Archive for the ‘holiday gifts’ Category

Thank You?

December 28, 2016

Thank youMonday this week was National Thank You Note Writing Day. I never knew there was such a thing. That’s a great idea! To sit down the day after Christmas and write notes to thank friends or family for their gifts. Traditionally in my family we make a list of people to thank as we open their gifts and we plan to have our notes written by the middle of January.

My mother was a stickler for thank you notes. She was very particular and (when I was a child) she read my notes before they were mailed to make sure they were good enough. My mother had me writing notes for all sorts of gifts – not just Christmas gifts.

She taught me to write a note after spending a weekend with a friend. I didn’t actually write my friend, I wrote a note to my friend’s parents to thank them for hosting me for the weekend. This is a tradition I still enjoy. I write my friends and relatives as soon as I return from a trip. If you’re wondering why I do this, the reason is simple. I write to let my friends know that I appreciate their friendship and the time spent with them.

My mother also taught me to write a thank you note to express my thanks when someone has gone out of their way to do something for me.  It can be something like helping me with a project or including me in a family event.

Handwritten thank you notes are very powerful tools. First of all, they indicate to the recipient that you have taken the time to put pen to paper, written your thoughts, purchased a stamp, and made sure the envelope actually was mailed.

You may choose to write a personal thank you note to someone who has taken the time to interview you for a job. An email thank you is important because the person receives it right away. A handwritten thank you note is also a good idea as it shows the interviewer that you are sincere about your interest in the job.

There is a simple formula to use when writing a thank you note.

  1. Thank the person for the gift – be sure to say exactly what the gift is.
  2. Indicate how you might use the gift – if it is something to use.
    1. NOTE: if you don’t like the gift just thank the person for their thoughtfulness and skip from step 1 to step 3
  3. Tell the person something about yourself – what you are doing for your job, about your family or your home – maybe you are working on a home improvement project.
  4. Close your note by wishing the person well and repeating your thanks.

While it’s great to write thank you notes following this wonderful season of gift giving and receiving. I suggest that it’s important to write thank you notes whenever you feel like expressing your gratitude.

Write me back and tell me about your experience writing thank you notes.

 

 

 

Shopping for Gifts

December 3, 2014

This is the time of year when most of us are looking for gifts for our family and friends. I want to offer you some tried and true tips for staying on task and getting your shopping and wrapping done without too much fuss and bother.

First of all, make a complete list of the people to whom you are giving gifts.

Next, think about the sorts of things that each person likes. Do you want to buy a gift to wrap or would this person like to join you for an afternoon at a spa or a trip to the movies followed by dinner? I love to give gifts that involve sharing time with those I care about. That’s something that works for me but that might not work for you. Particularly if the recipient doesn’t live nearby.

Schedule time to shop and go with a specific person or several people in mind. Try not to shop for everyone at once!

Then, as you buy your gifts or gift certificates take them home and wrap them. This way they are wrapped, tagged and ready to go. You can mail them off when the time is right or deliver them in person whenever at the appropriate time.

I hope these little tips will help you in your quest to doing your holiday shopping!

The Holidays are Coming!

October 15, 2013

Have you noticed that advertising and talking about the holidays has started already? In the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens there was a short paragraph about grocery shopping for the holidays. It mentioned that you can save money by buying some non-perishable ingredients in bulk now before the holiday rush begins in earnest.

The cover of the November issue of Real Simple magazine talks about holiday entertaining made easy. Real Simple magazine is referring specifically to Thanksgiving but really you can apply the tips to other holiday gatherings.

I was shopping at a mall in Atlanta over the weekend and saw many holiday displays. One store had Christmas bears for sale another was selling Christmas tree ornaments and even had several decorated trees on display already! I was really flabbergasted! Christmas on display before Halloween.

Does all the advanced warning of the holidays’ arrival put you into panic mode or does it make you want to organize yourself early?

There is something to be said for making your list in preparation for the holidays. When you start preparing in advance you allow plenty of time to get things done without stress and you give yourself time to do things at a reasonable pace rather than rushing through. Another benefit to preparing in advance is that you save money. If you’re buying gifts for family and friends you can save money when you take advantage of seasonal sales. When you wait to the last minute you may indulge in impulse buying – just to get it done.

If we’re talking about Halloween make list of the candy you’ll buy, the costume you’ll rent (if you dress up), and the decorations for your front door (if you decorate). Make a note on your calendar to buy your pumpkin and set aside time to carve it. Thinking about these chores or tasks allows you to mentally prepare to actually follow through and accomplish them.

What about your list for Thanksgiving, Channukah or Christmas? Thanksgiving could be really easy if you’re not hosting a dinner! My recommendation is to think about your plan for each of these holidays

. What is your vision for each of the holidays?
* Will you be hosting an event?
* Do you like to attend certain plays or programs (like the holiday lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens)?
* Do you like to decorate your house – inside and out?
* Do you like to give homemade baked goods as gifts?
* Do you want to send out holiday cards?

All these wonderful traditions take time. It’s possible to do them all but take a look at your calendar, factor in your daily routine and then schedule time to dedicate to the traditions that will bring your vision for the holidays to life. Only schedule those things that honestly fit your vision and your schedule. Be sure to allow time to simply relax and enjoy!

Clutter-Free Gifts

November 28, 2012

Did you go shopping this past weekend? Maybe you were one of those who shopped after their Thanksgiving Dinner? I didn’t shop on Thanksgiving Day but I did shop at some of the small businesses in my community on Small Business Saturday. Did you? I will admit that I’m a great cyber shopper and in fact was one of those shopping on Cyber Monday. Interesting don’t you think that these shopping days have been named…

There was a terrific chalkboard saying posted on Pinterest last week regarding purchasing gifts for children. It went something like this: 1 thing they need, 1 thing to wear, 1 thing they want, 1 thing they read. I love this and hope you do too!You do not need to purchase an abundance of things. Too many things just adds to the collection. As a professional organizer, I’m always repeating this mantra to my clients: 1 thing goes out before 1 thing comes in. This is a wonderful time of year to help your children organize their toys and books. If there are toys that are in good condition but that your children no longer play with donate them to a local charity or Goodwill. Books in good condition can be donated to a childcare facility, your local library, or even your school. This way you make room for some things to come in and teach your children that they do not have to hang on to things they are no longer using. A valuable life lesson!

We usually take a family vacation over the holidays and the vacation itself makes up a large portion of my gift to my children. I am a big believer in clutter-free gift giving. These gifts usually involve an experience and they don’t take up any space! You don’t have to put them away.  There are many ways to give a clutter-free gift All you have to do is know the person to whom you are giving and then use your imagination. Here are some questions to get your creative juices flowing. What do they like to do? What are their favorite foods? Do they have a hobby?

Here are a few concrete suggestions:

1. Tickets to a show, the movies, or a local attraction – like the aquarium

2. Something baked: cookies, a cake, or even a casserole

3. Gift certificate to a restaurant (if the person has children you could include babysitting!)

4. Gift certificate for a spa service: facial, manicure/pedicure

5. Gift certificate for a lesson: tennis, golf, skiing, snowboarding, ballroom dance

6. Hire a Professional Organizer for a few hours to help a friend or family member get organized in 1 area of their home

The best part of giving a clutter-free gift is that you are not just giving a thing to use you are also giving an experience! It’s two gifts rolled into one – Isn’t that wonderful!

Do you have time to…?

October 10, 2012

Do you get that deer in the headlights dazed look around this time of year when someone says something like ‘Do you have time to help me …’? There is always so much going on in the fall. Reconnecting with friends you haven’t seen much of during the summer at meetings, like the Garden Club or Book Club.  If you have children in school then there are the school parents nights to attend and parent/teacher conferences.  How about making or finding your child’s halloween costume? Following Halloween is my favorite of fall celebrations: Thanksgiving. But, leading up to Thanksgiving for me is the baking and preparing of the goodies which make up the Thanksgiving feast. Right on the tail of Thanksgiving comes Channukah and Christmas. I don’t know about you but I sometimes get a little overwhelmed thinking about all the activities that go along with Christmas.

Personally, I have lots of tasks to take care of in preparation for Christmas. I send out cards, decorate my house and bake lots and lots of cookies. I have several cookie monsters in my family and love to provide them with these delectable cookie treats at Christmas. I also have gifts to buy for my immediate family and for my siblings. So, in addition to buying the gifts, they also have to be wrapped and mailed to the recipients. How do I accomplish these tasks and keep from feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed? It’s all about organizing & prioritizing my time demands and knowing what additional tasks I can take on without overtaxing my schedule.

How can you avoid the deer in the headlights look as we get deep into fall? This is the topic of a workshop my colleague, Jonda Beattie, and I are presenting on Friday, October 19th in Alpharetta, Georgia. It’s going to be a wonderful workshop complete with holiday punch, christmas cookies and door prizes. Jonda and I will share our strategies that enable us to complete all the tasks surrounding these holidays AND enjoy them! Attendees will also receive a terrific handout full of useful tips. I hope to see some of you there.