Leave the Mess on Christmas!

In a few days your house will be filled to the brim with wrapping paper scraps from opened gifts, shirt box pieces all over the place, gift bags on the floor, ribbons and bows scattered around, and tissue paper everywhere!  The mere thought of this honestly makes me a little anxious.  But what I want to say to you is…leave it alone!  Enjoy it!  Relish it!  Take it all in!  Be thankful that you can experience this chaos!

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Keep all this in mind on Christmas morning.  All of this untidiness is a wonderful sign.  It is a sign of you and your family enjoying each other, enjoying one another’s company, and having fun exchanging gifts. THIS is what Christmas and the Holidays is all about.  Don’t rush to clean it up, don’t worry about what it looks like, don’t think about the mess…simply enjoy it!  Instead say to yourself “my house looks so colorful with all this wrapping paper everywhere”, ” look how happy everyone looks”, “I am so thankful for all these people in my life”.   These are the moment that we remember. Not the gifts, the moments.  Memories last forever, not gifts.

When you ARE ready to start cleaning up, have the following items on hand to make clean-up easier:

  • Large black heavy duty garage bags. These bags can hold a large amount of wrapping paper, boxes that are not recyclable, objects with sharp edges, and any other gift-opening remnants.  Using these bags versus smaller or thinner bags can save you time and hassle because they will rip less, and you can fit more in one bag than in several smaller bags.  Garbage bags that stretch are also good options.
  • Large paper bags or Empty Bins. You can use large paper bags or bins for putting away shirt boxes, gift bags, and other items. Storing these items in bins will make them easily accessible for next year.  Also, having bags and bins on hand are also great for corralling gifts.

One important thing to note about wrapping paper is that it isn’t recyclable.  While it would be really easy to just throw it in the recycle bin, please don’t do this.  Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives, glitter, etc., all of which cannot be recycled.  Consider saving some of the wrapping paper.  It could be reused for kids art projects, on smaller packages next year, you could put it in the shredder and use the strips for packaging material, or make confetti for another celebration, etc.

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I can’t stress enough how important it is to enjoy the mess. I have to admit that I do feel odd saying that because I don’t like chaos and untidiness, but this is something that I will force myself to do this year.  It will force me to slow down, look around, and be thankful – I hope you can do the same this year, and every year. Be thankful for the gift that was given to you, the time people took to pick out the perfect gift for you, and most importantly be thankful for all the wonderful people in your lives!

My warmest wishes to you and your family for the Holiday season and New Year!

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Holiday Gift Lists: “The Christmas List” App Review

Welcome to my very first blog post!  I’m super excited and eager to share lots of updates and useful information and tips with you over time.  Let’s start by talking about my favorite time of year, Christmas and the Holiday season!

Since the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season is upon us, I wanted to start off by saying that I know we all have so many things to do – preparing the house for the holidays, baking and cooking, making time for gift shopping, and most importantly setting aside time to enjoy the wonderful Holiday spirit with family and friends.  There is so much to do, and it can certainly be stressful, but hopefully I can help you ease some of the hassle by discussing one of my favorite things…making lists!

In terms of gift lists for family and friends, I have always resorted to making a detailed list in Excel complete with names, gift ideas, check boxes for purchases made, stores to purchase gifts from, and numerous color codes to help guide my progress.  It worked for me, for several years, but I found myself sometimes forgetting the list at home, not updating it regularly, and overbuying! This year I decided to try something different, and it has been an amazing discovery that I wanted to share with you.

I decided to download an iPhone app called “The Christmas List” by ERIK Eggleston.
The app costs $1.99, and is well worth the small investment.  It can be installed on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 3.2 or higher. “The Christmas List” app is easy to use and has a number of fun and useful functions that allow you to organize all your Christmas lists and budget.  We’ll go over all my favorite things about this app, but I especially love that it saves you time by having all the information you need in the palm of your hand, and you don’t need to spend time writing and re-writing lists…or even worse be in a store ready to shop only to realize that you have forgotten your list at home.  Here are some of the many great functions of this fun and user friendly app that you can do:

  • Easily add people from your iPhone contacts
  • Group your people by family, friends, coworkers, kids, etc.
  • Enter multiple gifts quickly and easily just like jotting a note
  • Add photos of gift ideas you see in catalogs or in stores

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  • Add budgets for every person on your list
  • Add your favorite stores or pick from a list of popular retailers

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  • See a shopping list view by store so that you know what to buy and how much to buy at each location
  • Track gifts by status: shipping, received, and even wrapped
  • See an at-a-glance pie chart view of your shopping progress, by the number of gifts purchased per person and the number of gifts remaining
  • Print lists directly from the app and share them with others
  • Archive your lists and sync them by email as a safety backup in case you misplace or break your phone

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And there is a lot of customization you can do like change the background to different colors and patterns, add Holiday icons to each person in your list such as a snowman, penguin, gift box, candy cane, and more!

If you have a Holiday gift list system that works for you, I would love to hear about it!  But if you’re looking for something new and want to try an electronic method, consider this phone app for all your gifting needs.  In general, remember the importance of checklists, they help you not rely solely on memory, and there can be great satisfaction in checking off items from lists.  I really hope this information has been useful to you and that you have fun with all your Holiday preparations and shopping!

My warmest wishes to you all for the Holiday season and New Year!

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