What do you think Santa Claus is doing right now? Do you think he’s on some beach, lounging in a hammock, drinking Margaritas and listening to Christmas Carols on his IPhone? Nope!
Santa Claus is organized! In fact, he and Mrs. Claus think ahead, so that on Christmas Eve they can enjoy a nice, leisurely dinner before he sets off at dark to deliver toys and goodies to the boys and girls.
We all know that the holidays require extra time and energy. So why not take advantage of summer leisure and get a jump on the holidays? It’s sort of like building a savings account.
1. Stocking Stuffers
Stuff as you go. Hide a small container, like a shoe box or Zip Lock Gallon bag, for each child. When you’re out and about and find items that would be good for stocking stuffers, like movie tickets, gift cards, little toys and books, purchase and put in the hidden containers.
Come midnight on Christmas Eve, you’ll thank yourself when you think, ‘EEgad, we gotta do stockings,’ and you’ll have most of the contents ready to stuff.
You know how kids love lots of presents under the tree? Make the contents of some, very familiar items.
Have you ever noticed when your children find toys they haven’t seen in several months, how excited they are? When my kids were little, I would rotate toys when the kids weren’t around, by filling a box with some of their books, games and toys and taking it up to the attic. When I’d get one of those stored boxes out, no matter what time of year it was, it felt just like Christmas.
So start squirreling away a few toys they like (they’ll wonder where they are for a while) and then wrap them from Santa or put smaller items in their stocking with a note that says, “This must have run away with one of my elves when they were helping me check up on you.”
3. “Do” your Christmas cards in July
Why not take care of Christmas cards this summer? If you’re like me, you’ve probably got a stash of Christmas cards plugging up one of your drawers. Get them out, pretend it’s Christmas, write a tender note, address, seal, stamp and hold until December 1. Think how easy it’ll be plopping them into the mail that early!
Note: I’ve always said, “Unless you are a really good writer, don’t write a Christmas letter!” But if writing is your calling, write that Christmas letter now and save time when you’re in the middle of Christmas chaos.
4. Wrap and hide
One year, starting in January, whenever I bought a birthday present for someone in the family, I purchased a Christmas present too. Then, while I was wrapping the birthday gift in festive birthday wrap, and had the ribbon, tape and scissor’s mess out, I wrapped the other gift in Christmas wrap and hid it for Christmas. Be sure to label the gifts so you don’t have to unwrap a bunch of gifts to see what’s in them.
Note: When I buy gift wrap, I look for solid red, silver, gold and green, so I can use the paper for more than one kind of event.
5. Make extra dough
From now on, whenever you bake cookies from scratch, bake a double or quadruple (it’s too hard to think in thirds) batch and freeze the extra dough for Christmas. I figure, when you make a big mess mixing up a batch of cookies, you may as well get a bigger bang for your mess.
When the holidays hit like a category five hurricane, you’ll have saved yourself the time it takes to make the dough and clean up. All you’ll have to do is thaw, bake and fill the house with the aroma of fresh baked, homemade Christmas cookies.
6. Everybody loves money
I love to think up creative ways to give money as gifts. I put ten of my favorite ideas on a video called
I’ve had thousands of people email me telling me how the ideas saved them so much time. All my ideas use items you have in your cupboard or can get at your grocery store; all you add is the money. You could collect the items and add the money as you get it. Here’s just one of my ideas (not on the video).
Every year I get requests for this fun way to give a crisp bill of your desired denomination.
Say you want to give someone a hardback book as a gift (it has to be a hardback) but you want to add a little money to the gift. Write this poem to the person:
I underlined four words in this book
And added a word in a space
So as you read, a sentence will form
Supplying you with a trace
Of evidence to a surprise I have
Waiting while you read
So enjoy your book and note your clues
And you’ll find your surprise indeed
With a pen, open the book you are going to give and find and underline these words in order skipping pages forward so the reader bumps into them as he/she reads: IT IS IN THE.
The word to write in a “space” (as the poem tells) is the word, SPINE. You can write it in a margin or where ever you see fit. That’s it! Those are the clues. It is in the spine.
Then put the denomination of your choice (folded lengthwise) down the spine of the book. (Make sure the bill is brand new so it’s easy to insert and remove.)The bill will NOT come out as the person reads, but it’s easy to remove by taking off the jacket and bringing the front and back covers of the book together (sort of turning it inside out). That relaxes the spine material and the bill is easy to get, yet while the book is in its proper position, the money remains safe and undetectable until the benefactor figures out the puzzle.
Thank you for reading Young@Heart. I hope I’ve excited you to have some Christmas fun this summer! Christmas is really a feeling in your heart and you’ll be surprised how Christmassy you’ll feel doing what Santa Clause does during his summers. I hope you share this with friends and family.