August Rudolph Club Meeting

Rudolph Club
This Month: Craft Control!

Welcome to the Rudolph Club: your once-a-month meeting to simplify your holidays and get organized for Christmas!

At Organized Christmas, we know that the holiday season can be fast and furious. Solution? Take a day once each month throughout the year to plan and prepare for a more-organized holiday season.

On the 25th of each month, we'll bring simple assignments and easy tips to try now for a simpler, more joyous season. Over the year, you'll tackle planning and preparations to make the season lighter, brighter and less stressful come December.

Summer's end brings back-to-school--and the holidays aren't far behind. How to prepare today? Collect your crafts!

August Assignment: Craft Control!

Is your house haunted by UFOs?

UFOs, or "Un-Finished Objects", are the scattered remains of previous years' good intentions. They're all the knitted scarves, cross-stitched towels, cut-out pillowcases, and un-melted soap crafts that flirted, oh so briefly, with your holiday spirit.

Today, we're going to unearth these Ghosts of Christmas Past, and breathe new life into them. August is perfect for a bit of grave robbing in the crafts closet. The holidays are far enough ahead to make it possible to finish UFOs, yet not so near that the task feels frantic.

Why bother? Because UFOs present a gift of holiday time! Even if the bloom is off the (needlepoint) rose, time already invested in a UFO is just like found money. Every hour that has gone into an unfinished project is one hour closer to a completed gift or decor item--and that's a package nobody wants to throw away.

Our goal today is to round up the scattered remains of UFOs for assessment and inclusion in a holiday gift list. Check the closets. Rout out the attic. Peek into under-bed boxes, sewing totes and knitting baskets for all unfinished gift, craft and decor projects. Drag them all out into the light of day!

Next, assess what you've found with an eye grounded in reality.

First UFOs to turf? All wearable items that are too small for the intended recipient. If, and only IF there is a niece or grandchild who can actually wear the cute little reindeer sweater and cap, that UFO survives. Otherwise, settle it back into obscurity. Without a little person in mind, it's not worth the time to complete.

Second reality check: is the UFO still in style? Yes, I know that "everything old is new again"--witness young girls wearing crocheted clothing--but there's a limit to how far back in time your crafts efforts should reach. Hint: if the UFO in question involves macrame, the colors avocado green or harvest gold, or anything connected with leg warmers, it's probably time to bury it with full crafty-girl honors and move on.

Next group of UFOs to consign to new homes: misplaced enthusiasms. There's nothing worse than slogging through a crafts project that doesn't match your talents, so DON'T. If you're a reluctant needle worker, there's no point in thinking about completing that 18" by 24" cross-stitched landscape. Find it a good home with your cross-stitch crazy neighbor, and move on.

Finally, take a hard look at the crafts that remain. Are they things you really want to finish, give, or display? Will they require too much time to complete, even four months out from the holidays? If there's any doubt, don't invest another minute. Find 'em a new home so you can concentrate on the survivors. Life is far too short to spend over-long hours on a complicated craft project designed for the "get a life!" contingent.

We've culled the mistakes, and now we hit the cream: those UFOs that represent givable gifts and valued decor items. Match these against the Gifts to Make form in your Christmas planner.

Next, check your calendar and plan time to complete the UFOs. Crafting time won't just happen! Craft aspirations without time commitment are how UFOs are born, so plan crafting time into your weekly routine.

Stitch while watching a favorite television show. Set aside a weekend afternoon to finish those melt-and-pour soap projects. Even better, plan a crafts party with friends, and socialize while you share crafting skills. Many hands make light work--and crafting fun.

Ready? Rout out those UFOs, and get organized for the holidays!

Rudolph Club Reminders:

Keep adding to your Holiday Letter. As outlined in the February Rudolph Club assignment, open a computer word processing file labeled "Holiday Letter". Once a month, add a quick summary of the latest month's events, memories and achievements.

When November rolls around, you'll have a complete and contemporary record of the year's high points to include with your holiday cards. Set aside any photos that you may wish to include with your cards or letters.

Keep up with the Christmas Club Savings Plan. Check with your local bank; many financial institutions offer "Christmas Club" accounts that make saving easier. If not, begin your own Christmas Club by writing a check, however small, to yourself on the 25th of each month. Deducted from the running balance in your checking account, but not cashed, this practice can help create a welcome cushion for holiday expenses.

Monitor the progress of the Gift Closet. Have you added gifts this month? Record them on the free printable Gift Closet Inventory in your Household Notebook or Christmas planner notebook. It's a one-page reminder of what's tucked away for Christmas.

Frugal Finds for August

School supplies are on sale now at drastic discounts--and a fresh box of crayons makes just as much splash in a Christmas stocking as in a school backpack. Tuck away extra loss leaders from the office supply stores to bulk up supplies of stocking stuffers.

Don't stop there! If printable gifts like Pumpkin Poop or Snowman Soup are on the list, buy cardstock or printer paper now, on sale.

Papercrafters know that inexpensive composition books and clipboards are the backbones of altered journal or altered clipboard projects. If your "gifts to make" list includes these items, stock up now.

Ditto cellophane tape, scissors and mailing supplies. Buy them now at rock-bottom prices, so they'll be ready to wrap, pack and ship holiday gifts.

Does your Christmas gift list include gifts in a jar? These popular layered baking mixes or journal companions require quart-sized canning jars. Buy canning jars now, while stocks are readily available for garden season.

Spotted at the supermarket: new decorated jar bands and lids from Ball/Alltrista. Stamped with colorful Holiday designs, decorated jar lids add a professional touch to your home-crafted bath salts, jams or cookie mixes. Stock up now while supplies are ample.

Need more information about these popular make-it-yourself gifts? Find recipes, printable tags and tips here: Gifts In A Jar