Monday, September 2, 2013

Preparing for Christmas (Yes, I know it’s only September!!!)

The holidays (especially Christmas) should be times of joy and peace and love and appreciation for the Savior. But often times those good feelings are overwhelmed by gift-buying anxiety and activity-scheduling stress and over-taxed finances and impossible demands on our time/energy/patience. SO I thought I would give a few tips I have learned over the years that might help you to have a more “Happy” Holiday season!!!

1.         Start buying gifts or putting aside money NOW. (Those of you who buy your gifts throughout the year – you’re way ahead of me – skip to suggestion 2) I saw an idea the other day about buying a gift card each week when you buy groceries. These can be used later to purchase gifts or can actually be given as gifts (my preference – takes out a step in the gift-giving process). Sometimes you can find sales, but even if you pay full price for what you buy you’re spreading out the expense (and the shopping) over four months instead of trying to do it all at once.
2.         If you still do Christmas cards, go through your list now (if your list is not on a computer – transfer it now – this will take longer this year but will save you hours in the long run). Make additions and deletions. And if you don’t know how to print labels, learn – both return address labels and ones addressed to the people on your list.
3.         Look through the winter clothes and pull out all the Christmas items. Determine what fits (all family members) and what doesn’t. This will reduce shopping for Christmas outfits later. I recommend that you discard the things that don’t fit (unless they will fit someone else in the future). But if you throw things away remember to hold out a few old-timers in case you get invited to an Ugly Sweater party!)
4.         Go ahead and have a family picture taken. That’s especially important if you have kids going off to college in the fall. The picture on your card doesn’t have to be in front of a Christmas tree. If you want to add a touch of the holidays you can have one of the kids hold a big candy cane or a sign that says Merry Christmas. Or if you really need a Christmas tree in the picture – go ahead and set it up. Then you’re about three months ahead of schedule!

New Book Give-Away for the month of September –
This month I am giving away a Halloween Gift box (yes, I know Halloween isn’t until October!!!) The winner will receive one of my books – autographed – that can be used as a Christmas gift if you already own it! It will also have some Halloween goodies to help you get your house ready for the FIRST upcoming holiday.

All you have to do for a chance to win is comment on my blog at least once during the month of September. NOTE: I have heard from several people that they were unable to comment. I don’t know what the trouble is (and I’m honestly not equipped to figure it out) but if you try to comment and can’t – just send an email to me at and I will enter you in the contest.

Good luck!!!!

Recipe of the Week -
Fresh Peach Dessert
Powdered sugar (2/3 cup crust) and (¼ cup whip cream)
1 cup butter, softened
2 pkg. graham crackers; crushed
10 medium fresh peaches; peeled & sliced (2 pkgs frozen can be substituted)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 pt. whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla

Mix cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, & butter. Save a small amount to sprinkle on top, press the rest into the bottom of a glass 9 x 13 pan. Whip the cream until almost set. Then add ½ tsp vanilla and ¼ cup powdered sugar and set aside. Mix the sweetened condensed milk with lemon juice. Place the peaches on the crust and pour the milk/lemon mixture on top. Spread the whipped cream on top of that and sprinkle with remaining crust. Refrigerate. (Does not store very well so only make what can be eaten within 24 hours – half the recipe if necessary)

Sorry there is no writing installment this week – I’ll pick up with Installment 6 next week)


Cathy said...

Such good ideas, especially getting a picture made. I've always just waited until December to do that but doing it now is a definite time saver!

NeverTrustASkinnyCook said...

Betsy, you and I have a LOT in common . . . I always start planning both Thanksgiving and Christmas by Labor Day . . . to me being organized is a state of mind (or a mindset) depending on how you look at it. Once my mind is organized and I start making out those eternal lists of mine, it is a rare thing that anything gets overlooked. It all gets done and I get to actually enjoy it too. Love your blog.

Sara said...

Christmas has always been my least favorite holiday. I have three kids birthdays that month, and by the time the actual day rolls around, I am so exhausted and stressed, and usually in a fight with my wonderful husband.
The kids are older now, they may not change their minds if I shop early, I am going to try it!

Wendy said...

I buy gifts all year long for Christmas.


Sara said...

Great ideas!!!

Lara said...

I loved looking at your Christmas pictures!

Elder Jesse said...

I haven't commented on your blog before, before I didn't know you were giving books away either, and as one of your biggest fans.....I really should get in on this!

I too prepare for Christmas all year, I am always on the look for things that are really handy, on-sale, etc...

The Five that Jive said...

Betsy, My mom and I are your biggest fans!! We've read all of your books and highly anticipate each new one that comes out! Please never stop writing!! I think that your ideas for Christmas are great! I always forget to shop ahead and so with your reminder I will have to get on it!

Melissa said...

We make our kids write out their Christmas lists at the beginning of September so Santa has plenty of time to make some magic happen. We also write wish lists that can have anything they want on it...last year my then 8-year-old had a list that would have cost us a couple thousand dollars!! It never hurts to dream big!

Lene and Bry Family said...

I love these ideas. I've never done christmas card because I always forget to take pictures early enough. I have my list started. Thanks,
Jolene Richmond

Lene and Bry Family said...

I just started making my christmas list. So great minds think alike!

Rachel Williamson DeVaughn said...

Im so glad that you are blogging again!! thanks for the giveaway!