter Mix Cocoa Gift


  • 5 Cups dry powdered milk
  • 1 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Cup powder coffee cream, original/regular flavor
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, to prevent sticking
  • Mini marshmallow bits
  • Blue and white sprinkles
  • Small glass jars
Winter Mix Cocoa Gift 2
  1. Combine the dry ingredients, mixing well.
  2. Add about 1/4 cup of hot cocoa mix to the bottom of the each jar and allow it to settle.
  3. Add in the mini marshmallow bits and blue & white sprinkles and fill to the top.
    *Each jar is about 1 serving when added to 8-10 oz of hot water or warm milk.



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A Homemade Christmas Gift: a Kids Workbench


See how you can transform a thrifted nightstand into a cool workbench that any little boy (or girl) is sure to love! This is a different take on the usual DIY play kitchen. :)


Homemade Christmas Gifts

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan your Holiday Calendar

There are so many fun things to do throughout the Christmas season. There is so much to do, there may not be enough time to do it all! Here are the steps to take if you want to get as many fun things in as possible.

There are so many fun things to do throughout the Christmas season.  Gingerbread house making, caroling, Christmas plays, cookie exchanges, dinner parties, Christmas light looking, craft making and even holiday movie watching.  There is so much to do, there may not be enough time to do it all!

Why won’t you be able to do everything you want to do?  Well, because there’s grocery shopping, laundry, dinner making and everyday life stuff that still has to happen!

This is where planning comes in really handy.  After all, life is busy, and it’ll be hard to get the fun things on the schedule if you don’t plan ahead.

Here are the steps to take if you want to do a lot of fun holiday things this year:

Grab your Calendar

First of all, grab your calendar and mark down all the things you know will be happening regardless of the holidays.  Doctor’s appointments, school activities, office parties…etc.

Talk as a Family

Next, you’ll want to gather the family to discuss all the activities each of you want to do.  Sledding? Cookie decorating party? Christmas play watching?  Brainstorm to your heart’s content.  Make sure to write down all the Christmas movies you want to watch and even the crafts you want to do. (I have a cool Holiday Bucket List included in the Holiday Planner that’s available in the new Simply Frugal store that should come in handy!)


Since there are likely more ideas than time, take a look over the calendar again and plan for the activities you can realistically accomplish.  Even with the regular everyday life stuff added in.

Back to the Budget

Before you get carried away with grandiose plans, go back to your budget.  What did you allot for fun?  The case may be that you’ll have to save some activities for future years.

Fill in your Calendar

Now fill in your calendar with all the activities that you can set in stone. Buy those concert tickets and finalize plans with friends, then put them on the calendar.  Make sure to allow for some quiet nights/days at home!

Holiday activities are supposed to be fun so don’t stress about doing everything.  Just make a point of doing the things you want to do instead of wishing they would happen. Planning in advance will make the season more relaxing.

I’d love to know, what’s one thing you’ll be adding to your calendar this year?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

100 Free Advent Calendar Activity Printables

100 Free Advent Calendar Activity Printables

I’m loving this twist on the typical candy or chocolate advent calendar! Download 100 free Advent calendar activity printables from Edventures with Kids.

A Homemade Christmas Gift: No Sew Superhero Mitts

Do you have a Superhero wannabe in your house? Then you’ve got to check out today’s homemade Christmas gift idea!  Create super cool, no sew superhero mitts!

No Sew Superhero Mitts

Do you have a Superhero wannabe in your house? Then you've got to check out today's homemade Christmas gift idea!  Create super cool, no-sew superhero mitts!

So, I love these mitts.  I actually want to keep a pair for myself, but fortunately for my nieces, they get to have them for Christmas! (Their Dad is going to be jealous…)  This project was so fun to do, mostly because it was so easy!  Quick and easy crafts are just my style 😉

How to make No Sew Superhero Mitts:

Supplies needed:

  • Child’s mittens in red ($1 at most retail stores)
  • Colored felt in yellow and blue
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue


  1. Begin by laying the mittens flat. Press them as flat as possible and lay them out in the direction they are worn. This way you can be sure you are applying the design so it rests on the top of the hand.
  2. Cut two yellow circles out of felt. Make sure they are even with each other and cut to fit the size of the mitten. Apply a generous amount of fabric glue and press them to the top of the mitten.
  3. Using your blue felt, cut out the letters to spell BAM. Don’t worry about making them perfect as comic book writing is usually a little wild! For our sample, we simply free-handed the letters.
  4. Apply glue to the letters and press them directly over the yellow circle. Hold in place until dry and secure.

Do you have a Superhero wannabe in your house? Then you've got to check out today's homemade Christmas gift idea!  Create super cool, no-sew superhero mitts!
Your no-sew hero mitts are now complete! When washing, turn them inside out and allow them to air dry. This will help protect the embellishment.


Homemade Christmas Gifts

The 2015 Simply Frugal Gift Guide is Here!



It’s gift-giving season, which means you’re either really excited about shopping for gifts, or in the beginning stages of holiday dread. :)

Gift-giving can be very overwhelming. Especially for the person who has everything! When I need a gift, the perfect gift in my mind, is something practical and memorable yet a bit extravagant (something they wouldn’t purchase themselves). Of course, my gift-giving has to be done within a budget, as I’m sure most of you do too.

Finding a budget friendly and unique gift can be challenging, especially as more and more people may be added to your Christmas list. This year, I want to give you a guide that features fabulous gift ideas based on different personalities or interests that you can shop from!

I’m pretty darn excited about this year’s gift guide because I think you’ll find a lot of great gift ideas for everyone on your list. Plus, since you’re getting this from Simply Frugal, the gift guide features frugal gifts ideas that are $30 or less!

In this gift guide, you will find:

  • 16 pages of gift ideas that don’t fit the typical “gifts for her/him” stereotype. Instead, each section is broken down into personality or interests – the Book Lover, Fashionista, Sports Fan, Photographer and so many more!
  • A carefully curated selection of items that won’t break the bank. All gifts are listed at $30 or less with a variety of price points for each category.
  • Inspiration to get your craft on and whip up a few homemade gifts. There are two pages of links to some of my favorite gift making tutorials. You’ll soon be wanting to create a heart-felt gift for everyone on your list!

This gift guide will solve all of your gift-giving dilemmas by making it really easy to find that perfect gift for everyone on your list.


Be sure to enjoy every page! I tried to make it really nice to look at (with my limited abilities) :)  It’s also really easy to shop right from your download. All you have to do is click, order, and wrap! Of course, I did my best to feature Canadian businesses as well as businesses that make shipping to Canada easy.

The 2015 Simply Frugal Gift Guide is my FREE gift to you. Just enter your email by clicking on the button below and I’ll send a copy straight to your inbox!


A Homemade Christmas Gift: iPad Case


Now this is cute for someone that would love a unique case to hold their iPad or tablet!  Learn how to make a DIY iPad case over at Oh So Lovely Vintage!


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