Friday, November 14, 2008

Christmas (And, the secret of a spreadsheet....)

OK. Each year I have EVERYTHING related to Christmas for our family saved in many worksheets in one MS Excel document. Sometime around the end of March, I perform a Save As and just rename last years spreadsheet. Then, as the year progresses, I put down thoughts and ideas of what I'd like to give and, yes, to receive (and, you bet, Thomas Keller's French Laundry and his Bouchon cookbook are definitely on my list this year). I just started reading a blog by a woman who cooked everything in the French Laundry cookbook. See her blog, here.

To my spreadsheet, I also add in gifts I've purchased over the year, which saves tons of time (now, if only I could remember where I hid that art set....).

In my Holiday document there are many worksheets, one each for: gift lists, christmas card list, holiday control journal (everything that I want to happen for the holidays - like making ornaments, having a quiet night with a yulelog for the solstice, driving around with hot chocolate to see the holiday lights in different neighborhoods, ideas for treats to make for the neighbors, crafts to make with the kids, and holiday events like the Nutcracker, ice skating, or Tea at the Ritz). I track my catalog and online orders and revel in being prepared. This does take a bit of effort to keep updated, but I feel it saves time in the long run. I just put an x in the first column when I have something completed. And, sorry for the photo on the right, just wanted to give you an impression of what the sheet looks like - it's just very simple.

Right now, I'm working on our Christmas card photo. Unfortunately, I lost my small digital camera this summer during our Alaskan Cruise, and my lovely Sony decided to have a bad card and doesn't work anymore (costs as much to fix as to buy a new one). So, I'm looking for a new camera - any suggestions for one that you love that takes great photos with not much delay between click and capture?

Well, the whole point of all this mad winter rush is to create traditions for my family, right? My children do enjoy the traditions. They love crafting - here's a red felt bird that we did a few years back from - a great website to help get inspired. We've put multi-colored feathers in glass ornament balls and colored tulle, too (almost said tu-tu, there).

And, there is something about pulling out an ornament every year and smiling as we remember making them. We also put these birds on presents as hang tags (we made them a bit smaller).

So, something you do every year is a tradition? Since I enjoy cooking, every year I like to make treats for the neighbors. Last year was gingerbread. This year, I'm thinking of mexican wedding cookies or gingersnaps (still looking for a recipe). And, Martha had a great idea for presentation in a cardstock box you print out, cut, fold and glue. Inexpensive and cute. I was thinking of printing a little christmas greeting with our name & address on a small banner and attaching to the box.

More on Christmas to come (after Thanksgiving, anyway - now I'm just busy finishing the lists). Hope you enjoy your Friday and weekend!

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