Good afternoon ladies!
While on the one hand it seems a bit odd to be thinking about Christmas on a sunny April afternoon, on the other hand, an afternoon like this really lifts my spirits and makes me feel excited about life, which is just the right feeling, for thinking about Christmas!
Perhaps this month we should be sipping iced tea or coffee while we set to our tasks! So, thusfar together we have pinned down on paper the essence of Christmas this year, started to make ourselves a map of how to get there, built up a little nest egg to spend later in the year, got a strategy in place for making or buying Christmas cards, and also found a space to store things in. Phew! And it is only April! Just think, if we are this organized now, how wonderfully stress free this Christmas is going to be, and how much more we will have got done by then.
Lets start by giving the tin or jar or where you are keeping your Christmas money a little shake. Isn't it lovely to hear the coins rattle? Now it is time to top it up a bit, and to think as you do so, of the generations of women before us who had similar secret stashes. I am reading Peace and Plenty by Sarah Ban Breathnach at the moment, and she writes a wonderful little piece about just this thing.
Next, how are the cards going? Did you decide to start making them now? Or are you just thinking about a design? Is there something you can buy today, to help later? Perhaps some beautiful coloured ink with which to write the cards, or perhaps you know you will need a particular craft punch or card blanks? This would be a good time to go through your address book, and make sure it is up to date. My current address book is a little Cath Kidston one, and happily it does not yet have too many crossings out as friends and family get married or move home!
While you have your address book out, it is time for a little diary work too. You need to flip all the way forward to December. Somehow, that is only 8 months away! Now I find that every year, December fills up before I know it. Between birthdays and wedding anniversaries, before you even get to Christmas parties, there are book clubs and the like to consider as well. So, two things to do now. Firstly, decide when you want to be finished preparing for Christmas, your deadline by which the cards will be written and sent, the presents made, bought or wrapped, the tree trimmed, everything but everything (except cooking the dinner and such things that are by necessity impossible to do before hand!) is done. The point at which you can breathe in a nice long breath, let it out, and know you have nothing left to do. Don't make it too early so that you put yourself under too much pressure, but at the same time, do try and give yourself a few days at least to really enjoy the build up to the big day.
So, having marked that down, something I like to do, although you may not wish to, is to go through and mark in my diary how many weeks left to that day. So, say I decide my deadline is going to be Tuesday 20th December, then next to Tuesday 13th I mark '1', next to Tuesday 6th I mark '2' and continue going back about 10 weeks. How far you go back is up to you, it is just amazing how quickly those last weeks whiz by!
Now, back to December! One of the things that I love to do is to watch Christmas films, but somehow last year, it seemed to be Christmas before I knew it, and I never quite got to watch as many as I would have liked. You may have something else that you love to do - perhaps settle down with a whole pile of Christmas magazines, or go to a carol concert, or bake biscuits....but whatever it is that you love to do, the kind of thing that is all too easily edged out by other commitements, by last minute wrapping, these things you need to put in your diary now. That way, when it comes to November and the invitations and events start rolling in, you can be sure that you will still have time to fit in the things you love best.
Next month, we are going to start to look at gifts in a bit more detail. Until then, have a fabulous month!