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.
October's Rudolph Club topic? Holiday meals! Will they be festive ... or frazzled?
Assignment: Plan Holiday Meals!
Will you prepare a holiday meal in your home during the holidays this year? Two? Three or more? It's time to get organized!
Holiday meals can be challenging, but pre-planning can make life easier--and get the cook out of the kitchen and into the fun with the rest of the family. Check these pre-event tips to make holiday meals easier to prepare and serve:
- Plan on paper! Turkeys who try to "wing it" when preparing holiday menus are apt to end up shy a drumstick or two--or find they don't have the cranberry sauce, relishes or thickener for the gravy. Plan holiday meals on paper (we make it easy with a free printable holiday menu planner form). A written plan helps you plan shopping trips, delegate dishes to others, and cuts down on feast-day dashes to the supermarket.
- Before the event, do a tabletop check. Where are the table linens? Are they clean? Check serving pieces and decor items; will you need to polish silver or remove wax from candleholders? Prepare for a pretty, well-presented table now for smooth sailing on Thanksgiving Day.
- Shop ahead for holiday staples. During the next month, supermarkets and discount stores will offer many ingredients for traditional holiday meals as "loss leaders". Designed to get you in the store (and, they hope, keep you there), these special prices won't be seen again after Thanksgiving, so stock up now on holiday non-perishables like pumpkin, cranberry sauce, flour and sugar, butter and spices.
- Find holiday recipes. In June's Rudolph Club Meeting, we rounded up our holiday recipes, but in case you're just joining us, do it now: locate and tag or copy the recipes you use to prepare a holiday meal. No more last-minute searching for the clipping with the sweet potato bake recipe ... that was here... somewhere ... last year ... you think ..
Check our Christmas Planner printables area for printables for Recipes to Try, Holiday Recipes, Potluck Planner and Baking Planner forms. They'll help you organize and speed holiday cooking chores.
Ready? In October, plan for stress-free holiday meals for your organized home. A prepared cook is a happy cook--and one who enjoys the celebration, too.
October Rudolph Club Reminders
Craft check! Making hand-crafted gift or decor items this year? Don't let dust settle on your efforts. Try to work on crafted items each day. There's less time than you think to complete holiday crafts projects.
Monitor the progress of the Gift Closet. Have you added gifts this month? Record them on the free printable Gift Closet Inventory in your Christmas planner notebook. It's a one-page reminder of what's tucked away for Christmas and birthdays throughout the year.
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.
Frugal Finds for October
Halloween ahead--and Halloween clearance sales will follow. Single-serving candies, pre-wrapped toys and tiny cans of modeling clay make great stocking stuffers, so keep an eye out for these Trick-or-Treat alternatives at clearance prices after October 31.
Begin watching crafts store sale flyers this month. You'll find good prices on holiday decor items and the makings for home-made gifts.
Christmas creep alert! Last year, readers reported that many stores removed Thanksgiving and Autumn themed candies along with the trick-or-treat goodies. If you'll be making Thanksgiving Blessings Mix to share with family next month, stock up on seasonal candies today. They'll be long gone before you need them.
Black Friday Sales ahead! Are you a dedicated day-after-Thanksgiving shopper? Get organized to get the jump on Black Friday specials. Online coupon and sales sites often list Black Friday specials before the big day. Last year, more retailers introduced online Black Friday sales, as well.
To get organized, try our free printable Holiday Sales Planner form. It'll track this year's Black Friday bargains.