Organizing Your Holiday Decorations…

So the season is almost over — one week to go!  I might be a little early in making suggestions on organizing your decor, but keep these suggestions in mind next week when you start to take down your Santas and Snowmen.

1. BEFORE REMOVING ANYTHING:  Take pictures of each decorated room in your room.  It will make decorating much easier next year.  Start with a broad shot of the room and then take more detailed pictures of tables and mantles.  Download the pictures and store in a folder marked “Christmas Decorations” on your computer.

2.  Donate any decoration that you dont really love.  If it didnt get displayed, then donate it.  If you did display it and despised it everytime you walked pass, then donate.  (You will thank me next year).

3. Toss those raggedy, marked up cardboard boxes once and for all.  Buy green and red plastic totes to store your decorations.  Walmart, Target, Lowes, and Home Depot all sell them and are running specials on them from now until the end of the year.  Buy 5 or 6 this week to make sure you get the right size and color. (Trust me, you wont be able to find them next week).  Buy similar sizes. If you are storing these on shelves (which I highly recommend), make sure to measure the shelves BEFORE shopping!

4.  Buy a tote to store your ornaments.  These are very (VERY) handy and a great way to keep ornaments organized and safe.  THIS WEEK: Buy 3 or 4 depending on how many ornaments you have and how many trees you have.  These are the first storage bins to go and they dont come back until next year.

5.  Store like with like.  All mantel decor goes in one box labeled mantel.  All outside stuff goes in another box labeled outdoor.  All bathroom decor…well you get my drift.

6.  Take note of anything that you want to purchase for your holiday collection (tree skirt, wreath, etc).  Schedule some time to go shopping a day or two after Christmas to see if you can nab these items at a steal of a deal.  One year I purchased an artificial wreath complete with pinecones and fake snow for $8.  It was a $40 wreath normally!

7.  Throw away the Christmas cards.  Unless you have a craft project in mind for next year, toss these babies!  No one will care that you threw away their card — trust me — no one will care!

8.  While you are at it — throw away any wrapping paper remnants.  And for goodness sakes — dont keep used bows!

9.  Label the light strands on the artificial tree as you are taking in down.  “A” strand plugs into “A” output strand…etc.  It took me over an hour to plug my tree together — I finally mastered the puzzle and then quickly labeled the strands for easy assembly.  This year it took all of 20 minutes 🙂

There is a lot of sadness that comes with taking down holiday decor.  Many people are sad to see the holiday go — Im usually one of them as Christmas is my favorite time of year.  As you are putting everything away, pull out a journal and jot down some thoughts for the new year.  A good start is looking back on what a great year 2011 was for you and your family — it will put you in a great mood to decide what to do differently for 2012.  New hobby? New interest? Keep the motivation and energy high as you welcome 2012! 🙂

Savannah, GA – Planning a Trip to the Low Country

Hello!  I’ve been MIA for awhile…sorry about that!  Just spent a few days in the low country — Savannah, GA.  Really interesting place to visit.

Savannah GA 2 Savannah

If you are planning a trip to the lowcountry — a few words of advice:

 1. Stay downtown in the Historic District.  (you can walk to anything and everything you need.)

We stayed at the Planters Inn.  Highly recommend if you are looking for the B&B feel without the B&B ‘charm’ (aka shared bathrooms and community breakfast).

Planters Inn


Planters Inn Christmas

A few others: Hilton Garden Inn, Double Tree, Ballastone Inn, & Bohemian Hotel.

2.  Visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  (gorgeous Catholic cathedral that offers free visitations during the day except during Mass)

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist


Inside of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Inside of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist 2

3. To see the town, A) take a jogging tour — get in your exercise and cover more territory, B) rent bicycles, C) take a horse and carriage ride, or D) ride around on the trolley.

Running in Savannah

Running in Savannah

4. Eat at The Olde Pink House for dinner — exceptional service and food.  I mean exceptional!

Jennifer & Raymond in Savannah

5.  Visit several historic homes throughout the district ($10/adult)

Savannah GA

 6.  Eat at The Lady & Sons Restaurant (Paula Deen’s restaurant) — they offer the typical southern fried food options.  I was hoping to run into Paula herself!

Jennifer at Lady & Sons Restaurant

7.  Walk down to Forsyth Park (huge park that is stunning, full of oaks and moss)

8.  Take a walk along the river.  The shops, bars, and restaurants have a very different feel about them.  I thought I was in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

9.  Watch the sunset at the rooftop bar of the Bohemian Hotel.  Beautiful view of the river, bridge, and sunset.  And they make a mean Bloody Mary!

Bohemian Restaurant Savannah

And last but certainly not least, have fun!  We sure did!  It’s hard to believe that Christmas is next week!  Watch for a few fun Christmas surprises for next week’s posts. 🙂

As Paula Deen says, “From my kitchen to yours…”  Enormous respect for a woman who built an empire on Southern cooking and charm! 🙂

The Season of Giving…

I’m always amazed by the number of commercials (tv, newspaper, direct mail, etc) that come up at Christmas asking us to give.  This is the season of giving, right?  Why does Christmas have to signify giving — don’t these organizations need money and donations all through the year?  I’m a little “Bah-humbug” about the overflow of requests for your donation at Christmas…if you can’t already tell.  I will use a different entrance to a store just to avoid the Salvation Army bell ringer…I sadly admit.

Then I started to do some research and reading.  Yes organizations need money and donations throughout the entire year, but perhaps they increase their requests at Christmas because everyone is usually in such a good mood.  Good mood = more likely to donate.  I’m not made of money, as most of us are not, but tonight I will be donating to a local Charlotte charity, Pat’s Place.  Pat’s Place is a Child Advocacy Center for children who have been sexually abused.  I will be donating some juice boxes and animal crackers…and my heart strings.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

What charities will you be donating your time, money, and heart strings to this holiday giving season?