Christmas is now a little over a month away and while some of us think nothing of starting our Christmas decorating and planning, others feel as though we’ve just set out our fall decor.
For those of us who want to enjoy Christmas with less stress, here are a few ways to plan ahead for a more enjoyable Christmas season.
1. Inventory your Christmas decorations
Take out all your Christmas decorations and sort them in three piles: use/keep, broken, and donate. If you’re like me, you buy a few things each year, and your Christmas decor can get out of hand. Go through your things and purge them before you decorate, so you won’t have to worry about it later.
2. Decide whom you’re shopping for and map out your Christmas budget
Of course, the easiest way to manage Christmas gift shopping is to start early and plan a budget and stick to it. I like to write out a list with the name of each person I’m shopping for and a gift idea and suggested price. I don’t always stick with the gift idea, but I do usually stay within budget.
3. Plan tablescapes and menus ahead of time
It may sound crazy to plan ahead how you’re going to set your table, but planning your table decor and securing all needed items ahead of time will make things much easier. Planning out menu items will also help you to stick to your budget and your shopping list as well.
4. Take your Christmas card photo and order cards now
Take your photo now so you can get the Christmas cards ordered in plenty of time. Once your cards are ordered, you can address them a few at a time before dropping them in the mail, or for a little extra money, pay someone else to address them. It will be much less stressful!
What do you do to ensure a less stressful holiday season?
Today is not just a day off work. It’s not a three day weekend, or an excuse to have cookouts and tailgate. Today is for celebrating our military personnel, both past and present.
Celebrate with parties, cookouts, or fireworks if you must, but remember that today is about the selfless sacrifices of many people on our behalf, for our benefit. As you spend time celebrating and being thankful for our military ladies and gentlemen today, remember to pay it forward and do something unexpectedly kind for someone else today.
Last year, Americans spent about 19.7 billion on cards, flowers and candies for Valentine’s Day. This year, it is believed that Americans will spend on average $138 per person on the holiday.
But why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day each year? And who is St. Valentine? History.com says this:
The Catholic Church recognizes three different St. Valentines. One story involves Emperor Claudius III of Rome, who decided single men made better soldiers. As a result, he outlawed marriage. St. Valentine found the marriage ban to be unfair, so he defied the Emperor and married the soldiers in secret. When his actions were discovered, he was put to death.
Other stories suggest St. Valentine may have been killed for helping imprisoned Christians escape their harsh conditions. Yet another story says an imprisoned Valentine sent the first Valentine himself to his jailer’s daughter. He even signed it, “From your Valentine,” an expression we still use today.
While Valentines Day has pagan roots, the holiday became associated with love in the Middle Ages. The earliest written Valentines were thought to be from around 1400. The oldest known valentine in existence is from 1415, and was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife who was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Today, we celebrate Valentine’s Day with festivals, parades, gifts, and spending time with our loved ones.