Tag Archives: shopping

Last Minute Christmas To-Do’s

19 Dec

It’s Not Too Late!

OK, it is just a week before Christmas and you are not ready.

Where do you start?

What do you do?

busy christmas

Before you throw your hands up and surrender, stop for a minute and evaluate what you CAN get done to make this holiday memorable. Here is a step-by-step guide on guide you through so you get the basics done before the holiday.

santa - xmas list

Make a List and Check it Twice

The first thing you should do is make a list of what you need to do. Let’s face it, you don’t have time to run around like a chicken with your head cut off!  Every minute counts and the more organized you are, the more productive you will be.

I am including a copy of a last minute To-Do list to be sure you get the basics done.

last minute - decor

Last Minute Decor

It’s not too late to make the house look festive

There are just a few simple steps (ok, except the step abut putting up the tree) that can be done in just a few minutes of your time.

Hang Wreath on Door – 5 minutes – tops

Hang Stockings – another 5 minutes

Candles in the Windows – 10-15 minutes – depending on how many windows you have in your house…

Set up Tree – whether real or artificial, this is a ‘must do’ for the holiday! Although this isn’t a 5 minute project, setting up a tree this weekend is a perfect opportunity to spend time with family

Cookies for Santa – don’t forget to put the cookies out for Santa! And a glass of milk! And don’t forget carrots for the reindeer!

Gifts Under the Tree – the final touch to make Christmas morning special

last minute - errands

Last Minute Errands To-Do

The better you are organized when leaving the house, the more effective your errands will be. Before you leave the house, make sure you take with you any coupons or lists you have. One of the biggest time-savers I have found is being able to buy stamps AND gift cards for many retailers right at the grocery store. So you may have to be a bit flexible when it comes to store selections or gift card amounts, but seriously, IT’S JUST A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!

Get Tree – chop one down, get one pre-cut at a lot, buy an artificial one – whatever you prefer

Pick Up Christmas Cards – if you ordered them online, swing by the retailer that is printing them for you

Shop for Gifts – If you live near a Wal-Mart or Target, you can seriously knock off a bunch of your list in these type of department stores…

Shop for Meals (don’t forget cookies for Santa & carrots for reindeer!) – Hmmm, one trip to the grocery store can help you with: food, beverages, items to include in a gift basket for a hostess, gift cards, stamps

last minute - correspondence

Last Minute Correspondence

Last Minute Correspondence For everyone that thought it was just way too later to properly wish your family & friends a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year – it’s not! The US Postal Service is working really hard to help folks spread their holiday cheer, but you need to ACT FAST so your wishes get there in time.

Christmas Cards – If you live near a store that offers a 1 hour photo service (Wal-Mart is my favorite for price, quality and speed) you can easily create a Christmas card in the comfort of your own home on their website. Don’t think you need to go through all the hassles of taking a picture of the kids all dressed up in their Holiday finest to get this card done. Lot’s of folks use family pictures from their vacation, or from when they cut down their tree, or any other time of the year when everyone looked happy. My standby holiday card includes a collage of my son playing basketball, baseball and football…

Facebook/Twitter Post wishing everyone a Merry Christmas – While Christmas cards can be sent to your closest family & friends, a lovely heartfelt post on Facebook or Twitter can reach more distant friends.

Thank you notes to staff – A must-do for this time of year. Taking a few moments to write a heartfelt card expressing the gratitude you have for your staff goes a long way for making them feel appreciated. The key here – handwritten notes. Your staff will know and appreciate that even at this busy time of year you took the time to focus on them.

Thank you notes to customers – Another must-do for this time of year. A heartfelt card expressing the gratitude you have for your customers is necessary to maintain relationships you have taken all year to build. If possible – handwritten notes to your largest customers. For companies with many, many customers, a printed card will have to do – if possible, a handwritten signature perhaps?

last minute - miscellaneous

Last Minute Miscellaneous Tasks

Last Minute Miscellaneous Tasks You could probably write a list of things you want to get done that is a mile long, but there is no sense getting caught up in the miniscule details that won’t let you enjoy your family time this holiday. Focus on the biggest things and be happy! Key words there – FOCUS and HAPPY!!!

Write up a menu and shopping list – remember, the better your list when leaving the house, the more productive your time will be while you are out and about

Wrap gifts – prioritize your gift wrapping by doing the gifts that need to be handed out first – teachers, bus drivers, staff – and then move on to the gifts for your hostesses and finally your family since those gifts will be given out last. And yes, you won’t be alone if you are wrapping gifts after the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve!

Put out cookies for Santa & carrots for reindeer – don’t forget to do this before the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve! You don’t want to give anyone an excuse to get out of bed on Christmas Eve because they realize they forgot to leave a treat for Santa. Especially if the elves are still wrapping gifts!

Follow Santa on a Santa Tracker – There are several apps and online websites that track Santa’s journey around the world on his way to your house. This has proven to be the best way to get kids to bed on Xmas Eve! They have to be asleep so Santa can actually come!!!

last minute - gifts

Last Minute Gifts

Sorry, I had to save the biggest task for last…

Last Minute Gifts Gift buying can actually take the longest time of all the tasks you have left to do. Remember that the most memorable gifts you can give are possibly to most unexpected. A generic gift card is nice for most folks, and I certainly love to get a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, but have you ever thought to give a gift certificate book to the local car wash, or how about the local movie theater? Gas cards are also a nice treat that most folks might not think of.

Keep in mind that people who get gifts from many folks (teachers, bus drivers, hair dressers) might very well appreciate even the ‘generic’ gift card over a tchotchke (aka chachki) item like a Worlds Greatest Teacher mug filled with hot chocolate fixings… although the hot chocolate might be nice, they really don’t need 30 mugs from this Christmas alone….

Here is a list of the people you may want to remember at this time of year:

Hostesses

School Teachers

Religion Teachers

Bus Drivers

Nanny/Babysitters

Cleaning Lady

Postal Worker

Garbage Removal

Hair Dresser

Door Man

Parents

In-Laws

Kids (from parents)

Kids (from Santa)

Friends

Co-Workers/Boss

Grab Bag Gifts (Gift Exchanges)

Don’t forget to have a few extra gifts stashed away for that awkward exchange when someone hands you a gift and you just weren’t prepared to give them something…. some items that you can have ready include – bottle of wine, gift cards, tin of cookies and nice ornaments. Go as far as actually wrapping these gifts (including a bow) and marking them with a post it note with the contents. This will help to disguise the fact that you didn’t think there would be a gift exchange with them this year….

Merry Xmas-Happy New Year from BGP

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

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Having a Baby? What Not To Buy…

3 Oct

I recently wrote an article on what are 5 things you don’t need to buy for your new baby.  I thought I would share those thoughts with you to see if you guys agree.

I remember going in to Babies R Us when I was pregnant thinking we would go in and pick out some needed baby things, add them to a registry and hope to see those items again at my baby shower.  Who knew that you need to plan several shopping trips and LOTS of research to figure out what you do and don’t want for your baby?

baby superstore

mom doing research

Unfortunately I can’t take away your need to do research, but I may be able to save you a few minutes and save you a few dollars, by pointing out a few simple things that you simply do not need when preparing for a baby.

time and money

Expensive Crib Bedding

When shopping for your nursery “theme”, the crib bedding often takes center stage.   Just remember that as adorable as that is in the crib, most of it needs to come out of the crib before the baby can go in.  I remember “needing” the Alphabet Pooh bedding set, at more than $300 over 12 years ago, only to be totally disappointed that the comforter and other ‘accessories’ had to go before the baby could be placed in the crib to sleep.  The comforter became a wall hanging and the other items just seemed to disappear after a while.

alphabet pooh bedding

Strollers for Every Activity

Bottom line, you do not need a different stroller for every day of the week.  Figure out what you will really use a stroller for, and choose one decent stroller for most activities.  You may also opt for a small stroller that can be used for quick errands, or a really good jogging stroller IF you really jog.  If you will just be going for a walk around the block with baby, you don’t need a $500 jogging stroller – no matter how much you think you need one…

strollers

Diaper Genie

We had one when my son was a baby, and honestly used it for a pretty long time.  Problem is, you are storing wet and soiled diapers in it for quite a while.  (Don’t kid yourself about promising you will empty it often – they are a pain to empty so you won’t empty it nearly as often as you would want to.)  After a while, it’s gonna smell and there isn’t too much you can do about it.  Save yourself the hassle and just throw the diapers away in your normal trash.  Wrap any soiled diapers in tin foil to reduce the smell in your trash.

diaper genie

Baby wipe warmers

Baby wipe warmers can be very tempting, but all they really do is dry out the baby wipes too quickly.  You can either rinse the baby wipes in warm water in the sink prior to changing baby, or you em in your hand for a few seconds – your body heat will do the trick quite nicely.

baby wipes warmer

Too Many Baby Clothes

You change a babies clothes pretty frequently, but not so frequently that you need to have mountains of clothes ready for them to wear in every size.  And please watch the excessive ruffles on baby girl dresses.  Crinoline should be reserved for older girls dresses or special occasion dresses that are fully lined (such as Baptismal gowns).  Announcing the gender of your child before birth is sure to send many of your guests out to buy as much pink or blue clothing items as they can.  Take a hard look at what you have for your baby – especially small sizes – and try to return some of it before the baby is born.  You can save the store credit for later use.  It’s also helpful because you really don’t know what size your baby will need.  Big babies in our family have always flown through newborn and 3 month sizes and were wearing 6 month clothing at a pretty young age.

baby girl dress

Can you think of any items that new parents may be tempted to buy, but may later on find unnecessary?  Please share those items in the comments section.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in Baptismal and First Communion Apparel for both boys and girls.