What I’ve Learned from Thanksgiving & How it Will Save Christmas

By Amy Hannold

24/7 MOMS Frugal Living Editor

It’s here, I was told, as I read a Facebook post – “Thanksgiving Eve”.  My mind raced back to a cold night, not long ago, on Halloween, when I thought “Thanksgiving will be here soon”.  Where did the time go?  So, here I sit, on the couch trying to multi-task.  My husband needs directions on cooking yams, my daughter wants something “fun” to do on her school holiday and I— I’m slightly less than pleasant- or “present”.   The only thing that will keep me from eating an entire pumpkin pie or hibernating until January is this – I will do better for Christmas.

Complete Your Cards and Buy the Customized Gifts-Now!:  I’m seeing ads for “Black Friday” photo-gift sales.  That’s the “Black Friday” shopping I will be doing, from the comfort of my home.  This year’s Christmas cards will be found this weekend, as I transition my home from fall to Christmas.  I will email the family today, to acquire everyone’s current address, so that mailing is not delayed.   Lesson:  If it has to be mailed or shipped, do it now to avoid missing the special day and paying “express” shipping fees.  I will order photo prints and gifts this coming week, so that they are ready and waiting for Christmas.   P.S.  Photo gifts make great birthday & holiday gifts for early 2013 events.  This is the time to get great deals on gifts you’ll look forward to giving!

Start “Every-Week” Tasks Earlier:  I have a newsletter to publish every Thursday, and I’m cutting it close this week.  My obstacles are my own wish to “do nothing” and that everyone else that I need something from, is doing the same.  It’s tough to be “merry” when unfinished work is all I can think about.  Lesson:  I must be better organized with my time and start earlier -even before I think I need to, so that I’m ready to be “present” and enjoy the holiday.

Advent Planning – It’s a Must Do for This Week:  My daughter watched way too many episodes of Garfield cartoons today.  I knew I had “funner” things for her to do, but chores were the only things I could hand her.  It didn’t work.  Ok, so I guess it’s time to chart out December, as well as some fun-ready activities. I’ve designated a folder for incoming ideas (both email and from magazines), and my kids and I will review them. ( My favorite book, “The Advent-ure of Christmas”, by Lisa Whelchel).  I’m going to check in with my creative friends over coffee (another missed opportunity this week) and get some ideas.  That’s multi-tasking too – just don’t tell them they’re on my “To-Do” list.

Think “Outside My Circle” – Who Do I Usually Forget?  No one wants to be forgotten, and I hate when I think I’ve got my Christmas “all wrapped up” – only to discover I’ve forgotten the neighbor, a distant relative, or those special people who make my world run smoothly.  So, the list starts today of who I want to recognize and how I want to do something special for them in the coming month.

Party Supplies, Buy Them Once, and For Less:  Forced with limited time today, my daughter and I bought “fall” napkins at the grocery store.  No coupon, no sale, and not really “Thanksgiving” at all.  Ikes!  It was tough, I tell you – really!  It’s what I had to do when I realized her assignment of bringing the napkins to dinner hadn’t been done yet.  Retailers display Christmas supplies way before we need them, to entice shoppers to buy more.  All that advance purchasing gives us lots of time to misplace our stuff too, so we’ve got to have one place to keep them.  The same goes for gifts, especially if you’re like me and you shop all year-round.

A Few Holiday Deals to Look Forward to—and Where to Look For Some Great “Experience Gifts”:  Another thing I have to do is turn in some of my Coke Rewards points.  I read that on December 1, for a limited time, I can redeem them for a $25 Walmart Gift Card.   And, in the spirit of enjoying time with my family, I’m looking for “Experience Gifts” this year.  I received an emails from some local performance theatres that they to, will be having “Black Friday” deals.  What a great way to “Shop Local” and give gifts that will be enjoyed after Christmas.  The same can be said for discounts on magazines – I love that there’s no travel involved in finding these gifts.  Recipients have the reminder that I thought of them, each month of next year, as they enjoy a new magazine.

Finally, as the kids are in bed now and the yams are baked, it’s time to stop for the “Reason for the Season”.  I’m grateful for my readers and the opportunity to share ideas with you each week.  I also am thankful for those I will be missing this holiday season.  In tribute to my Grandmother, I share with you a poem she displayed in her kitchen.  It’s called “Recipe for Happiness”.  I think that by following this recipe, you’ll have much to be thankful for in years to come.

Whoever you are, be noble

Whatever you do, do well.

Whenever you speak, speak kindly.

Give joy wherever you dwell.

Little by little, all tasks are done-

And so the crowns of the faithful are won.

Lose no precious moment, day by day-

For time will never bring you back the moments thrown away.

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