January Rudolph Club Meeting

Organized Christmas

Bury the Ghost of Christmas Past!

Welcome to the Rudolph Club: your once-a-month meeting for an organized 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 holiday season.

Over the year, you'll tackle planning and preparations to make the season lighter, brighter and less stressful come December.

January Assignment: Tie Up Loose Ends!

Even deep in January, the Ghost of Christmas Past can still be spotted here and there about the house. Rudolph Day is a good time to take stock and tuck away the last remaining loose ends.

Check for truant decorations! While most of us have returned holiday decor items to storage by January 25, (And if you haven't? Here you go: an official assignment. Put away holiday decorations!), a few categories of Holiday Foo-Foo often slip through the cracks. Goal: to round them up, store them in a central location, and remind yourself, come October, where you stashed them.

What to look for? Inspect the laundry room for Christmas napkins, tablecloths, or guest towels. When laundry gets behind, it's easy to lose track of holiday linens. Dig any stragglers out from under Mt. Washmore, run them through the wash, and place them in a good-sized storage box. Mark the box "Holiday Stragglers" so you can find it again next fall.

Seasonal Solution: Make a Holiday Stragglers Box

Head to the kitchen. Are you still serving coffee in Santa-themed mugs? Tuck them into your box, and scour the kitchen for the rest of the holiday serving dishes, cheese spreaders, swizzle sticks and wine charms.

While in the kitchen, make another resolution: to use or toss the last few packets from holiday food baskets. Add nuts to baked goods, use smoked salmon in salads, and set out the tiny jars of mustard with the sandwich makings. Get the last drop of holiday enjoyment from your gifts!

Next stop? Poke around in drawers for holiday hardware. Tiny replacement light bulbs, special green extension cords, and hanging hardware for window lights can all be overlooked when packing away holiday decor . Place anything you find in a zipper food storage bag, and add to the storage box, along with the linens.

Clearance cuties next! Did you shop the day-after-Christmas sales or January holiday clear-away at the craft store? Gather all your special finds from the top of the refrigerator, the back of the linen closet, or the trunk of the car. If it's holiday-themed paper, decor or craft items, add them to the storage box.

Last call! With your box, circle the house and collect any remaining holiday items. The repaired ornament from the workbench, the tucked-aside box of extra tree lights, the holiday-gift kitchen towels, the last few Christmas cards--add them all to your Loose Ends storage box.

Take the box to your holiday storage area, cover and store. Just to be safe, open your Christmas planner, turn your calendar to October, and write yourself a note: "Look for extra replacement bulbs, new gift wrap, craft supplies and 2 boxes Christmas Cards in the Stragglers box--it's packed with the holiday decorations!"

Next year? One look at the calendar will remind you of those great craft-store finds at 90% off--and save time, money and stress.

Gifting Solution: Set Up A Gift Closet

If you've begun to gather gifts for the coming year, it's time to establish a gift closet.

Don't let the word "closet" lead you astray; a gift closet can be any dedicated storage space, including a closet shelf, a deep drawer, or an under bed storage box. Because you'll want to add to your gift closet throughout the year, it should be accessible for additions and inventory.

To keep tabs on gift closet additions throughout the year. print a Gift Closet Inventory Form. It's a one-page reminder of what's there. File it away for year-round reference in your Christmas planner.

Frugal Finds: Tightwad Treats and Socks Saver Gift

Did you pick up a few bags of red-and-green Hershey's-brand Chocolate Kisses at the after-Christmas clearance at the grocery store? Smart shoppers know that a little sorting makes great savings for upcoming holidays.

Sort the stash into red kisses and green kisses, and divide the silver candies between both piles. Scoop each into a zipper food storage bag and freeze for instant Valentines Day and St. Patrick's Day candies--at a bargain price!

Socks alert! An organized frugal shopper can assemble a unique gift for little girls (of all ages!) at clearance prices on after-holiday socks sales throughout the year.

In your calendar, home management binder or Christmas planner, add a reminder to check department store clearance sections for holiday-themed socks after each upcoming holiday--Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, July 4th and Halloween. Usually, they're marked down dramatically. Buy several pair in sizes to fit your favorite girls.

Come Christmas, your frugal "Holiday Socks Assortment" will be enjoyed throughout the coming year--and at a price tag to make you smile!

Great Idea: Make A Rudy Day Tote

Ready to celebrate Rudolph Day on the 25th of each month? Jumpstart seasonal spirits with a Rudy Day tote!

A simple bag, box or container, the Tote contains items selected to make Rudolph Day special. Depending on your preferences, a Tote might contain holiday CDs or movies, seasonal coffee mixes or a special mug or bowl--whatever puts you in the mood for holiday planning.

Creative Crafts for Valentine's Day

Finally, look ahead to next month's happy holiday: Valentine's Day! Share the love with these easy craft gifts: