Eat At Home has two great and simple recipes for homemade flavoured salts that would be a perfect last minute gift for the cook on your list. Learn to make homemade Seasoned Salt and Italian Herbed Salt.
Here we are, week five of the 8 Weeks to a Simpler 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 weekend. Sunday to be exact. So that puts the focus of this 8 Weeks to a Simpler 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:
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!
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.
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?
Is making some sort of advent calendar on your Christmas to do list? Here are 10 homemade advent calendar ideas to get you started!
I Can Teach my Child shows you how to make some easy advent boxes.
If you’ve got some empty toilet paper rolls, this advent calendar idea is for you! Morning Creativity shows you how to create a tp advent calendar.
I’ll be doing this next year for Sienna . Giving Up on Perfect gives 25 Christmas book suggestions that you can wrap up year after year. Unwrap a book each night leading up to Christmas for story time!
If your family likes to do certain activities each December, you may like this envelope advent calendar idea from All Things Beautiful.
Unwrap a simple Christmas ornament everyday in December with this advent calendar idea from The Marion House Book!
Make this super cute Santa advent calendar using toilet paper rolls and the template provided at pysselbolaget!
Here’s another advent calendar made out of toilet paper rolls from Northstory.ca! Who knew toilet paper rolls could look so cute?
I think this tree idea is so neat and would look especially cute on our mantle! Visit Pink Suede Shoe for details.
Which idea do you like the best? Do you like to do an Advent Calendar in your home?
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 and the opposite of simplifying!
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 toddler 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 Simpler 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:
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 50% off for a limited time.
Snapfish.ca is offering 20% off your entire purchase with coupon code NOV25SITECA13 until November 30, 2013. Also, get 20 free prints if this is your first time ordering from Snapfish.
Save up to 40% off cards from Shutterfly for a limited time!
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 going up tomorrow about 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:
Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a Simpler Christmas series so far:
There are a lot of 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 lots of fun holiday things this year:
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.
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.
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 life stuff added in.
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.
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 make 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?
Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a Simpler Christmas series so far:
While I’m fairly certain that many of you are striving to live daily life more simply in terms of less stuff, less waste and less expenses, this series is focusing on simplifying the process of Christmas. Focusing on the organization aspect so that you don’t give too much of yourself in terms of finances or time. Christmas can become a nuisance rather than a joyful, meaningful time if we’re constantly feeling stressed. This goes to say, I think the best way to have a simpler, more peaceful Christmas is to do your holiday tasks a little at a time. Tasks on our holiday to-do list can easily morph from fun to miserable when we’re too busy or wandering without a plan.
This week’s task is to plan your gift list.
It’s definitely not too early to plan your gift giving, especially if you plan on making some homemade gifts. Since you’ve hopefully planned your holiday budget already, you should know exactly how much money you have for gifts.
This week you should:
I’ve been working hard the past few weeks to put together a holiday gift guide that features thoughtful, budget-friendly gift ideas. I’ll have that available for you tomorrow! I sure hope you like it!
But for now, what’s the hardest part about gift giving for your family? What are your solutions?
This year, I’m on a mission. Not only to simplify my own Christmas season, but I’m hoping I can help you as well! Enter, 8 Weeks to a Simpler Christmas!
For the past several years, I’ve held a Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guide, featuring wonderful Canadian retailers that provide great service and great gifts for anyone on your list. (Take a look at the 2012 gift guides here.) I loved doing that year after year, but this year, I decided it was too much to put on my plate. It was a tough decision as I loved providing you all with the chance of crossing off a gift from your list with all the giveaways! Not to mention working with all the wonderful business owners!
This year is different, simpler if you will. My goal is to help guide you in making your Christmas season simpler by providing you a weekly countdown of sorts to get everything in order.
There will be a ton of printables, checklists, articles full of tips and inspiring ideas to aid you.
Since it’s called 8 Weeks to a Simpler Christmas, we’ll be getting started next Wednesday, October 30. I’ll have the first post up with your first task. Every following Wednesday, there will be a new post with a new task for you to focus on. Scattered throughout each week I’ll throw in some other fun posts.
How does that sound? Are you in? Do you want a simpler Christmas?
So, your house is a bit of a mess. Not only do you not have time to devote to a good cleaning, you may be overwhelmed at the thought of starting! While looking around at all the mess, you may think that nothing will make a difference because the mess is too great.
There are 5 main items that get scattered throughout to create chaos in your home. Learn to tackle these 5 cleaning tasks and you’ll find they can make a huge difference to the cleanliness level of your home!
Quick Cleaning task #1 is to do the dishes! Dirty dishes seem to multiply quickly and can even gather in places they shouldn’t! It’s important to keep up with the dishes so the old food doesn’t attract fruit flies or mold. So get going on those dirty dishes; I’m always amazed at the difference a clean counter can make in my home!
Quick Cleaning task #2 is to pick up the dirty laundry and clothes piles. If clothes strewn about have taken over your home, it’s time to take care of this task. Getting all the clothes laundered and back into the closets and dressers will make your house look much cleaner. First of all, go from room to room with a laundry basket or two and gather up all the dirty laundry. Next of course, is to wash and dry all the laundry. I find that if I don’t fold and put away the clean clothes right away, they’ll sit in the laundry basket, which quickly becomes a mess!
Quick Cleaning task #3 is to gather the garbage and recycling! I think this is the easiest task because all you have to do is wander around your house and put all the garbage and recycling items into bags and then take them to the trash can or recycling box. I find when I let recycling items pile up, our house can look messy very quickly. So once a week or so, I’ll wander around and pick up old newspapers, junk mail and empty cardboard boxes and put them away in the blue bag.
Quick Cleaning task #4 is to pick up the toys. This is the battle I’m fighting with right now. Toys seem to be strewn about all the time, making the floors seem very messy! While Sienna (18 months) will put the toys away for fun, she’ll promptly take them out again to play. If you have older children, make a game out of putting the toys away. Or, if you have the willpower or some time, why not purge some of the unused toys to create more space?
Quick Cleaning task #5 is to take care of the paper. Between my husband and I, we can create quite the mess with our individual paper piles. Piles of paper drive me bananas, but I can’t seem to stay on top of the piles on a regular basis. Nevertheless, here are a couple of things that help me stay organized:
Any of these quick cleaning tasks will give you relief from a messy house and help your house to appear cleaner, but don’t feel you have to do all 5 in the same day! Why not attempt one task a day?
I hope that these quick cleaning tasks will give you a starting point to help you keep thing mess-free and organized!
Here’s a great tip to help wrangle all your owners manuals!
Use a binder with plastic inserts then keep your manuals in the inserts! Have them all in one place!