Preparing for the Holidays

Or How to Avoid a Last-Minute Meltdown

A couple of years ago I wanted some new furniture before the holidays when we had company coming.  I’m not one to prepare too much ahead of time, but I started shopping in August.  And guess what, the furniture would not have made it on time!  Ok, Thanksgiving isn’t even here and Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday, but I know I need to start planning now for certain seasonal items because some things sell out, some things need to be purchased early and some things in my home are very tired and need to be replaced before company comes this year. 

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In the Kitchen

I am a VERY thrifty person (cheap?!) and to be honest, I’ve been known to rinse out a lightly used baggie and reuse it.  I also hate waste so I tend to keep things that are still utilitarian but maybe not as attractive as they could be.  I have a theory that it isn’t really how much something costs, it’s if it works for me.  I have Tupperware colanders I’ve had since the 1980s because they work and I’ve never found anything better.  They are green and ugly and a tiny bit embarrassing, but I keep them.  On the other hand I have cutting boards that aren’t really that great, are stained and again ugly.  I don’t care about them, stick them in the dishwasher and bleach them, whatever, but really, if company is helping me in the kitchen, well, it’s like wearing underwear with holes.  These bamboo cutting boards have perfect reviews on Amazon and I love that they are not plastic and thus, are BPA free.  I plan to purchase them prior to out-of-town guests getting here!  These wooden boards  also got perfect reviews and I think they would make a beautiful gift.

I have lovely knives, but I’m not great at sharpening them and my husband won’t even try. They also have wooden handles and need to be oiled.  I found these wonderful Cuisinart knives for less than it would cost to have the others sharpened.  At this price they are practically disposable.  And guess what, if I’ve used them on meat, they go in the dishwasher. This picture makes me look like the farmer’s wife and I’m going to cut off a tail with a butcher’s knife, but no animals were harmed during filming.

My new butcher knife

Confession time:  I have ONE wooden spoon I like and it may also be from the 1980s (the 80s were a very good decade, BTW).  These are under $10 and look like they might fit my bill.

My one and only favorite spoon

Every year I drool over the beautiful pots and pans from William Sonoma, but uh-uh, ain’t gonna happen.  No way.  My pots are all over 30 years old, but there is not a thing wrong with them and I’m not replacing them.  That really would be wasteful.  But, if I win the lottery….

For the Kids

Are there gifts you like to give loved ones that are for them to use during the season but need to be opened prior to Christmas or Hanukkah?  I have always loved giving nieces, nephews, grandkids Advent Calendars.  Traditionally, they were used with religious symbols to count down to the holidays, but now of course, marketing has spread their use to increase wound-up kids’ excitement for the biggest spending glut of the year.  Ugh.  I don’t mean to be part of that excessive commercialization, but I do think it’s nice for kids to get a little gift early .  It lets them have something, especially for long-distance kids, to think of you during the whole season and not compete with all the gifts on Christmas day.  This Santa’s Workshop calendar gets good reviews and ships out as soon as it’s ordered so it can get there in plenty of time.

Get your elf early!

My sister Susie’s grandkids are lucky to have her.  She spoils them rotten, but they love what she gives them so much, it’s totally worth it.  Last year she tried to get them The Elf on the Shelf, but it sold out!  This pre-Christmas toy is more than just a fad, it’s a knock-out sensation and has won a number of awards for learning and creativeness. She’s purchasing early this year.  Now, apparently Roxy doesn’t care much for the elf because she got right up and attacked it.

Roxy really helped prepare this post

Hanukkah begins Sunday, December 22nd this year.  It’s always nice to teach children traditions while they’re having fun and this activity book looks like it will keep them occupied for quite a bit.

For the Hostess

I cannot tell you how many times I have thought having or giving an amaryllis would be wonderful, but those take 6-10 weeks to blossom.  Well, I’d better get on it if I want one for the season.

For Your Guests

We want our guests to love staying here and to come back again.  So that means having our guest room comfortable enough so that we would stay in it ourselves.  As far as TV watching goes, we have semi-cut-the-cable and don’t have cable in our bedrooms.  However, Amazon Firesticks are so affordable now and Amazon streaming has so many good TV options, we find this a great alternative, especially because the bedroom TVs get used so infrequently.  They are easy to set up – no more installation than using a memory stick.  If you aren’t using one, I think you might like it.

One more thing about the guest room, I replaced all the pillows, sheets  and blankets last year.  The old ones weren’t in bad shape, but they kind of smelled old and dusty, and I know it’s hard enough for guests to get a good night’s sleep without smelling dust.  I was surprised at how good the quality was for the price through Amazon.  We are always excited to have family and friends visit and now our guestroom will be comfy.

New bedding for the guest room

I really do believe in the religious meanings of the holidays and love spending time with family and friends.  I don’t like getting caught up in all the spending and crazy, so sorry for the early holiday post, but I hope this helps you avoid a holiday fire drill or meltdown!

6 Comment

  1. I just read your post :). Your niece/nephew LOVED the Advent calendars you sent them every year..I’m sure they wish they still got one. I also clicked on the little underlined “Elf on the Shelf” and it popped me right on Amazon-that was easy! I also ordered right then and there! Your house is always so beautiful and inviting for the holidays. And..the knife pic was a little scary-it looks like something from a horror movie.

    1. Ahhh, I miss those two little tykes. Whoops, I mean adults! Where does the time go? Thanks for ordering and I hope your naughty grandsons LOVE their elf. Thank you for the sweet compliment on my home. That Roxy is crazy, but her tail is intact.

  2. Corine, I have enjoyed the last two blogs about being organized changed your life and preparing for the holidays. Great ideas from both!

    1. Thank you, dear friend. Funny, the less I have to do, the less I get done! That’s my next project – quit procrastinating.

    1. Jill, I had to go back and look at the post because I couldn’t place the dress. It’s not a dress, it’s an apron and I have the mugs to match. From Anthropologie. Isn’t it adorbs?!?!

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