stephmodo: Christmas Report Card

Christmas Report Card

• 22 December 2011

I realize Christmas Day isn't here just yet and that a report card is a tad premature; but, since the two days before Christmas is mostly full of baking, cooking, wrapping and delivering, I figure I can give myself a decent assessment on holiday preparations.  Some of you know my report card wasn't looking so hot last year; but that's okay because the fact that it was lackluster motivated me to make sure this one was memorable in all the right ways.

Here are some things I did right this year that made the month of December sweeter and less stressful:

1. If you hand write Christmas cards, buy them after Christmas at a discount and then save them for next year.  Even buy pretty stamps for the cards and store them together.  This not only ensures that you will in fact send cards the next year, but is cost-effective and a timesaver too.  One less thing to worry about next November...check.

2.  Buy holiday dresses and Christmas pajamas after Christmas (i.e. January) or in October, before Halloween.  This year I bought my girls these stylish and reasonably-priced dresses.  This is my first experience with Next and so far so good.   I found my kids pajamas on Ebay...a great place to find high-end children's clothing for reasonable prices if you're cool with closeouts. 

3.  Tell yourself that all Christmas preparations need to be done by Halloween so that you actually get them done by Thanksgiving :)  This ensures a peaceful December and lots of time to bake cookies for the neighbors. 

4.  If you don't have the opportunity to spend time with family on Christmas or Christmas Eve, then make plans with good friends in the same boat.

5.  Make an effort to share your means or talents with those less fortunate in some way...and do it on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  Everyone desires a nice holiday so if you can help out in some way, even if small, then it counts big time!

What are some things you did this December (or earlier in the year) to make holiday preparations more enjoyable?  I still feel like I'm trying to get this down and would love to hear any input from you...

image 1 - my favorite little nativity set about the house  /  image 2 - our Christmas cards with Minted skinny!


  1. Hi Stephanie,

    Here's something we did at home that I think has made our holiday season extra special.

    My son (age 6) is a budding artist. Back in October, I picked up blank notecards at our local arts and crafts store. I think I got about 50 cards on sale for about $10. Over the course of the next 2 months, whenever he wanted to draw, I pulled out a blank notecard and my son had at it!

    My only criteria for the drawings were 1) that they should be "nice" (i.e., something that will make a person happy, not scared) and 2) the pictures should tell a story. I finished each one by hand-writing a standard message on the inside and signing our names.

    It was a bit of work -- but holiday cards always are, right? And how many people can say that they got a holiday card with a robot shooting Christmas trees and snowflakes out of his arms? I know of one person, and only one. :)

  2. Hi Stephanie, those Next dresses are too cute!! Thank you for this blog and always pointing me in such interesting directions. As for your report card, great idea. Balancing the holiday madness is so, so difficult but it can be done with a decent amount of preparedness, organization and most importantly (for me) learning that it's perfectly fine to let go of some good ideas that just didn't get done this year. There's always next year! :)

    As far as organization, I try and buy all of my wrapping paper in the after Christmas sales. That way I can use the nice paper I like but pay the same price as drugstore paper, had I bought it in December. Just a little thing..

    btw, I included your STUNNING wrapping from earlier in my Top 5 Christmas blog posts. :)

    Thank you for this beautiful space and Merry Christmas!

  3. I'm sorry I can't help with the making of Christmas prep more enjoyable. I struggled with it this year more than in the past. I was very intrigued though, with your link to the Next clothing website. I found the perfect pants (ribbed waist pull-on) for my 14-year-old son who struggles with his fine motor skills. So I tried to buy one in each color. Every single item I added to the cart said it was out of stock! Can you help me with how this site works, please?
    Thank you so much and Merry Christmas,

  4. Great tips, but be sure to buy "forever" stamps as prices are rising again, and getting extra and putting on TWO stamps won't save time at all! Merry Christmas to all of you!

  5. Hi Steph,

    Love your holiday envelopes! How do you make that? Thanks and hope you guys enjoyed your Christmas!

  6. Hi Anon, the cards were from Vandalia Press

    and the skinny labels were from Minted, in the color "chestnut/red". Loved 'em:

  7. Other Anon :)

    I love that idea...super thoughtful. I'm learning it's all about preparation. This month was so much more relaxing than usual. I'm so over holiday stress! I'll be shooting for Halloween again this year :)

    Mary, thank you for including me in your round up! Also, I agree with you on being okay that certain things don't get done. It's more important to enjoy the holiday and be relaxed so your kids don't associate Christmas with stress.

    Mauermanns, I'm not an expert on Next stuff, I've only had one experience so far. However, it was a seamless, enjoyable one. I'm wondering if the holiday rush botched things up a bit?

    Lisa, I can't believe it's going up again...argh. I remember when stamps were like 29 cents. Yikes. So forever stamps it is! Let's hope they come up with something more attractive this year! Ha!

  8. I filled my advent calendar with things I knew I wanted to do this year - bake for neighbors, make gingerbread houses, invite friends over for games, deliver gifts to someone in need, etc. then put fluff in the remaining days - have hot chocolate with marshmallows, watch White Christmas, read Christmas Day in the Morning, etc. This really pushed me to have all my prep done before December 1 (well, and also the fact that we live in Russia - no waiting for black Friday deals here), and to not overfill my weekends! This is the first Christmas I actually enjoyed activities with my kids all month!

  9. Where did you find this adorable nativity scene?



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