7 Weeks To A Simplified Christmas – Week 2

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simplify Christmas

So, how did it go last week? Did you get last week’s actions steps done?

Here’s how I did last week:

The Food:

I have most of the menu and baking planned and started a list of items I’ll need.

The Gifts:

I made my list and set my budget. I bought two gifts over the weekend. I also took pictures of my girls for the cards but haven’t uploaded them yet. I was having problems with my 50 mm lens so I had to use my zoom lens. I’m hoping there’s a winning picture in the bunch.

The Decor:

I spent a little time considering the decor. I’ll mostly stick with my normal decorations. I am planning to make a new wreath for the door and need to pick up a couple of things for that.

The Reason:

I haven’t decided on a particular Advent devotional or activity for the family this year but am considering doing something a little different than I have in the past. Still looking at options.

Now let’s talk about what we’ll be doing this week.

First, if there are any new activities that you are planning to attend around Christmas, be sure to add them to your calendar.

The Food

If you haven’t nailed down your menu ideas yet, let’s finish this up this week.

  • Finalize menu.
  • Update list of items needed.
  • Pick up a couple of the needed items when grocery shopping this week. Be sure to check for sales and coupons for those items.

The Gifts

Let’s get serious about the gifts this week. Go through your recipient list and write down your ideas for each person. Be sure to keep your budget in mind.

Start checking sales ads and websites for deals on items you plan on purchasing. I’ve seen several stores with $10 off $25 purchase coupons in their ads lately as well as plenty of percentage off coupons. Be sure to utilize these to help maximize your budget.

Even if you are making homemade gifts, check those sales flyers. Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby often have percentage off coupons in their ads.

If your shopping online, be sure to go through Ebates (referral link) or a similar site to get cash back on your purchases.

If you’ve chosen or taken your card picture, this would be a great week to order them. We’ll focus on sending them out the week after Thanksgiving, so let’s shoot for getting them in before then.

I know photo cards can get expensive, so here are a couple of the current deals out there.

  • Shutterfly – Save 40% on 6×8 flat & tri-fold cards or 30% on 5×7 folded and 4×5, 5×5, 5×7 and 4×8 flat cards when you use the code CARD40.
  • Paper Coterie – Save 50% off cards when you use the code HOLIDAY2013 at checkout. Offer valid through 11/24/13. I used them last year and while their cards are lovely the process was quite slow. If you use them, be sure to order early.

If you are not sending photo cards, but do plan to send cards, start looking around and choose your cards in the next week or two.

  • Write down gift ideas for everyone on your recipient list.
  • Check sales ads for savings  opportunities.
  • Shop for gifts as time and budget allow.
  • Order cards this week if possible.
  • If not using photo cards, shop for cards this week.

The Decor

My Instagram feed has been full of Christmas trees going up this past week. I generally wait and do it sometime during the week following Thanksgiving. If you’re an early decorator, then by all means go ahead and start when you’re ready. Just remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. Fit it into your schedule as you can. You want to enjoy the process and not let it overwhelm you.

If you are planning to make any new items, this would be a great week to purchase any items you need and start working on it.

  • If you’re an early decorator, decorate as time allows. Enjoy the process.
  • If you are making new decor, buy items needed and begin working on it.

The Reason

Hopefully, working through these actions steps is allowing us to be more deliberate about this Christmas and helping us keep our focus on Christ. Next week, we’ll discuss a few ideas for Advent but this week continue to consider what you and your family will do.

Make time each day to get quiet with God, reading your Bible, a devotional, and/or praying.  As the activity builds closer to Christmas time, we have to be more intentional about keeping this quiet time but it will help us stay focused on The Reason we are celebrating.

  • Set aside time each day to get quiet with God.
  • Consider an Advent devotional or activity to do with the family.

Be sure to check back next Tuesday and let me know what all you accomplished this week. I’ll have new action steps for us to take to help us have a simplified Christmas.

Before you go, be sure to let me know what you accomplished this past week. What do you find most challenging as you prepare?

Just joining us? Check out Week 1 of 7 Weeks to a Simplified Christmas.

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WFMW at We Are THAT Family

Janet is a mom to two daughters and is married to her best friend. Her belief that we are blessed so that we may bless others fuels her writing at frugalandfocused.com where she shares her thoughts on faith, family, and frugal living. She strives to make the most of what she's given in life and hopes to inspire others to do the same.