Christmas Countdown C -23

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What REALLY Must Be Done?

When I was in the Navy, we were very busy in the weeks before Christmas. I was concerned I might not get everything done before the big day. This was not only causing me stress, it was also making me very sad. Katy, our daughter, was about 6 years old & I wanted her & Mr. D to have a great Christmas. How was I going to get everything done? Then I got an idea!

I sat down with a pice of paper & created 2 columns. One was labeled “Have to Do” the other was labeled “Want to Do.” Then I thought about all the things that needed to be done before Christmas morning. As I thought of a task, I asked myself, “Did it HAVE to be done or was it simply something I wanted to do?” I had to decide if Christmas would be ruined it the task didn’t get done. And I forced myself to be honest about it.

When I finished, there was only ONE thing on my Have to Do list. We need to shop for Katy so she would have presents on Christmas morning. We needed to make certain Santa had gifts to deliver to Katy. As much as I wanted to get all the other tasks done, none of them was a deal breaker. We might be disappointed if we didn’t put up a tree but Christmas wouldn’t be ruined. So, everything else went on my Want to Do list.

Then a strange thing happened. As soon as I took the pressure off myself, as soon as I told myself I didn’t HAVE to get all those things done, I was able to relax, slowing working my way through the tasks I simply wanted to get done. And do you know, by Christmas Eve, every single item on both lists was done!

Pressure & stress often cause us to freeze up. Determine what you absolutely HAVE to do by Christmas. Not the things others are forcing on you but tasks YOU determine are necessary. Then put everything else on your Want to list. Finish the Have-to’s first. Then slowly work your way through the Want-to’s. You may be surprised how much you get done when the pressure is off!

6 Ways to Beat Stress During the Holidays

6 Ways to Beat Stress During the Holidays

Things are not always so jolly during the Holiday season. Stress often rears its ugly head taking the joy right out of our Christmas. Fortunately, I’m not the only one working to help you reduce stress this Christmas! Good Housekeeping has identified some of the things that cause your stress levels to go up. ANS they offer 6 ways to help you beat that Grinch of a Christmas Stress! Take a breath. Then take a moment to read this fantastic advice. But remember! It only works if you do it!

Holiday Stress

42 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas

42 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas

Way back when I was a kid, people put up their tree, some lights outside, a few decorative pieces around the house & that was about it for the decorations. Now, we like to add Holiday cheer to every room in our house. Even if it is just a bi, we still enjoy adding SOMETHING. Unfortunately, this can be expensive, sometimes VERY expensive.

Wait, not so fast! You can still display decorations all over the house without the expense when you take a page from Midwest Living… or simply visit their site! Midwest Living has a large list of easy & inexpensive ways to decorate your home this Christmas! These little trees are just one example. So cute & colorful & easy to make, you may add them to every room in your house! Hmmm, not a bad idea!

Easy Holiday Decorating

76 Heartwarming and Festive Christmas Decorating Ideas

76 Heartwarming and Festive Christmas Decorating Ideas

There are almost as many different ways to decorate your home for Christmas as there are ornaments for your tree. You are no longer forced to stick with the tried & true. Instead, you can go with a decorating scheme that suits your tastes, style & home.

You don’t even have to stick to just one style! You can go contemporary in ¬†the living room, elegant in the dining room, country in the kitchen, eclectic in the family room & rustic in the bedroom! Why stick with just one style when so many of them are available & so much fun!

You also don’t have to spend a fortune to spread the Christmas cheer throughout your home. You can make many of your decorations. You can buy $ store decorations & transform them into something more fabulous. You can even shop thrift stores & repurpose your finds into beautiful displays!

Country Living has created a display of 76, YES, 76 decorating ideas! If this doesn’t get your Christmas creative juices flowing, you need to have a little egg nog & watch Charlie Brown again!

Christmas Decorating Ideas

50 Easy Christmas Centerpiece Ideas

50 Easy Christmas Centerpiece Ideas

Two fabulous things about a great centerpiece: its simplicity & versatility. Once a centerpiece is done doing its job on the table, it can be moved to a new¬†location! A centerpiece done right can serve you as a beautiful decoration long after your special event. As I said, a great centerpiece doesn’t have to be complicated. The example in the photo show the elegance of a very simple centerpiece. Midwest Living share this cranberry centerpiece & 49 more with us for the Holiday season. Time to fill our homes with the Simple Joy of beauty!

Christmas Centerpieces

50 Gorgeous Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

50 Gorgeous Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

Decorating the mantel in your home adds such a brilliant touch of elegance to your home. While we don’t have a mantel in our Simple Joy Cottage, so I use ideas like these on our sideboard, dresser & bar. It takes so little to decorate a flat surface like a mantel or sideboard. They aren’t very wide so I like to work with height. A touch here, a touch there and TA-DA! Christmas beauty abounds! And such a Simple Joy!

This tips & decorating ideas come to us from Midwest Living.

Christmas Mantel