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Prepare now for next year to reduce your stress

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care …” Christmas is eight days away, and Hanukkah began at sundown on Dec 11. The joy we feel going into the holiday season can quickly turn to stress as we try to fit celebrations, gift buying and decorating into our already busy schedules.

If the holidays have caught you by surprise (again) this year, a little preparation for next year can take the pressure off. It’s not too early to start planning next year’s holiday décor.

By making a simple plan, you can take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and search for needed items throughout the year, getting the very best prices possible. Preparing in advance can provide you an impressive décor and is sure to lower your stress level as the holidays draw near.

Those who write their goals are said to accomplish significantly more than those who do not. It only takes a matter of minutes to write down your initial plan/list.

Pick your theme. Themed trees and décor are fun and make it easy to have an inspiring display for friends and family to enjoy. Whether your theme is a star-studded tree, a “family” tree or a tropical theme, decide what you will use and stick with it.

Making this decision early on will open up doors of opportunity for the entire next year. You may be on a vacation and see a wonderful addition to your theme. And, by having your theme selected now, you will know exactly what to buy at the after-holiday sales. Be sure your purchases have meaning and suit your theme. It’s not really a savings if the things you purchase at a sale sit in a box never to be used.

Make a list. If you have special dinnerware or china that you use year after year, you might consider changing up your table décor by adding new napkin rings or place card holders. Does your table cloth or table runner need an update? Put these things on your list and you will have plenty of time to find a great deal with no stress. I added chafing dishes and glasses to my list for next year.

Although the fresh flowers for the table and evergreens you may use for your door wreath can’t be purchased early, keep an eye peeled for specialty ribbon and little accents that can later be incorporated into the fresh arrangements.

With today’s electronics and fancy phones, it’s easy to keep your lists with you. It’s also easy to carry 3-by-5-inch lined recipe cards in your purse or wallet. One card might be anything you will need at an office store. Another card will be items to pick up from a grocery store and yet another card will be your holiday themed items. Don’t forget to take the list(s) out of your wallet from time to time to remind yourself. It’s easy to forget.

It’s always nice to receive a gift that is wanted. Carry a blank card with you to make note of gifts that family and friends mention throughout the year. You also can use this card to add holiday ideas you receive from friends and acquaintances.

This year a client told me that her family sets up a table with a puzzle. Everyone eventually gravitates toward the puzzle and it makes for a fun conversational visit. I included it in my Thanksgiving plans and it worked brilliantly.

While your holiday decorations are set out this season, take a few minutes to decide what needs to be added for next year. Decide on a theme, make a list and then enjoy your holidays.

From my family to yours, happy holidays!

Cindy Payne is a certified interior designer with more than 25 years of experience, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as a licensed contractor. E-mail questions to her at dear designer@projectdesigninteriors.com or send them to her at Project Design Interiors, 2620 S. Maryland Parkway, Suite 189, Las Vegas, NV 89109. She can be reached online at www.projectdesigninteriors.com.

 

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