Holiday Preparation Week

My dining table is full.

These days before Thanksgiving feel like the last chance to do a few things before the holiday season begins in full swing.

Friday night I sat down at my desk with my notebook and a chocolate bar (the 3rd entry in my Chocolate Notebook), and I wrote down everything I was thinking about for the holidays. It felt good to see my ideas on paper.

It didn’t take me long to realize I had way too many sewing projects listed. I don’t want to be frantically awake in the wee hours on Christmas morning trying to finish up someone’s gift. Better to have one sewing project complete than several that are started and left unfinished, forlorn. I chose one to work on, and if I finish that one then I can begin another one. I’m very excited about this one. I can’t wait to show you.

Before we get out the Christmas decorations next weekend, I wanted to move a few things out so it wouldn’t feel too crowded. I sorted through the clothes in my closet and drove them to Goodwill. Bonus: I found $7 in a pocket! I love when that happens. Next I’ll go through the kids’ clothes and toys.

A word of advice, don’t pause for a minute to look at last year’s Christmas photos.  It will be just like the scene from Christmas Vacation when Chevy watches old family movies in the attic while wearing old coats and a fur hat, waiting for the family to come home. Everything will look beautiful in the golden glow of days gone by and the kids just grow up too fast. You’ll end up a weepy mess while stuff covers your dining room table.

Not that I would know anything about that.

Focus people, focus.

Phone calls to family to arrange travel plans and who’s bringing what to holiday meals. Shopping lists to make, trying to keep them as brief as possible. And making sure that every chosen idea would bring a sense of wonder and joy to our family’s Christmas holiday, rather than being something “extra” that could lead to feeling overwhelmed.

What are you preparing this week?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Oh, man this being our second holiday season as a married couple, we learned a lot of things NOT to do the first year. This week, we’re each picking two things we want to do together, just the two of us, over the holidays. Those little events together will be our priorities, before our calendars get jammed with parties and obligations. Each time we have a special “just us date”, it feels like a mini-gift. :)
    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

    Anna´s last post…The Value of a Good Haircut

  2. Just preparing to make a sweet potato casserole for a family get together…it’ll be the first time I’ve presented food to my in-laws so I can’t disappoint!

  3. Last year I was hurried and stressed (…life was great…it was all work related, I had half a dozen babies due…they all came within 18 days of each other)…I was hurried and stressed and had no plan….so my hope for this Holiday season is to be better prepared. Its all in having a plan…and being prepared I think. Easier said then done, I know… I am also not working this Winter…that has definitely helped.

    Tina´s last post…Welcome to the Spinning World Baby

  4. “And making sure that every chosen idea would bring a sense of wonder and joy to our family’s Christmas holiday, rather than being something “extra” that could lead to feeling overwhelmed.”

    That is the most important thing you said today. Thank you.

    Tammy´s last post…11.15.2009

  5. I like to look through my stock of supplies – see what I need in the world of wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbon, cards, look through cookbooks to decide on the types of goodies and treats I will make, and search through my decorations so I won’t impulsively buy something on the “I gotta have it” moment when really, I have something like it at home.

    Something I have decided this month is next year I will begin my shopping MUCH earlier. Even though I still have over a month, I’m feeling a pinch of anxiety – like I won’t get it all done and I don’t want to overwhelm the budget. After all, this is the time of year when it is fun to go out and celebrate with my husband and friends. My goal for 2010 is to find things throughout the year that I think would be most enjoyed by my family and friends rather than rushing into a purchase that is so-so because I need a gift fast.

    Nicole´s last post…time

  6. Yes, definitely trying to balance and not let these beautifully busy days get too crazy. Especially with a bit of sickness, out of town guests coming, and Daddy just getting back from a four-day business trip.

    Small is beautiful!


    steadymom´s last post…What’s Important at the End of the Day

  7. Hee. Hee. I am preparing to have baby number six–due on Thanksgiving. :-) Denise

  8. Today, the kids and I cleaned house in anticipation of putting up Christmas when we return from Thanksgiving. Besides that, we are trying to concentrate on Thanksgiving and being truly grateful this week.

    Marci@OvercomingBusy´s last post…What’s Important At The End Of The Day

  9. Thanks for the call to focus! Last year I missed Christmas, stranded by a blizzard in between my family in Michigan and Chicago, where my fiance was to arrive from his native Uruguay. I won’t complain because I was snowed in with two lovely cats, plenty of food and a radio station that played Christmas carols 24/7. This is our first holiday season together and I’m determined to make it as Norman Rockwell-esque as possible. But I don’t want to crack under pressure. Wish me luck!

    Janine at Rustic Kitchen´s last post…Two years and counting

  10. With just over a month to go for Christmas..we have decided that this weekend that we will get our supplies from the craft shop to make personalised cushions. The idea came from my son who made these at school. Fantastic idea and simple.
    Also personalised calendars are a favourite, choosing photos from the year.
    Having Christmas lunch at the inlaws this year and we are supplying the cheese platter, one of my husband’s delights in conjuring up!

    Tracy9´s last post…Lippy Space Savers

  11. I’ve been out of balance for the last few weeks. So I am trying to get back on top of things. I’m prioritising to make sure the important things are getting done, and not getting sidetracked by the unimportant things.
    Hopefully if I do this the path to Christmas will be peaceful one ;)

    Juggling Motherhood´s last post…Your attitude determines your happiness

  12. I hope Denise is taking it easy this week.

    I used to dread Thanksgiving. So much work for one meal. If everyone focused that much effort into one activity for one day, we could end world poverty, instead of consuming 4500 calories. I know that sounds a little cranky.

    Now I’m trying to do less and enjoy the holiday more.

    I have the same William Sonoma Soup cookbook as the one in your photo. Soups are the comfort food of winter.

  13. I have just finished creating a menu for the Christmas season. I am not hosting Christmas this year but I will prepare a few festive dishes to enjoy over the season rather than all on one day.

    Ruthie´s last post…Christmas Menu

  14. I’m trying hard this year to live in the moment of Thanksgiving before jumping head first into Christmas. But I have jotted down a few notes to myself, chief among them NO Black Friday shopping for me. Instead, we’ll spend Friday putting up the Christmas tree and sipping hot cocoa (North Carolina’s mild weather permitting) before my two college boys head back to school.

  15. Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head! I’m working on my holiday plans right now, starting with my gift list, then working my way around to plans and schedules. The last part about doing things to bring joy and wonder…really hit home.
    Thanks Rachel!

    Yedei´s last post…Multimedia message

  16. I hope Denise is not hosting…that she is preparing for the arrival of her 6th child..what a wonderful way to start the holidays! Nothing brings a sense of wonder and joy to a family then a new life. Congratulations.

    Tina´s last post…Welcome to the Spinning World Baby

  17. We’ll be travelling across the country for the holidays this year, and I have to say it has encouraged me to pare down my “to do” list; minimal decorating and no tree, since we’ll be away for a week, small volume gifts for our 3 year old (as Santa cannot haul large volumes in a suitcase)
    For the first time in a VERY long time I feel at peace as December rolls in around the corner. My only “project” is the taking and sending of a holiday photo card, which I decided to do because I want to, not because I feel like I have to do it; this is big progress for me!

  18. I have been awake all of Christmas Eve into Christmas morning for the past three years, and this is the year I vowed to break that awful habit. Thanks for the reminder

    Heather´s last post…A Cure for The Common Cold