July Rudolph Club Meeting

Rudolph Club
Choose A Holiday Plan!

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.

July Assignment: Choose a Holiday Plan!

To cut chaos and simplify your holidays, you've got to have a plan. July is the time to take stock of the year's preparations to date, and consider how you'll organize holiday prep in the coming weeks.

Take A Breath!

It's only natural to begin to panic when the holidays come to mind; the preparations most of us make for Christmas can seem overwhelming if you don't keep them in perspective. The best antidote? Take a deep breath and consider all the progress you've made.

Have you begun to purchase gifts on sale and stock up on stocking stuffers? Is a Christmas newsletter begun in a file on your computer? Even if you're only beginning to ponder the coming season, you're ahead! So relax! "Christmas in July" or not, you've taken your first steps toward an organized holiday season.

Choose A Christmas Organizing Plan!

Some folks prepare for Christmas instinctively: throughout the year, they stock up on gift items, tuck away baked goods, and organize decor storage as a matter of course.

Then there are the rest of us, who are stuck watching these enviable organized ones from the sidelines.

The solution? A Christmas organizing plan. Part reminder, part countdown, with a holiday organization plan, you'll be nudged, reminded, and motivated to begin preparation at the right time for you and your family.

If you join a plan, will this be the year you "do it all"? Gosh, I hope not! These plans are created to be guidelines--and we all fall off their wagon! The good news is that any progress, no matter how small, bears fruit in the form of holiday stress relief ... so consider, today, which plan you'll follow.

Get Ready For Christmas with the Christmas Countdown!

The Christmas Countdown is a simplified, no-nonsense holiday organization plan. Beginning on October 26, 2014 it's a six-week set of daily reminder messages, printable Christmas planner pages, essays to make you think, and fun--and frugal--gift, craft and baking ideas.

The Countdown is for you if you want to simplify your holidays and prepare for the season in a gradual, low-stress manner. With no major cleaning or decluttering assignments, the Countdown is a streamlined path to an organized holiday season.

Bring The Holidays Home With The House & Holidays Plan

Need more help to prepare your home for the holidays? The House & Holidays Plan is a comprehensive organizing plan to ready the entire house for the holiday season: decluttered, organized and clean.

Once called the House & Holidays Plan, this 18-week program has been rewritten for 2013, with a fresh new emphasis. Authored by Organized Home editor, Cynthia Ewer, this whole-house plan includes both home cleaning and organizing assignments, designed to take you week-by-week to a Christmas-clean home.

Along the way, the HHP breaks down holiday chores into small, achievable weekly steps. You'll create a Christmas planner, get a jump on gifts and plan scrumptious holiday meals. Working together with friends makes the journey fun!

What if neither one of these plans feels right for you? Some readers who celebrate alternate holidays or who have other unique circumstances develop their own plans. Other folks use both plans, beginning work on their homes with the House & Holidays Plan, and swinging into high gear for holiday prep when the Countdown begins in October. Make these plans work for you by making them your own!

Ready? Deep breath! It's Christmas in July--time to decide how you'll get organized for the coming holiday season. Whatever plan you choose--or create--you'll be among friends!

July Rudolph Club Reminders:

Craft check! Have you planned to make hand-crafted gifts and decor items this year? Summer vacations, kid sports practices and lazy summer evenings are a great time to add crafted gifts to your stash, so haul out April's Gifts to Make printable planner form and get crafting.

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 July

Shop The Sales!

Now is the time that summer clearance sales offer the deepest discounts on summer merchandise. Spotted on the clearance aisles this week:

  • bird feeders, pet toys and doggie coats at rock bottom prices at the pet store
  • summer toys, decor and gift items at crafts and housewares stores
  • "Christmas in July" crafts materials and at fabric and crafts stores
  • clearance specials on patio furniture and plant stands

Back-to-school shopping isn't just for school kids--it's for frugal holiday gift-givers, too. Stock up now on loss leaders like crayons, markers, notebooks, stickers, calendars, planners and small electronics. Dorm room specials include clocks and small appliances, on sale now. Gift wrapping will fly if you add a few pair of scissors, rolls of tape and a gluestick or two!

Last source for great summer gift specials: catalogs and online merchants. Before the busy holiday season, these retailers offer discounted gift items as they clear away discontinued items or limited quantities. Make a point of stopping by your favorite online retailers to check summer clearance offerings; many include Christmas ornaments, decor or gift items in summer sales. Ditto mail-order catalogs!

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.

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