The Christmas Calmdown - A Year of Christmas Prep for a Calm December!

It’s a very special day, readers! Can you guess what it is? I’m practically dancing with excitement and I’m not sure how I will contain myself. 


(I’ll take a moment and let you absorb that…)

For some of you, that announcement will either have you:

A - Tingling with excitement that the holidays are that much closer, or,

B - Recoiling in horror that someone’s bringing THAT up again so soon, or

C – A bit of both.

No matter what side of the fence you sit on, I hear you. Really, I do. I absolutely adore the holidays and look forward to all the preparations and busy-ness that comes with them. However, sometimes the hustle and fuss can catch up with you, and that’s what happened to me this year. I had visions, not just of sugar plums, but of homemade gifts, multiple trees, and a surfeit of home cooked gourmet goodies. I started strong. I achieved a lot. But somehow, despite my best intentions I found myself insanely slightly stressed and racing to the finish line. Sitting back after the big day, I found myself thinking; there HAS to be a better way!

Regardless of how you feel about the holidays, the truth of the matter is that they’re here before we know it, often leaving us overwhelmed, underfunded and out of time. How many of you have declared time and again that you are going to get organized, spend smarter, and start earlier? Me, too. 

I mentioned this to my cousin Ainsley of Pattycake Manners. She and I had been keeping each other updated on our respective preparations and challenges throughout Holiday 2010. Shortly after the holiday, she presented an idea to help avoid the Christmas crush in Deceember 2011.

We would work together and keep each other on track. By making a challenge of it, we could keep the preparations fun and stay motivated to finish. We’ve made a list of ten goals, and our aim is to complete them throughout the year, thus reducing the amount of Christmas craziness. And just to keep us on our toes, we’ve decided to post our progress on our blogs. We’re calling it…

The Christmas Calmdown

A Year of Christmas Prep for a Calm December

Each month, on or about the 25th, Ainsley or I will post an update presenting the goal for the coming month and update you on our progress with previous goals. I don’t want to give too much away but we plan to include things like Holiday Cooking, Home Decor, Cards and Gifts, and of course, fun ideas for making the holidays special for pets and kids. There’ll even be how-to’s and tutorials, and lots of pictures on our progress.

We’ll be alternating posting responsibilities; Ainsley will be posting on the first goal in February. Here’s a link to her wonderful blog Pattycake Manners; be sure to bookmark or follow her blog so you don’t miss the first goal! Because of course, we want YOU to get involved, too! Follow along with our goals, and each month let us know in the comments how you’re doing and what progress you’ve made. There’s no pressure for you; do one goal or do them all. Or, do none and just cheerlead for Ainsley and I in the comments! For our July post we’re planning a “Christmas in July” linky party where you can link up your related posts to share and inspire (more on that later). So grab a button and let everyone know that this year, your Christmas will be full of fun and meaning, and short on stress and disappointment. 

There’s no goal this month, we’re just getting warmed up, but if there is a topic you’d like to see us cover, please let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to work it in!

Here’s a little note from Ainsley…

Hi All! 

First of all, a great big WELCOME to The Christmas Calmdown! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be starting this project with all of you. It’s no secret that I love Christmas, and one of my favorite things about prepping for the holidays is all the handmade goodness. I knit, I scrapbook, I bake, and I love to make my own greeting cards. I love knowing that my friends and loved ones are receiving something I’ve made, with my own hands, just for them. I enjoy the process of making a plan, gathering supplies, and settling down to create something full of love and warm wishes. What I do not love, however, is when I leave these projects just a little too late. The To Do list gets longer, the days get shorter, my patience dwindles, and the joy I normally feel in going the “handmade route” disappears. With The Christmas Calmdown, our hope is that we can spread these projects out over the year, and in doing so, leave ourselves, and you, plenty of time to enjoy the process of getting ready for the holidays. I do hope you’ll join us!

Here’s to a new kind of Christmas!


  1. I answered "A" and am of course so excited about this idea! You 2 are brilliant!

    I will add your button to my Christmas blog right now. Great idea-thank you!

    Best wishes always,

  2. What a great idea... I will follow along with goals and maybe even make some of my own... I am now separated from my extended family for the first time. This will be a good way to stay focussed and when we are with them for the holidays to savour the moments.

  3. Happy Anniversary on your blog. Love reading it.
    Did you try any of the soup starters. I was going to go to the Farmers Market and try a few myself.

  4. Hi Ladies! Thanks so much for your kind words; Ainsley and I are really excited about this! I think it will be really fun!!!

  5. Great idea! I didn't get to half of the things I had planned for Christmas.


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