Decorating for the Holidays

December 1
It's here and now you have to deal with it.  The first tip is:  make it simple.  Here is a bonus tip for the day: be realistic!  Deal with the realities of your time and resources and say no to the things that aren't important so you can concentrate on the things that are important.
December 2 
As you have noticed, our tips are not intended as a "how to manual".  Rather they are just quick suggestions that allow you to accomplish your goals more quickly and efficiently.  The same will apply to the tips for decorating for the Holidays. There are many lovely magazines with up to date ideas on how to decorate.  We strive to tell you things that they don't mention.  Here is an example.  Remember that everything you put out or up with have to be taken down and stored somewhere.  That is not intended to take all the fun out of the task, rather we hope to help you put it in perspective.
December 3 
Start your planning early.  Begin by listing what events you have coming up around the Holidays.  Will you be hosting any of these events?  If so what preparation is required.  Lists are a great way to organize.  Make the lists in such a way that you can add items as they occur to you. 
December 4
Shopping lists are an important way to reduce mistakes.  If you have a complete list when you go shopping you have a greater chance of getting the items you need.  You can also make substitutions on the spot if you find you can't get what you wanted.
December 5 
List the supplies you will need for all of your crafts is important.  Whether baking or construction a world class ornament,there is nothing worse than having to stop in the middle to rush out and get some ingredient of item you missed. 
December 6
Prepare an inventory and compare with your shopping list.  If you are counting on using something you have left from last year, make sure it is still fresh or is the quantity you need to complete project.
December 7
Back in the good old days when the Christmas tree was fresh,  the tree was put up and decorated as close to Christmas as possible so that it would be prettiest for those photos on Christmas Day and would last until New Years Day.  This made it necessary to do a lot in a few days.  Gratefully, there are many beautify artificial trees available now in all sizes and styles.  They have beautiful lights which makes them easy to assemble.  They store wonderfully well.  However, you have really missed something if you have never had to untangle dozens of strings of lights and try to find the on light that is burned out and keeps the entire string dark. Yes there is just no substitute for that kind of fun!
December 8 
Never the less, you can easily decorate the tree in early December and have it as a reminder of the season and inspiration for the other festive activities you are planning. 
December 9
Much of the Christmas season is associated with tradition and customs. Do everything you can to preserve and cherish those memories.  It is the thread that binds generations and the delightful aftertaste that lasts all year long.  
December 10
Do your best to try to make decorating and making crafts and event that involves  others.  Invite friends over for hot chocolate and assembling ornaments.  Some families spend Thanksgiving afternoon decorating the tree.  It keeps people active and involved and it is amazing how much work can be done.  If you don't like the results, you can always rearrange the ornaments later. 
December 11
Time is closing in on you about now.  Look around at what you have done so far.  Identify the most important things still remaining.  Yes, and make a list of those.  If it doesn't make the list, make a conscious decision that you just won't do that this year.  Access the decorations you have out so far.  Could you rearrange them to make the illusion there is more there.  In other words if you spread them out would there be some reminder of the season everywhere you looked without adding anything?  Finally, do your best to avoid buying new stuff.  Do you really need it?  This is where the lists and inventory pay off. 
December 12
You have the list you composed yesterday and you are determined to follow up meticulously. However, the most wonderful opportunity just came up and you don't want to say no to this once in a lifetime opportunity!  Or, less happily, a responsibility has been dumped on you at the last minute and you can't say no without dire consequences.  So, in both cases, you access your list.  What task that yesterday was a priority must now be replaced by this new task or opportunity? 
December 13
Don't spend a lot of valuable time rearranging the list or trying to squeeze yet one more item in.  Look quickly at the list each day.  What items must come off?
December 14
Take time today to make sure your Holiday wardrobe is ready to go.  Inspect things you are planning on wearing.  You may need to try them on to make sure they still fit or that the style is as up to date as you remember it being.  This part can be a rude awakening.  You find yourself saying, "Did we really ever wear shoulder pads like that?"  Items we wear seasonally often don't make a graceful transition from year to year. 
December 15
Now, check your family's wardrobe.  Is your husband's suit ready for the Christmas Eve service that you plan to go to?  Can the kid's still fit into those darling Christmas sweaters that they got from your Mother-in-law last Christmas?  She will be expecting to see them at the Christmas dinner. 
December 16
 Are you going out of town for the Holidays?  Have you got everyone's clothes back from the cleaners? Have you stopped the papers and the mail.  What about that book that was on back order?  Have you alerted someone to watch for the UPS delivery if it comes while you are gone? 
December 17
Don't wait until the last minute to ask neighbor's to pick up mail while you are gone.  You might find that they have already left for two weeks and left a note on your door asking you to to pick up their papers! 
December 18
So, you aren't the one going out of town.  You're the one fixing Christmas dinner for everyone at your home.  Need we tell you that you need to get started today!  A last minute grocery shopping trip may not produce the items that are essential for the menu you planned. 
December 19 
In keeping with Lady Personified's philosophy of how can we make this easy and gracious.....what can you obtain already prepared? 
December 20
There is nothing wrong with using ALL options available to you including "carry out". Remember, as a lady, your responsibility is to your guests even if that is family.  Now, to fulfill that responsibility, it is essential that you make it easy on yourself as well. 
December 21
Your responsibility to your guests and family is not inconsistent with our instructions to make it easy on yourself!  Think about it for awhile.  We will give you the answer tomorrow. 
December 22
In order for you to fulfill your role, (that only you can fill) you must be rested and calm.  Tall order at any time of year, but with the hectic nature of the Holiday's it is particularly difficult but also particularly important.  Each person must find their own way to attain this inner peace.  Some can do it with music, some with meditation and some with exercise. You may even need several different techniques so that you can adapt them to the situation.  For example, if exercise is your only choice, you may not be able to do it when and where you need to.  One trick is to evaluate the feeling you achieve when you are doing what ever it is that helps you relax.  Try to understand in your mind how you feel.  Then work on it until you can obtain the same feeling by visualizing it.  It actually can work and doesn't require any room or special equipment like exercise does.  When you get good at it, no one realizes that you are doing it and the relaxing effects on your body are very similar.
December 23
Now that you have learned how to achieve this state of mind, use it regularly.  The more you achieve this relaxed state the easier it becomes.  The ultimate goal is for this to be your routine state of mind.  You will be infinitely more productive and creative.  You will begin to radiate this calmness and others will seek to be in your company because it will make them feel better as well.  Can you think of any better Christmas gift that to be able to give people a feeling of calm and peace just by being around you!  Go for it! 
December 24
The time has now arrived and you will be called upon to use all of your skills to make the next 48 hours work as you have planned.  Don't be discourage however, because other may not have you clear focus.  They will have their own selfish agendas that will interfere with yours.  Remember, last Spring, how our tips helped you to learn to say "no" graciously?  See it all comes together now.
December 25
What more can we say today but we wish you and yours a joyous Merry Christmas.  Thank you for visiting our site, it is the most wonderful Christmas gift you could give us.  We at Lady Personified hope you feel the same way about the gift we have given you. 
December 26
Today is Boxing Day.  No that isn't the day you put your gifts in boxes and return them. It is a very special day in England and can be a fun time to entertain.  Your house is still decorated and everyone is still in a festive mood and it's too early for the New Year's parties.  Host a Holiday Open House on the 26th.  You will be surprised at the number of people who welcome the opportunity to continue the celebrations.  It is a tradition in Lady Virginia's family and is always a welcome event.  People have been known to arrange their travel plans just to be back for the event. 
December 27
Are the days between Christmas and New Years a let down for you?  Have you ever analyzed why you feel so down this time of year.  Of course it is a bit of a let down because all of the festivities are past and there is a lull before the New Years parties.  Also, you look around at the now outdated Christmas decorations and can't help be think about putting them all away....but where? The answer is to take charge of the next few days and your feelings will follow suit.
December 28
Decide which decorations you want to put away first.  Don't ask what will be easiest, rather ask yourself what is the biggest chore and tackle that first all be itself.  Resolve that you will leave somethings out to keep the look festive.  We suggest you start with the tree.  In most homes, putting up the tree requires furniture rearrangement and it might be a relief to get your house back in order before the New Years parties.  This also allows you to clean that area which has been neglected since you put the tree up in the first place. 
December 29
The remaining smaller items can be left about for your pleasure until the Holidays are officially over.  This may vary depending on your location and family traditions.  Some families wait until January 6th, Epiphany or the arrival of the Wise Men, to signal the end of the Holiday season.  For others, New Years Day is time to put away the Holidays and prepare for a new year with renewed excitement.
December 30
Consider having a New Year's Day open house.  Consider this only if you plan to get to sleep on New Year's Eve immediately after the ball drops in Times Square.  Be cautious to invite your more like minded friends and plan to serve mild refreshments as everyone will be worn out on the rich, extravagant dishes that are so popular during the Holidays.  A good choice might be cold cuts and soft rolls.  Put out various condiments and your guests can prepare their own sandwich to suit their tastes and appetite.
December 31
Certain menu items may be New Year's traditions in your part of the world. Take advantage of your regional traditions to add interest to your table.  Try to identify ways to serve such "must haves" as finger food.  Or offer something that can be easily balanced on a plate in your guests lap.  Good color schemes for the New Year's Open House include white, green and black.  You'll find that you can successfully incorporate some of your Holiday items that haven't yet made it to the attic or basement.  As long as you use them as accents along with the white, green and black it will look like a fresh look.  Resist the temptation to unload all those left over iced Santa Claus cookies on your New Year's guests.  Better to put them in the freezer and bring them out for an occasional treat during the year.  Instead, put out refreshments that look bland in comparison but will be appreciated by over stuffed tummies.  If you just must have a gooy item on the table, use a "yule log" cake.  It is very traditional on New Years and can be a darling item on the table.  Hopefully, you will have gotten one from the bakery before they closed for New Year's as it isn't the sort of thing you will want to bake at the last minute.  

One final thought for December:
Focus on what is really  important....let the unimportant things take care of themselves.