Sunday, December 01, 2013

December Begins: Preparing for the Festivities

Poinsettia Stocking, from Pier 1 Imports

Here come the holidays! Today I'm spending my last vacation day decorating my home for the Christmas season. Besides decorating, I'll be making my home clean and cozy for my house guests, and preparing it for the holiday entertaining I'm planning to do.


Small Reindeer Topiary, from Sur la Table

  • Need to pick out your Christmas tree? Find a wreath for your front door? Hang some mistletoe?
  • Pay bills, rent and/or mortgage.
  • Look over your budget for the month ahead. What do you need to put away for savings and for emergencies, what can you spend on Christmas gifts, what bills/obligations do you have, what do you need to budget for food and entertainment?
  • How about your time budget? What holiday festivities, events and outings are important to you, and how will you make time for them?
  • Peek at your list of upcoming birthdays this month. Write cards and mail now - it will get busier this month and you may forget later on. Order flowers, and send gifts if you're planning to.
  • Make room on your calendar for at LEAST one night every week in December where you can stay home in your pajamas, de-stress, and spend time with family. Commit to this time, and keep it open no matter what. Be firm and stick to your commitment to stay home relaxing at least one night per week this month. You'll enjoy spending your time at home, not running around busily to events or errands. Guard this time fiercely for yourself. It's an important gift to give yourself and your family.
  • If you set out an Advent calendar or Advent house, it's time to get it out and stock it with small treats!
  • If you're planning on throwing a holiday party, have you set the date firmly and let potential guests know? It's already December first - your guests, if they're the social type of people, likely already have every weekend evening booked for the next month. Better send out a save-the-date or invitation immediately if you are hosting a holiday party this year.
  • Do you need to make any doctor, dentist, haircut or salon, or veterinary appointments for the next busy 4 weeks? Any appointments you can put off until next month, to keep December saner?
  • Check your inventory of firewood, starter logs, matches, and candles (if needed and if you have a wood fireplace)
  • Bundle up and go for a quick, brisk walk if you didn't get any exercise earlier this week. You can always treat yourself to a hot bath or extra long shower when you get back to warm back up.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Holiday Preparations

Embroidered Reindeer Pillow, from Pier 1 Imports

This weekend, do whatever you think you need to do to prepare for the holidays you celebrate. (I'm pretty sure everyone who cares to read Lovely Living is pretty enthusiastic about the holidays!) You might have already put up your tree - if so, I bet you can still find some decorating projects to take care of.

Christmas Sleigh Treat Boxes, from Sur la Table

Start planning your cooking for your holiday party; go Christmas shopping; write holiday cards; shop for baking and entertaining foods and supplies; decorate your home or apartment; put up lights; bake goodies; get out your holiday china; decorate a gingerbread house with your kids or nieces/nephews; whatever you enjoy doing for the holidays.

Holiday Storage, from The Container Store

Today I'll put on some Christmas music (I just throw on Comcast's Christmas music station), wrap a couple of gifts (and label them carefully), go through my candle cupboard looking for seasonal candles and holders, nibble on my holiday peppermint Oreo cookies, and put up garlands indoors. I'll pick which of my two Christmas wreaths I want to put on the front door, and put the other on a wall inside.

Yesterday I worked on putting up our Christmas lights. I put up a lot, but I'm not nearly done. I'll finish up this afternoon, hopefully before it gets dark. After that, I will put colored light strands in all of my front windows, upstairs and down.

Later tonight I plan to email some friends and family members, to make sure I have their current addresses and information for my address book. That way I'll have everything ready for the evenings I'll be settling in by the fire to write my holiday newsletters and cards.

LOVELY BATH & BODY: Black Cherry by Philosophy

I am delighted by this new limited edition lotion and shower gel from Philosophy. I definitely love black cherry scented and flavored things, and I'm going to pamper myself with these this month!

Philosophy Black Cherry Italian Soda, from Sephora

LOVELY BLOGS: The History Kitchen

I'm always a sucker for food history writing, so I was delighted when I stumbled onto Tori's blog. I quite lost track of my time today because I wanted to read so many of her recent posts: American Cakes: Cider Cake; Popcorn: A Pop History; A Slice of Pumpkin History; and her article on vintage popcorn balls. You can also check out a couple of videos of her on television talking about food.

LOVELY BOOKS: Mary Blair's Little Book of Verses

Someone at Animation Resources scanned in the entire Mary Blair's Golden Book of Little Verses from the 1960s edition. There's no text, but you can enjoy the pictures.

LOVELY WEBSITES: Paper Thin Personas

This blog offers free printable paper dolls you can download and print out on your own computer. You can then cut them out and play with them, though some of them need to be colored in first. How fun! I love that you don't have to sign up for anything or give your email to download the dolls, nor is it a huge advertisement to buy anything. These are really cute - my favorite is Mia the Garden Fairy.


Christmas Holiday Baking: Why You Should Use a Food Scale (Gingerbread Snowflakes)

Christmas Wreath Cookies (The Bearfoot Baker)

Moving Black Friday Up a Week Could Save Thanksgiving (Consumerist)

Pear Riesling Compotes (Annie's Eats)

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cloud Frosting (Sweetopia)

Pretty, Round Snowflake Cookies (Haniela's)

Recipes for Ginger Sweets and Desserts (CHOW)

Setting Up an Easy Hot Cocoa Bar (Love From the Oven)

7 Delicious Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers (Baking Bites)

Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls (Bakingdom)

--Copyright 2013 Carrie Carolin

Lovely Living

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