8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan your Food

I think this will be a fun week in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!  It’s all about food! Specifically, we’re going to plan our holiday menus.  You’ll want to think about:

  • Christmas dinner
  • Christmas brunch
  • Christmas eve
  • Boxing day

And well, any meal surrounding Christmas day.  My planning is quite simple.  My parents cook our Christmas brunch and dinner so all I have to do is bring the cheesecake and some baking!

For inspiration, I highly recommend taking a look through Pinterest.

While you’re planning out your dishes, be sure to start adding items to a grocery list.  You don’t want to forget anything!

To help you out, you’ll want to check out the Christmas dinner planner and grocery list that are available in the Holiday Planner, here.

Also be sure to print off the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas checklists to make sure you’re on track for the final week’s until Christmas day!

What will be on your holiday menu?  Leave it in the comments! Any food traditions you have to uphold?  How do you keep on budget?

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: Decorate and Plan your Baking

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: 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.  Thursday 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 all.

This year, focus on decorating simply. Bring out only your favourite decorations.  If you must buy something new, limit yourself to one or two things 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 do you 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 are some ideas from Simply Frugal to get you started:

Here is a free Baking List printable 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: Order Christmas Cards

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Order 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 two very busy little girls 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 for up to 50% off for a limited time.

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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.

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: Plan your Holiday Calendar

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: How to Plan Your Holiday Calendar

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 Simply Frugal store that should come in handy!)

Prioritize

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: Plan Your Gift List

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: How to Plan Your Gift List

Here we are, week two of the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!  I hope you had time to do last week’s task: your Holiday Budget!

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 more organized, 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:

  • Write down all the names of the people you have to purchase gifts for
  • Add gift ideas for each person

Take a look at this year’s Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guides that are available!  I hope it will help you find a ton of great affordable gift ideas!

But for now, what’s the hardest part about gift giving for your family? What are your solutions?

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”.

Not only do I want a more organized Christmas season of my own, I'm hoping I can help you as well! Introducing... the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!