In my quest to do things the Martha way, I am taking to heart the suggestions in the December issue of Living.
On page 4, Martha provides what she calls “gentle reminders”. I’ve read her tipping guide. I don’t have that many people to tip, although I do have to buy gifts for teachers, tutors, and a house cleaner. Usually I do gift cards for these people and I’m going to do that again this year. However, I may be cutting back on the amounts (isn’t everyone cutting back?) and giving some candy (Martha’s recipes) in addition to the gift card.
Next, Martha suggest we create handcrafted gift card holders. I am going to give this a try for some gift cards I am giving to relatives.
Martha suggests we organize all of our paperwork from the holidays – receipts and warranties. I’m ahead of the game on that. I have a manila folder in my desk I put every receipt in. What I really need to learn to do, however, is to write on each receipt what it is for and what item it is. In the spirit of Martha, I’m going to add that to my to-do list.
Protecting our pets is the next tip. I actually have a funny story about this one. I have a gumdrop tree. It’s a metal tree that you stick gumdrops on. My kids love it. It usually sits on an end table in the family room. Last year one of our dogs disappeared while we were eating dinner at some point in December. He returned licking his lips which is a bad sign. It turns out he completely denuded the gumdrop tree! This year, we put it out again and I forgot about that, so he promptly helped himself again. We’ve now moved it to the top shelf of a bookcase in the family room. He occasionally walks over there and lifts his nose in the air and sniffs to let us know he would really like some.
Because we have big dogs with big tails, I don’t do candles, except for one Yankee candy that sits on a high table. I don’t have anything else that is dangerous for our dogs, so I think they are safe for the holidays.
Page 134 has tips for simplifying the season. Martha suggests keeping a master calendar. I already do that. Next she says to remember to unwind. I do need to remind myself of that. Yesterday I ordered a holiday mystery for myself from Amazon and I am going to make time to sit down and enjoy it.
Another tip is to update your address book. When we got out the Christmas decorations, I found the cards we received last year in the basket I keep them in. I went through them to see if I could make any into gift labels and came upon a note from friends with a new address. I’ve got to add that into my address book (which I now keep in pencil so it is easy to make changes!).
Last year I cut back my Christmas card list and stopped sending them to people we don’t really know. I’m continuing with that this year. I bought one box of cards and that’s going to be it. If I need more, I have lots of leftover ones from years past.
Martha recommends postponing some holiday festivities. This is good advice. My dad’s family does not celebrate together until Jan 2 this year and we usually see my in-laws a few days after Christmas. It eases the craziness and gives you something to look forward to after the big day.
Another suggestion is to reevaluate gift exchanges. Oh, wouldn’t I love to do this! We buy gifts for some people that we barely know and I would love to put an end to that. It’s easier said than done though and negotiating something like in my family is nearly impossible.
Our decorations are completely up (I’ll post some photos soon) and my shopping is just about done. Next I’ve got to get serious about wrapping and baking.
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