Yes, you read the title of this post correctly: Planning for Christmas 2018! Do you buy Christmas cards, wrapping paper, and other Christmas items at the after Christmas sales? Have you ever packed said items away and then forgotten where you put them when the holiday comes around? Or, like me, forgot that you even purchased said items and purchase more of that item in November? I have done all of the above. I am also guilty of squirreling a few items in one closet, because I have a little space, and a few items in another drawer--because there is a little space--and completely forgetting what is where!!!
Part of my New Year's Resolution is to store all like items together, AND make a record of it. I am a visual person, so I decided to use my phone to take photos of purchased items for Christmas 2018 and store them in a folder on my computer.
Next on the list: Creating a Household Inventory: AKA, "Where Did I Put It?" Word Document. This has already saved me "search time" and frustration in getting our home back in order after the holidays. I started this in December. I created a simple table in a Word document with the three categories: Item, Stored, Notes. At Christmas, I put away many items to make room for seasonal items. This inventory has helped me find stored items and bring them out again. I am using this as a general household inventory document. It is just not for Christmas. I am happy to share a pdf of this inventory, although it is very easy to create in Word and I love being able to edit it on my computer.
Some of my holiday greens are looking weary. After Christmas, I purchased some new greens at greatly reduced prices. I have forgotten purchases made in January in years past. Now, the photos of new purchases will be in the Christmas 2018 folder and I can review them, as I plan for the holidays in the fall. New purchases were the first to be photographed and put in the folder.
I use Christmas greens like the one in the photo in so many ways at the holidays. I've collected a nice assortment over the years by purchasing them on sale. I found 6 of these evergreen and pinecone stems at a terrific price.
Now, onto Christmas cards and holiday paper and so much more. This photo diary will really be a big help to me in this department. This should stop me from buying what I already have in stock.
I have three boxes of cards purchased (plus a few more I found as I was organizing!) Cards are definitely purchased for Christmas 2018!
After I had written and printed my Christmas letter, I found this beautiful paper in my stationary stash! A photo of this is going in the folder, along with the extra holiday card stamps, and Christmas return card labels.
At this point, I think it is important that I pause, and share my plan for keeping Christmas card stationary and a few other items altogether in one spot. Here it is:
This is one of two rectangular boxes that I store in our family room on the end tables flanking the loveseat. You may remember this container from other posts. The original container has a beautiful autumn scene on it. I cover the container with wrapping paper to match my decor or the season. The box was wrapped in a beautiful, tartan plaid for the holidays. Soon, I will change it out with another paper for winter and spring.
I am going to store Christmas cards, stationary, return card labels, stamps, and a few other items that I frequently need at Christmas, but tend to "misplace."
Let's take a look in the box:
The holiday stationary, Christmas cards, return labels, and stamps all fit nicely in the box. My goal is to address Christmas cards any time prior to Christmas 2018. I like the idea of having the cards stored in the family room on the end table in a decorative box. I can work on cards, any time I want.
There was room to store more things. I've decided to include the following items: ornament hooks, Christmas receipt folder, and Christmas gift tags. These items fall into the category of "Things I Often Can't Find When I Need Them!"
One of my favorite bloggers wrote about creating a Home Decorating Toolbox. I tried the idea and made a "Christmas Decor" Toolbox. I will share my toolbox with you in another post. I had a lot of success with it and it really did make my life easier. I kept a plastic, accordion organizer in the toolbox. All Christmas gift receipts and related purchases were filed in the "Christmas Receipts" folder. There are several pockets, so you can organize receipts by people, families, or category.
This was a definite keeper and something I want to have available to me throughout the year. I like to shop for Christmas all year long, and this will help keep me organized and on budget!
Side Note: I love these organizers. I have another one in the glove compartment of my car for insurance cards, inspections, registration, car maintenance receipts, and emergency window stickers. I've purchased mine at the Dollar Tree.
I'm not sure why I have such a problem of keeping track of ornament hooks, but these seem to disappear to the same place errant socks from the dryer go in our house. Ornament hooks were added to my Christmas Decorator Toolbox. I purchased the little plastic red organizer and put a variety of new packages of ornament hooks in each divider. It was so convenient to have them instantly available when we needed to replace an ornament hook when we decorated our trees.
I decided to convert my "Christmas Decor Toolbox" to a general "Home Decor Toolbox" for use all year around. I bagged the ornament hooks in snack baggies and these are going into the Christmas Stationary Box and More. The ornament hooks will be already to return to the Christmas Decorator Toolbox when the holidays roll around and I won't be fussing about finding the packages of ornament hooks!
The last thing I put in the Christmas Stationary and More Box was my plaid Christmas gift tags. If I buy gifts ahead of the holidays and want to wrap them, I will have the tags at hand.
I think I'll make a list of contents to keep in the box, and I'll also keep a copy on my computer in the Christmas 2018 folder. That's it for the Christmas Stationary and More Box.
My Christmas 2018 computer folder now contains photos of:
My Christmas 2018 computer folder contains the following Word Document:
I need to add this photo of holiday paper hand towels for the powder room. I got them at a greatly reduced price after Christmas...and I found another set that I had purchased from a previous year, too. (One of those, I bought it and forgot it purchases. These are definitely going on the home inventory list so I can easily locate them next Christmas.
My Christmas 2018 computer folder will be an active folder. I anticipate adding ideas and information to it throughout the year. I think this will be very helpful in the latter months of 2018 when I begin to plan for the holidays.
What do you think of my Christmas 2018 computer folder as a visual diary?
Some may ask, "Why don't you just keep a list of your purchases and ideas?" Good question. It all goes back to me being a visual person. The list may say I bought two new wreaths, Christmas ribbon, and new greens. But, I may (probably) forget what the items "looked" like. I am quite excited to have this visual photo diary to jog my memory.
This visual diary would not be complete without photos of some of my favorite vignettes and Christmas decorations from 2017. I'll leave you with a few photos of "Things That Worked: Christmas 2017". I challenged myself this past Christmas to change up our holiday decor. I want to be able to remember them and possibly repeat them as part of Christmas 2018. Here are a few more photos going into "Christmas 2018" computer folder.
This is the first year I decorated our half wall stairway banister. I purchased 2 swags, 2 additional greens, and added the cardinals to the nests. I wrapped the banister in a berry garland that I moved from the dining room windows and added some fun ornaments to the garland. The key to the success of this look, was keeping it light. It is a small banister and less is more.
Note to self: Use two bows on the end of the banister swag. Wire one bow on each side for a completed look. I also added 2 additional strands of circular, red and white, lighted candy lights to the banister. It isn't pictured, but really set it off. Also, naturally wired wire was great to use as ties and as additional garland on the banister.
The fireplace got a new look for Christmas 2017. I love the poinsettia in the coal bucket, large lantern, and little birdhouse on the hearth. The mantel is always a challenge, as it is very narrow, but I am pleased with the new look.
The mantel decor consists of two evergreen garlands, enhanced with red jingle bells, a pine cone and fruit swag, a large bow, and an additional set of evergreen jingle bell greens placed on either side of the bow.
I found some greens with red jingle bells and used them for Christmas 2016. I liked them so much, I tried to purchase more, but none were to be found. So, I purchased a bag of red jingle bells, some copper colored wire, and enhanced existing greens with red jingle bells. I love the pop of color and whimsy the jingle bells add to the decor.
I had to have a letter to Santa vignette. This was so fun to put together. I purchased my beautiful Santa from Shaker Woods Christmas in the Woods Festival several years ago. I love using the vintage typewriter in our home decor. It has our letter to Santa on the roll. Then, I simply enhanced the vignette with evergreens, red jingle bells, a candle, and velvet pumpkins. (Who says you have to put pumpkins away in November, when they look this good and match the colors of our decor.)
A crafter at a Christmas festival used the log, sliced trivets very cleverly as the base for some snowman creations. I filed that idea in my brain (and managed not to lose it). Here are my handmade snowman in all their glory on a stack of log, sliced trivets.
More snowmen atop of sliced, log trivets.
I put together this Byer's Choice holiday baker with an old-fashioned cook stove, her faithful dog, and jingle bells to enhance the whole ensemble.
We have had 3 sets of flickering candle lights on our tree for almost 20 years. They were so fun, but this year, they wouldn't light. I found these battery operated, individual, clip-on tree candles on line. I was thrilled with not having to deal with cords. It was so easy to place them on the tree and the candle light flickered. They even came with a remote! Unfortunately, the ones I purchased were not of the best quality. The threads for the bottom connections were not tight on some of the candles, and over the course of the holiday season, I had trouble with some of them lighting. I'm not giving up. I am going to do research and see if I can't find a better set by next Christmas. Truth be told: These were the most inexpensive ones I found on line. I can hear my dad saying: "You get what you pay for." If anyone has a recommendation for quality, battery operated, clip-on candle lights, I would love to hear from you!
This is Sarah's Santa. I received it has a gift from Sarah and I love it. I placed it near this small, pine tree and enjoyed the simplicity of the vignette.
A red, gingerbread, cake mold, some evergreens with jingle bells, and candles are the stars of this vignette. Once again, it is very simple in its charm. The large, black plate was used as a base. The plate anchors the arrangement and contrasts with the red of the mold. (In case you were wondering: I did make this gingerbread cake house this year and it actually turned out really cute!)
I like to add shiny, ornaments to the base of flower arrangements. This orchid was an unplanned holiday decoration. I came across it at Home Depot for $5.00 and I had to bring it home.
This was another after Christmas "splurge". I had seen these before Christmas and they were on a pretty good sale. But, we got them after Christmas at an even better sale price. They are a perfect contrast to our white cabinets in the kitchen. I am having a hard time putting them away!
I am looking forward to adding to my "Christmas 2018" folder on my computer. I'm going to begin to organize the folder by creating folders withing the folder. One folder will be photos of Christmas gifts or Christmas gift ideas. (I already have an idea form my mom, and my brothers and sister.) I think this visual photo diary of Christmas ideas may be one of my best ideas, for me, yet! It's one that could have many applications and not just for Christmas.
I would love to here from you and any ideas you have for decorating, organizing, and purchasing for the holidays. Please leave a comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.