Saturday, October 11, 2008

10 Weeks to a Merry Christmas: Week 1

Before you make any plans for the upcoming holidays, create a budget. Here are some tips to get you started.

Decide on an amount you are able to spend. It should be an amount you have available in a savings account, or an amount you can easily save between now and December.
Write a list of all the people you usually buy a gift for. Be thorough. Don't forget the paperboy, trashmen, hairstylist, boss, secretary, mailman, your kid's teachers or any of the other people you may buy a small gift.
Put the list in order of importance, or in order of amount spent - with the highest at top. Usually your children, spouse and parents will be on the top of the list.
Now begin to divvy up the amount of your total budget. Write down an amount you would like to spend for each person. Total it up. Does it exceed your total? Begin deducting from each person till you reach your total. In some cases, it may be necessary to eliminate a person entirely.
Keep the budget with you in your handbag or wallet. Look at it as you shop, and make sure you do not go over the amount per person.
Peruse the Sunday advertisements for the best deals or use shop comparison sites such as to find the most reasonable prices on hot items. Take advantage of free shipping offers that are usually frequent during this time period.

Make a Holiday Planner. This could be as simple as purchasing a small notebook that you use just for your holiday planning. Or you could make it fun and create your own. This website has a lot of cute ideas. Make sure your planner has a place for your shopping and card lists, receipts, a copy of your budget, and lots of blank pages for recipes or decorating ideas you want to try this year.

Start shopping now. After you create your gift list it's easy! Just keep your list in your purse and keep an eye out for the items whenever you are out and about. This is a good way to get some of your items on sale, too.

Put a meal or two in your freezer every week. That way when the busy holiday season rolls around you can focus on having fun instead of making dinner. Here are some recipes to get you started.

Easy Cheesy Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
dash of paprika

Place chicken breasts in a disposable aluminum 9x13. Mix all other ingredients and pour over chicken. Label and freeze.
To Serve: Thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until chicken is tender. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Easy Swedish Meatballs
30 pre-cooked frozen meatballs
1 pkg. country gravy mix
1 cup sour cream
12 oz. pkg. egg noodles

Prepare gravy according to package directions. In a large saucepan, mix prepared gravy with 1 cup sour cream. Cool to room temperature. Place meatballs in a large freezer bag and pour sauce over meatballs. Label and freeze.
To Serve: Thaw overnight. Heat in large saucepan until meatballs are heated through and the mixture is bubbly. Serve over prepared noodles.

When you have accomplished these goals (before week 2) leave me a comment. One lucky person will win a homemade Christmas planner! I will try to get a picture of that posted later in the week.


Gina Lee said...

I haven't accomplished the goals yet but I just wanted to tell you that YOU ROCK!

Audrey said...

You forgot, with step 3...the old- high-school-friend-that-disapeared for a few years which should be TOP of the priority list. hee hee hee hee hee j/k

Love your advice. How did you become to be so organized?

Dixie Wise said...

These were great ideas!!! The stuff that always blind sides me are the groceries, wrapping supplies, the $80 tree, stopping at Hickory Farms (ha ha), etc etc etc. Ah, I love Christmas!!!