Your Key to Making Your Favorite Things Better

Tis the season for... you fill in the blank

For me - it's  traditions, thankfulness, giving, memories-music-lights -
Let's put the inevitable first:  just breathe! Whether it's because your hands are cramping  due to addressing Christmas cards, you had to wait in lines at the Post Office or department stores, you burnt a food item, there were too many cooks in your kitchen, decorations and gifts you ordered didn't arrive on time,  your guests either arrived too early or late,  you had to deal with exhausting family members: just breathe!
Or maybe it's the cumulative effect of having to plan the meal,  create the gift list, shop and wrap, set out the dinner service,  clean up, figure out what to do with all the leftovers.
Whatever it is,  walk to the nearest window, open it, put your head out and just scream, wave your arms about, pull your hair if necessary ------ and then breathe! Just breathe- after all, it's probably something you've not done since Thanksgiving!

Since I will not leave you hanging out the window, I offer the following stress-relieving, breath-inducing tips to smooth your December holidays: 

  • Watch your favorite holiday movie or have your favorite CD playing through the house
  • Remember the mistletoe. Always a great excuse to pucker-up! But, did you know? Back in France in 500 B.C., the druid priests believed it could ward off evil, while in 20 B.C. the Roman poet Virgil cast is as the key to safe passage into the underworld. 
  • Plan a family night

These holiday housework tips will help you get prepared so you can share this time with family and friends in thankfulness, love and laughter.
Sit down with a hot beverage - outline the must do items 
  • Clean the kitchen every evening
  • Tidy the living room  (as needed, depending on use.)
  • Vacuum the entry and living room, sweep hard floors such as the kitchen and pantry.  (This may need to be done every few days) 
  • Dust shelves in the living areas/and guest rooms - (Even a three-year-old can help you with that , after all,  many hands make light work!)
  • Bathrooms used by guests should receive regular attention (Tidiness can wait in rooms that have doors that remain closed to guests, such as kids bedrooms and bath.) 
Laundry -
  • Do one general load (towels/sheets/everyday clothes) every night. Special items and 'delicates' are the responsibility of the owner, expect when the owner is too young to know/care.

When guests arrive-
  • Help them settle in by showing them drawers, hangers, the closet where they can place their suitcase and other belongings to help keep the room free of clutter.  
In the guest bath provide containers or a tray for their toiletries, key's, etc.  
Make a difference by making a gift of yourself, the truest gift of all.
  • Teach what you know
  • Tackle a service project as a family
  • Visit an assisted living center, or volunteer at a community service effort

Memories, Music and Light
Refresh your memory -- 
  • Uunpack what you have --  before you dash out to the craft store or holiday store. 
  • Take inventory of your freezer and pantry before you go to the grocery;  and eat from the freezer before the holiday. That way you not only avoid having to cook but you'll  also make space for meats that are on sale during the season.
  • Display your collections and souvenirs
  • Give your tree a fresh look by adding color. Remember it can be your color. You don't have to go with this year's newest - hottest - designer color. 
  • Dust off the music and sing carols of glad tidings . Whether in tune or not,  - sing your favorite song and ask family members to join you, versus rolling their eyes. 
  • Play to your style - It is Texas - so wrap holiday lights around a cactus, a century plant, Longhorns, etc.   (On my parent's 50th wedding anniversary in December 2000, we outlined their windmill in white and red lights.  It could be seen for miles and Mom and Dad enjoyed all the company that stopped by to congratulate their life together, to marvel at the windmill lights and enjoy sharing  memories, love and laughter.)  

Accepting life's limits, and reaching for a simpler,
more meaningful celebration-
is an essential element of Christmas!

Austin Christmas 

Guide 2015 


Why Christmas -- The Story 
Christmas Traditions from 
Around the World 

December House 
Cleaning  Check List

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