I finally got the last of the Christmas decorations packed away on Saturday. (It’s a little later than usual, but we often wait until after January 6 to take them down. Plus, I took my time this year instead of doing it all in one day.) The boxes are still in the kitchen, but The Furry Guy will take them back up to the attic soon. I’m always torn when we disassemble Christmas. I hate to see the stuff go, but I’m glad to have my house back.
As I packed things away I made sure to make note of anything we added. I have a list of all of our decorations and the stories behind them. I also make note of anything that needs to be replaced. I have a list on my computer of notes for Christmas 2011 where I keep track of things I’ve already got for next year (like cards purchased at the after-Christmas sales) and things I need to be on the lookout for. Once I start shopping in earnest next fall I’ll know what I need.
I’ve made note of what we gave to others and what we received. Actually, this is an ongoing list. I start with a basic spreadsheet of people we purchase gifts for, including those to whom we give goodie boxes (like the postal carrier). As we come up with ideas for gifts, I record those beside each person’s name. As we purchase or finish making each gift I check it off. (There’s also a place to check them off when they’re wrapped and again when they’re given.) There’s another section of the spreadsheet for recording gifts received.
At the end of the season I make sure that everything has been recorded. I save the spreadsheet, then I save it again with the next year’s date (2010 Gift Record becomes 2011 Gift Record). I then clear out all of the gift details and save it again. I now have a blank gift record that has everyone already listed. I can start thinking up gift ideas for next year. Saving the previous year’s list gives us a record in case we can’t remember how many years it’s been since we gave a particular item to someone. This keeps us from giving someone the exact same thing a year or two later and also lets us know when something might need to be replaced.
I’ve actually already started purchasing gifts and have some pretty good ideas for a few others. Roaming among the Christmas clearance items helps me start those creative juices flowing. I have a reminder alarm set on my phone to look over the gift list once a month. I know that sounds odd, but by keeping the list fresh in my mind I’m able to find gift or craft ideas throughout the year. After all, another Christmas will arrive on December 25, whether I’m ready or not, and it will be here before we know it.