I know many of you have just packed the Christmas stuff away but it's time to start planning for Christmas 2010. Trust me, you'll thank me in about 330 days from now.
First think of what you overheard and saw this Christmas. Who got the start of a collection this year? Who got a perfect gift that you can add to next Christmas? Who really enjoyed the board game at the big family get together and would like to own it, too? It's time to make notes. No, you won't remember later, so write it down in your control journal if you're a Fly Lady fan. Were there gift ideas you had but didn't get to fulfill? You now have an entire year to finish that project or hunt down that hard to find gift.
Make a plan. You know there are certain people you'll buy for every single year. Start buying for them now. If you only bought one gift a month, think how far ahead you'll be by Thanksgiving. I keep a gift idea list on my computer and recently I've started keeping track of gifts on my amazon.com account. Keep it in a place the recipients won't find it but where you won't lose it!
Regarding all that Christmas stuff you buy each year, this is the time of year to get it! Cards, paper goods, wrapping supplies, lights, ornaments and so on are super cheap right now. Shane and I bought our ornaments for next year's ornament exchange along with several Christmas themed gifts tonight-at 75% off. Last year I bought icecicle lights for $1.50 a box after Christmas. Christmas trees are also a steal right now. One word of caution-learn what you really need. Don't buy things you don't need just because they are on sale! That defeats the purpose of saving money!
Put it away wisely. I have a drawer full of gifts that I buy all year long. When I buy Christmas decor, I put it with my Christmas supplies, not in some closet where I won't find it until the spring after I need it. I have started keeping a small Christmas box in our bedroom for those random Christmas items I missed when I put it all away, as well as anything else Christmas themed that might come in during the year. I keep our Santa hats in it since we often need them for pictures before the decorations come out (this probably doesn't apply to you unless you are on the pregnancy center board of directors like Shane, where they usually take their Christmas card picture in November, but maybe there's something you often need before the rest of the stuff comes out, like Advent candles...).
Christmas 2010 really will be here before we know it, so spend a little time now preparing for it and you will thank me in November-it's just around the corner!