I have read many, many books in my lifetime, some fiction novels, some based on a true story, and some Christian self-help books. Since beginning my journey as a Christian back in 1997, reading books with solid Christian principals and guidelines has really helped me grow in confidence, spiritually, emotionally and in business! Below are the books I have read through the years and why I highly recommend reading them:
- The Confident Woman, by Joyce Meyer:
Joyce Meyer is an amazing speaker and writer. In The Confident Woman, she helps you understand why we as women lack confidence and how to overcome it, with God’s help and love.
- Wild at Heart by John Eldredge:
One of my favorite authors. His eloquent, descriptive writing makes you feel like your right on the mountain top, overlooking the river below, with the breeze blowing in your hair. In Wild at Heart he also helps you understand how and why God created the male species the way he did. It’s a really great book for women to read, as well as men.
- Secret of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson:
This was third in a series of books for me. It started with The Prayer of Jabez, which was really popular in the early 2000’s, and then I read the Prayer of Hanna which is recommended below. The Secret of the Vine talks about abiding in the Vine (which is Jesus) and how we wither and die if we are broken apart from the Vine. This book changed my Christian walk.
- The Prayer of Hannah by Kenn Gividen:
The Prayer of Hannah describes how she prayed for a child and how God answered her prayer. Great book for any woman or girl.
- The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian:
Stormie talks about how powerful praying is for women, not only for their families and others but for themselves as well. She shows you how to draw closer to God, discover His plans and purposes for your life, and receive comfort, help and strength for everyday life.
- The Battle of the Mind by Joyce Meyer:
I read this book in the very beginning of my Christian walk. Joyce’s insight and understanding of God’s workings and creation, really helps you overcome depression, anxiety, habits, addictions, and hang ups.
- Extravagant Worship:
Extravagant worship was written by Darlene Zschech in 2001. Darlene is the worship leader for Hillsong Church in Sydney Australia and also the writer of the most popular worship song of the time, “Shout to the Lord”. Darlene shows us that worship is more than lifting our hands in worship to God, but that worshipping God is something we do every day with our lives.
- A Call to Die by David Nasser:
My husband and I heard Mr. Nassar speak at a National Youth Worker’s Convention in Pittsburgh, PA, the year we were married, 2005. In a Call to Die, he tells us why dying to self in important and how to do it, with scripture, prayer and study.
- Captivating by John and Staci Elderidge:
Every woman should read this. As John wrote in Wild at Heart about God’s creation, man, he and Staci write about God’s next creation, woman. Staci really gets to the heart of understanding women and why God created us the way he did.
- The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman:
A must read for every person! After reading The Five Love Languages you will understand how to communicate love to others so that they feel loved. Not everyone speaks the same love language, and Gary shows you how to determine yours and how to know how to speak someone else’s love language.
- A Leader in the Making by Joyce Meyer:
Another great book by Joyce (told you she was an awesome author!) Joyce teaches us to find your calling, determine your spiritual gifting, develop your God-given potential, empower your dreams through effective action, and live a balanced life.
- The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren:
I read this book as part of a bible study in church. The Purpose Driven Life will help you understand why you are alive and God’s amazing plan for you.
- The Battle Belongs to the Lord by Joyce Meyer:
Joyce again teaches us how to give our battles up to God. Battles in our everyday life that keeps us from experiencing the fullness of life God purposes us to have. This book also changed my walk with Christ.
- 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged by Wright, H. Norman and Gary Oliver:
When my hubby and I were dating, we studied this book together as a couple. It really helps you open up to each other with some of the touchier subjects, like finances, raising children, and personality issues. It also helps you get to know your potential marriage partner, see any red flags that may need to be worked out or that may help you see why you shouldn’t marry this person, before you walk down the aisle.
- Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge:
Both authors show a glimpse of God’s heart in Sacred Romance. I recommend this book for anyone wanting to deepen their relationship with God no matter where they are in their spiritual walk.
- Journey of Desire by John Eldredge:
We are all given desires by God. And God desires us to love Him and live for Him. John takes us on this journey of discovering God’s heart and love for us in Journey of Desire. Everyone wanting to fulfill their heart’s desire should read this.
- A More Excellent Way, Be in Health by Henry W. Wright:
I am currently reading this book, but I have found it so compelling and helpful. Pastor Wright teaches us the root of disease and how to be healed of all disease, no matter how small or big the disease is.
- Boy Meets Girl by Josh Harris:
Josh Harris is most famous for his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye; however I did not read it. I did read Boy Meets Girl though when I was single and loved it. Josh really shows how courting helps us stay pure until marriage and how to he waited for his wife. I recommend Boy Meet Girl for teens, singles or parents.
- Choosing God’s Best by Don Raunikar:
Another great book my hubby and I studied together before we got married. Don helps us understand the difference between dating and courtship and why courting works to help us stay pure and find the man or woman that is meant for us. I recommend this book for teenagers, singles and parents.
- 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper:
This was recommended to read by a lady from the Methodist Church when Jeff and I were attending there when we were still dating. It is a true and amazing story of dying, coming back and living to tell about it.
I hope you take some time to browse these books on Amazon or in your local bookstore. They really are worth reading and have helped me overcome low self esteem, fear and shyness. They have also helped me be a better wife, mother and leader. I know you will be just as blessed.
photo credit: clevercupcakes
- Christmas shopping complete
- Gift wrapping done
- Christmas meal planning complete, including breakfast, Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas dinner
- Christmas meal shopping complete
- Christmas cards or newsletters out in the mail. If you haven’t done this as of today, they probably won’t make their destinations before Christmas.
- Christmas decorating complete
- Christmas baking done
- Acts of service cards or certificates created by hand or computer and filled out
- Travel plans set and double checked! Be sure to check on flights! Sometimes they cancel them or change flight times without notifying you!
- Backup plan for travel in case of bad weather
- Last minute gift items bought
- Last minute gift items wrapped
- Stocking stuffers bought
- Stocking stuffers put away in a safe place until Christmas Eve
- Ecards or email newsletters created and set to send out Christmas day
- Online shopping complete. If you are doing the majority of your shopping online, you want to make sure you can still get your items delivered by Christmas Eve at the latest.
- House cleaning schedule/checklist in place. Make your house cleaning/preparations easier by following this guide!
- Gift for teacher(s) bought, wrapped and ready for delivery.
- Cookies or other goodies ready for school party(ies).
- Gift exchange items bought, wrapped and ready for delivery
- Kids Christmas plays or concerts marked on the calendar
- Christmas outfits bought and cleaned for parties, plays or entertaining
- If blogging is a source of income for your family, be sure you’ve got some posts preset to go out automatically during the busy Holiday season.
- Secure all your Christmas plans with family. Be sure everyone is on the same page as to date, time and location. This is especially important if you have divorced parents, or married kids who have 3 or 4 different family groups with which to spend the Holidays.
- If you have guests staying the night, be sure all the guest bedding is clean. If using air mattresses be sure they are leak-free and that you can find the pump!
- If you have babies coming over, be sure to baby-proof your house with gates, plug protectors and cabinet door stoppers
Using this check list will help you feel less stressed and like you’re not forgetting to do something! So, print it out, hang it on your bulletin board or refrigerator and be sure to check things off as they are completed. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you do!
Merry Stress Free Christmas!
photo credit: renfield
Our kids can bring us lots of joy in life, but they can also bring a great deal of chaos to life as well at times that is. So, how do you make your life a little simpler, even with children, so that you can all enjoy the day to day? Make your life simpler (even with kids) by:
1. A routine. I know some people do not like routine but some semblance of one will help you more than you might think. After all, don’t we all create routine even if it isn’t positive routine? So being proactive about it can only do you good rather than harm.
2. Set chores. Another bad word, especially for kids is chores. But, think about the order it is helping to create in your home as well as the discipline it is establishing in your children. That is a win-win.
3. Don’t take on too much. Extracurricular activities, volunteering, and the like can be good things, but as the old saying goes you can have too much of a good thing. So, take this into consideration as you take things on and learn the power of the word, “no”, as hard as it may be to say it can pay off big time.
4. Honor old traditions and create new ones. Whether it be the old ones that were passed down from your parents or grandparents or the new ones you have created traditions can truly make your lifes simple, after all you’ll already know what is expected year after year.
5. Assign personalized items to each child. This works well with clothes baskets, shoe cubbies, and other areas that can help to keep you organized. It is a great way for each child, especially younger ones to know right where their belongings are or go saving you all time, and simplifying the process.
6. Always be prepared. With kids this is a must. You never know when one of them is going to make a mess, get sick, be hungry, you know all the normal things. These are all things that you can be prepared for if you truly try and plan ahead.
7. Prioritizing. With multiple children especially there tends to be a tendency to simply get too much on your plate, therefore you have to sit down, prioritize and often rearrange your schedule and your life in order to keep first things first.
8. Take your time. All too often these days we tend to rush, rush, rush, never taking the time to slow down and truly enjoy each other and the activities that we are involved in. You can make a decision to change this and it can help your life be a little easier .
9. Work together. For families everything is a learning experience and that’s why working together can be important. Working together to make meals, clean up or plan an outing all of which can help your children to learn valuable life lessons and make things simpler at the same time.
10. Talk to each other. A lot of times things are complicated in a family due to a lack of communication, good old fashioned conversation can save you a lot of trouble. You will know what is expected by each other and conflict can be avoided. So, open up!
photo credit: David Hudson Floyd
I was chatting with my sister on Twitter and she was saying how she and her hubby hardly ever get out for a date night due to low finances and so on which spurred the idea for this post. Hopefully it will give you some ideas for date nights with your hubby, as well! As a married couple, date nights are important to do because they keep your marriage fresh, as when you were dating! So, be sure to set aside one night every week for date night!
1. Trade babysitting with a friend or family member so you and your hubby can go out, or just spend time alone together at the house.
2. Rent movies instead of going to the theater. Get one for the kids to watch in another room while you and hubby watch yours together; make sure it’s a romantic movie, not a violent, action filled on the edge of your seat kind, for obvious reasons.
3. Offer to do some acts of kindness for a friend in trade for babysitting.
4. Make your dining area romantic with candles and have a special dinner right at home. You could even have a friend make it and serve it to you, as if in a fancy restaurant.
5. Go window shopping together. The Holiday season is the perfect time to just go out and look. It may even give your hubby ideas of what to buy you for Christmas!
6. Go to another couple’s house and have a double date. Play games or watch movies.
7. Go out for just dessert instead of the whole enchilada.
8. Go to your favorite coffee house and just relax for an hour or two and chit chat.
9. Look for coupons in the newspapers or on line to your favorite restaurant.
10. In the summer, have a special cookout for just the two of you. Set up your deck, patio, porch or yard with a table and two chairs, some flowers and have steak and wine outside.
11. Go for a walk around town, downtown, in your neighborhood or in a park. Hold hands and talk while you walk.
12. Go for a nice drive. With gas prices dropping, it’s much more affordable. Put on some romantic music, and just talk. Be sure to hold hands too!
These are just a few ideas to get you started. The important thing is to be sure to set aside one night every week for just you and your hubby. Your marriage will be much stronger and you may even see the man you knew before you got married again!
This morning as I was lying in bed, awakening from a sort of late night and waiting for my hubby to come home from his last night of midnights (he’s a meteorologist for the National Weather Center and has rotating shifts) I was thinking about how blessed I am to be working from home and how it’s changed my life.
1. I set my own schedule.
2. Flexibility to run my kids around when needed or just go to a doctor’s appointment without checking with someone first.
3. I set my earning potential. I can work as much as I want to make as much as I want.
4. I can take breaks whenever I need or want.
5. I make the coffee the way I like.
6. I can stop and browse the internet when I want.
7. I get to talk to all my friends on Twitter!
8. I can do laundry AND work at the same time!
9. I can take the day off if I need to.
10. I get to work in my jammies!!!
11. I can work as much or as little as I want.
12. I get to spend more time with my family.
13. I save money by not driving to work every day.
14. I save money by not eating out as much.
15. I can talk to my daughter on the phone as long as I want.
16. I can keep up with our family budget better.
17. I can Christmas shop online, in between article writing.
18. I get to decide what goes on my website or doesn’t.
19. I get to use my creative side more.
20. I love seeing other people truly appreciate my work.
21. I get to learn from others at my own pace.
22. I am making so many new friends, with similar interests online.
23. I get to choose where I do my work (have laptop, will travel)
24. I’m around for my kids and hubby when they need me.
25. I don’t have to grocery shop during the 5:00 rush hour.
26. I do much more shopping online, therefore saving money and supporting other WAHMs!
27. I get to sit in my family room and smell the Christmas tree while I work.
28. The dog isn’t left at home, all alone.
29. I can sleep in with my hubby when he’s on evenings or midnights.
30. I can stay up as late as I want!
31. Dinners are usually better planned now that I’m a work at home mom.
32. I don’t have to pack a lunch!
33. I set my own goals and determine how I’m going to meet them.
34. I can still make money while not physically working by using affiliate programs.
35. I choose who I want to work with and/or for.
36. I can babysit my grandsons during the day if needed.
37. I have more time to keep my house clean. (Shhh don’t tell anyone!)
38. I can do more things for the youth ministry my hubby and I are leaders for.
39. I LOVE what I do, all of it! There’s nothing I don’t like about working from home!
If you are considering becoming a work-at-home mom, these are the pros! The only con I can think of is it usually takes some time and effort to build up a successful work at home business. I am still building mine, but I know if I keep putting in the effort and time, working from home will be a dream come true for me.
Last Minute Checklist for an Organized Holiday
For your business:
- Have you changed your voicemail greeting to reflect what your hours/availability will be during the holidays?
- Have you created an auto respond for your email account? (since you won’t be checking it as often- you will be spending quality time with your family)
- Have you mailed (or emailed if sending e-cards) your holiday cards to your past, present and future clients?
- Have you recognized your “special” clients with a token gift of appreciation?
- Have you planned your schedule so that you will complete important tasks before the holidays and have other important work scheduled after the holidays so that you can relax and enjoy some time off?
- If you are in direct sales have you booked January solid to kick off your business in the New Year?
- Have you RSVP’d to any networking holiday parties and declined those you aren’t able to attend?
- Have you done something special for those people that help you be successful? (your babysitter, virtual assistant, sponsor, etc)
For your home/family:
- Are the decorations up?
- Have you taken the time to enjoy the season with your kids? It can be through baking cookies, wrapping gifts, listening to Christmas carols. But, whatever it is for your family, take the time to do it!
- Have you mailed out your family’s holiday cards/letters?
- Have you made sure there are batteries for every gift you purchased and some extra for those gifts others will purchase for your kids but not bring batteries for?
- Are your digital camera, camcorder and other electronic devices charged and ready to capture those priceless holiday memories?
- Do you have plenty of tape and wrapping materials available to avoid last minute runs to the store?
- Do you have a few extra wrapped gifts for those people that you don’t think you are exchanging gifts with but will inevitable show up with something for you?
- Do you have the menu planned for whatever events you are hosting this season?
- Have you chosen the outfits you will wear to parties and made sure that you have all the accessories you need and that the pantyhose (ugh, if you still wear them) needed for the dress are free of runs?
- Have you set a budget for holiday spending? Have you checked your receipts to give you a realistic idea of where you are compared to where you wanted to be according to the budget?
- Have you made a list of the housecleaning chores you want to complete before any company arrives? A list will help insure that you don’t forget anything, like those dust bunnies in the guest room.
- Are you keeping a running list for the grocery store? Plan to finish all food shopping by the 21st. Plan ahead and avoid headaches for yourself later!
- Have you included ways you and your family can give back to those less fortunate this season? There are few things that can bring your family close together like serving others as a family!
- Do you have a back-up plan for your kids if they get bored at Aunt Betty’s? Bring a board game, hand held video game, movies, etc. Instead of expecting your kids to be “perfect” have activities on hand that will keep them occupied and everyone more comfortable.
- Are you making it a priority to de-stress as much as possible?
- Have you pampered yourself? Gotten a pedicure? Holiday manicure? Bought a snazzy handbag? Take care of yourself this season!
- Have you put aside old grievances and decided to just get along with family members and spare the drama this year?
- Have you made your goals for the upcoming year? Dream big!
Remember that an organized and planned holiday season will take effort. But, it is effort that will be well spent so that you can have a relaxed and enjoyable holiday with your family!
photo credit: Merelymel13
Family traditions are an important part of raising a family. It’s the traditions surrounding the Holidays that we usually remember when we get older. If you’re a young family and don’t have any traditions yet, or if you’re family hasn’t started or continued any traditions yet, here are a few suggestions:
1. Have a family baking day. My girls and I get together a couple of weeks before Christmas and bake our hearts out! We bake cookies, fudge, and other great Holiday treats. It’s a great bonding time for us.
2. Set a special shopping date just for you and your sisters and/or other female members of your family, to go out and shop for the men in your life. This is a great way to spend some time with those special people in your lives!
3. Take your kids to see Santa. Some of my kid’s greatest Christmas memories are of those when we took them to see Santa.
4. Set a Christmas decorating day with your family. Go get the tree together, then put on some Christmas music and decorate it and the house.
5. Get out the bible and read the Christmas story while you set up the Nativity Scene.
6. Have a Christmas family movie night. Watch your favorite Christmas movie with your family.
7. Go to the Christmas Eve service at your church as a family.
8. Make a special dinner for Christmas or Christmas Eve.
9. Make a special Christmas breakfast.
10. Play a gift giving game every year for the Holidays.
11. Start a gag-gift giveaway. Wrap up a gag-gift and give it to someone on your list. Then see who gets it the next year.
12. Put some acts of service cards in a hat or bowl and have everyone draw one or two out. Set a deadline when those have to be accomplished by. You can have everyone put their name and what act of service they’d like done for them on the card as well.
13. Take a new family photograph every year.
14. Put a special treat in everyone’s stocking; the same one for everyone that they know they will get every year. Some suggestions are: some cash, a new ornament, their favorite candy, a new toothbrush, lip gloss or chapstick, or new perfume or cologne.
15. Set up a special way to open your presents as a family. Make a game of it, or let everyone open one present each hour. This gives time to spend putting gadgets together and puts more meaning into the gift opening. It also makes the gift opening last longer, allowing for more family time.
16. Purchase only 3 gifts per each family member: 3 representing the Trinity and Christ rising on the Third Day
17. If you’re techie like me, send out a Christmas eCard to all of your family members and friends.
18. Send a text message to all your cell phone buddies, wishing them a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, or Happy New Year.
19. Go Christmas Caroling as a family.
20. Take up a collection amongst your family members and help pay someone’s gas or electric bill.
21. As a family, go help out at the local homeless shelter, food pantry or soup kitchen.
22. Get everyone together and play board games after opening presents. It’s a great way to bond and spend quality time together.
Whatever tradition(s) you start, make sure they are meaningful and ones that will make great memories for you and your family. I have found my kids really rely on those family traditions that have been set by their grandparents and others. When those traditions are dropped or stopped, for whatever reason, be sure to begin a new one. They do make the Holidays more memorable and meaningful.
photo credit: dammit_jill
You know you are a WAHM when:
- The shirt your child needs for school pictures TODAY is at the bottom of Mount St. Laundry
- Your child develops a fever the night before a big presentation and then proceeds to throw up on said presentation
- You are reading a book aloud to your child while glancing at the stack of work on your desk
- You are on a conference call in your pajamas
- You have a purse full of receipts that you can’t throw away because you need to sort the personal from the work expenses and darn it, you just haven’t gotten around to it yet
- You have gone all day without looking in a mirror- on purpose!
- You know the value of a bribe to achieve relative quiet when you are on the phone with a client
- The babysitter is on speed dial, actually she’s your friend on Facebook
- There are sticky fingerprints on the lid of your laptop
- Taking deep cleansing breaths and chasing the toddler (who is teething on your Blackberry) is your exercise routine
- You eat lunch standing up while looking over your to-do list and resisting the urge to scream
- You think you will be most productive at naptime but you make the mistake of sitting down and doze off too
- You consider your office anywhere you happen to be at the moment: the living room, the car, Gymboree class, the orthodontist office, etc
- You don’t enforce your work before play rule when those big eyes look up and that sweet voice asks you to play Hide and Seek “just one more time, Mommy”
- You realize a ½ hour before dinner that you have (once again) forgotten to take the roast out of the freezer to thaw
- You long ago recognized you don’t have to be a perfect mom to be THE perfect mom for your kids
- You have come to the conclusion that you will be completely gray by age 40 and decide to buy stock in Clairol
- Your camera is always beside you to capture the moments you stay home to see
- You know for a fact that kids do not want to be entertained with new toys and gadgets; they just want you (especially if you have a deadline and their BFF at school insulted them about their outfit)
- You are a wizard at making the most out of the 24 hours allotted in a day
- You dream of ways to payback every person who has ever said “it must be so nice to sit at home”. Visions of voodoo dolls, stink bombs and forcing them to spend 15 minutes in your shoes bring you pleasant dreams
- You learned early on that WAHM is secret code for invitations to sit on every PTA committee, coordinate every carpool and be the class mom for the entire bleepin’ school.
- You also learned (albeit the hard way) that you can only participate in so many volunteer activities before you are too busy to earn a living and you feel like you have gotten on a merry go round and can’t get off
- After you learned above lesson and alienated people during the ensuing nervous breakdown, you have become an expert on boundaries, saying “no” and only spending your time on things that are really important to you, your family and your career
- You know that a little laughter goes a long way, especially when the alternative is abandoning the grocery cart, laying on the floor in the fetal position and bursting into tears
- You have had to enforce social media breaks on yourself in order to get your work done- that darn Twitter
- You are a budget expert. You know for a fact how great your finances would be if you could just stick to the budget.
- You are still awake at 2am because it is literally impossible to accomplish everything on your list unless you use the entire 24 hours allotted in a day
- You look at the dishes in the sink and breathe a sigh of relief. You can wait to do them till morning (they won’t even start to stink until Wednesday)
- You have contemplated running away but know that your family and your boss would eventually find you
- You have given up on losing the baby weight (the baby is 11 years old- it just ain’t gonna happen)
- You have re-gifted a toy that your child didn’t like back to the child who gave it to them in the first place
- You have locked yourself out of your car at least once and your home at least once, probably on the same day.
- You secretly want to have Martha Stewart banned from television, publishing books and selling magazines
- You know what it is like to open the refrigerator to a milk carton that has less than a ½ teaspoon left in it
- You have googled the answer to the age old question- “Why is the sky blue”?
- You have learned that the terrible two’s don’t even start to prepare you for the three’s
- And then the tween years roll around and you feel like you are living through an episode of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
- You realize on a daily basis it is a good thing your family is not dependent on your income alone
- You have walked into a meeting with spit up on your blouse
- You have stepped on a Lego on your way to crawl into bed at 3am, when you couldn’t keep your eyes open at the computer any longer, and your yelp of pain woke up the baby
- You shave your legs according to the season
- You cut the crusts off your husband’s sandwiches (it’s called auto-pilot, folks)
- You just write a check to the school to avoid having to sell any more cookie dough or scratch off tickets
- You have called your child by the dog’s name and vice versa
- You think the no white after Labor Day rule is stupid- who is crazy enough to wear white at all? No amount of Spray n’ Wash can stand up to the attacks a mom’s clothing sees
- You were sad to see the day that your child could tell time because you could no longer say it was bedtime a ½ earlier than it actually was
- You have considered how much your child could fetch on Ebay
- You answer your husband with a glare when he comes home and asks how your day went
- You have bundled the kids and put them in the car so they would fall asleep and you could get a coffee from Starbuck’s
- You do not complain when your boss informs you there is travel in your future
- You look around at your sweet family and realize you wouldn’t change a thing.
With the Christmas season in full force, now is the time to organize your Christmas decorations. You know what you have, what you use, and what you don’t use. You will have it all out in front of you or at least out on the walls and doors. This is the perfect time to reorganize everything so it fits better, it’s labeled, and in one place.
This article will show you ways that will make Christmas next year so much easier when it comes to your decorations.
• Old and unused decorations
First thing you need to do is decide what you are going to do with the decorations you didn’t put up. Is there a reason why you didn’t use them? Could it be because you use a theme each year and they didn’t fit into the theme? Is it because they are old, brittle, or broken? Decide if you need and/or want to keep them. If you don’t either throw them out or give them to someone else.
• Decide on the number of containers
Once you have done that, you need to look at what you have left and decide how many containers you will need to store them in. You will need to get plastic boxes with lids. You will put your items in these boxes and get rid of all the cardboard boxes that you have.
You will need at least one container for your ornaments, one container for your lights, one container for your garland, one container for your figurines and other decorations, and one or two containers for your tree. The container for your tree may need to be bigger than the others or you may need to get more than one. Depending on how much you have, you may be able to put your garland in with your lights and save yourself a box.
Purchase your containers as soon as you can. That way you will have them when you take your tree down. When you are ready to put your items in your containers, you need to make sure they are organized so you won’t have to stress next year when you are ready to take them out and put them up again.
When you put your ornaments in your container, you will want to be careful if you don’t have the boxes they came in when you purchased them. One way to protect them is to use the skirt from under your tree to put them on top of. You can put that down, then put a layer of ornaments in, then put your stockings in there and put another layer of ornaments in. You can also include pot holders, hand towels, and any other material items you may have to help protect your ornaments from being damaged. Another option is to get newspaper or packing material and use that instead.
When you put your garland in your container, you want to figure out a way to keep them from getting knotted up. One way to do this is to cut a piece of cardboard about two feet in length by twelve inches in width to wrap your garland around. Do this for each strand that you have so they don’t get mixed in with each other.
Put your lights around the two foot cardboard as well. It will be a little tricky to do this so you may need to go with a longer and wider piece of cardboard. Now depending on how many strands you have and how big your box is, you may be able to combine your garland and lights in the same box.
• Miscellaneous items
Now you are ready to take your figurines and other decorations down and put them in a container. This would be items that go on counter tops, entertainment stands, on the walls and floor, etc.
Once you are ready to take your tree down, you will want to put each set of branches in the container to cover one level of the box. Keep stacking them in the box. I suggest you start with the top of the tree and work your way down. That way when you go to put it up next year, you can start at the bottom and work your way up.
Now you need a sharpie. Write on the lid and the side of the container that will be facing out what you have in the container. When you do this, it will be easier for you to find them next year. Now they are ready to be put away.
Christmas time is a fun and exciting time. Decorating your house is a great time with the family. Make it even better when your decorations are organized in plastic containers. Good luck and Merry Christmas!
photo credit: Terry Wha
1. Invite a single mom and her kids over for Christmas dinner. I was a single mom for a while, so I know how tough it is to be able to provide an extra special meal at Christmas.
2. Choose a single mom or parent family home to give some gifts to. Some churches and organizations have a list you can choose from of needy families.
3. Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk or driveway.
4. Make a plate of cookies for your neighbor.
5. Take a handmade gift to an elderly person you know in church or in your neighborhood, like a blanket or scarf to help keep them warm this winter.
6. Invite an elderly person to Christmas dinner. There are so many lonely, elderly people that would love to be a part of someone’s Christmas!
7. Take your kids and go help out at the homeless shelter, food pantry or soup kitchen. This might open your kid’s eyes to see what Christmas should be all about.
8. Help out at the community Christmas meal. Lots of community churches and organizations put on a community dinner for those in need.
9. Help out a family member who is struggling financially by paying their heating or electric bill.
10. Invite someone you wouldn’t normally to go to the Christmas Eve service or Christmas play at church with you.
11. Purchase a tree for a family, single person or elderly person and then help them put it up and decorate it.
12. Get some baby toys and clothes for a single mom you know.
13. Giving to charitable organizations is awesome, but don’t just write a check and pop it in the mail. See if they accept gift packages or if they have a day where you can go and put some meals together. Really get out there and serve your community.
14. Give someone the gift of cleaning this year. Go to your mom’s house, a neighbors or elderly persons and clean their house for them. That will really take a load off for someone!
15. Take your elderly neighbor or church friend shopping with you. Sometimes it’s hard for them to get out and about, so they’d probably really appreciate it.
16. Help an elderly person do their gift wrapping this year.
17. Purchase gift wrap for someone who could use a little extra help.
18. Buy a Christmas dinner for a family. Maybe someone you know can handle all the cooking but just can’t afford to buy the ingredients or supplies.
19. Fill up your neighbor’s gas tank before they leave for Christmas vacation.
20. Take your neighbor’s or one of your friend’s kids Christmas shopping to buy gifts for their parents.
21. For a single parent, get photos taken of their kids. This is an awesome gift that a lot of single people can’t spare the extra expense for.
22. Babysit for a single parent so they can get their shopping and/or wrapping done.
23. Purchase coats, hats, mittens or scarves for an elderly person or single parent family.
24. Forgive and ask for forgiveness of any estranged family member. Don’t let another day go by with hard feelings between you and a loved one. Is it really worth it?!
25. Don’t let anyone you know be alone on Christmas or New Years. Invite them to join your family or friends on these special days.
I hope these ideas get you thinking about how you can help others this Christmas. Happy Holidays!