BRAGG: Getting organized for holiday season

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It’s that time of year again when “stacks” start piling up everywhere at my house.

There’s a stack full of magazines with turned down corners,  a “stack” of recipes I want to try (actually, there is a whole drawer full of those),  “stacks” of paperwork to file and “stacks” of fabrics waiting to be made into little girl’s pajamas and/or gifts.

Just thinking about them is starting to wear me down.

This week as I started putting ideas for Christmas into a red reusable bag I thought, “You should be putting them right away into file folders” and then I said to myself, “You could put these in a three-ring binder.”

And since I love to pretend I’m organized and enjoy working with paper and glue made a plan to do just that.

I mentioned this to my friend Donna Jones at art class and she said,  “Oh, I want one of those.”  

I figure, if you’re doing one, you might as well do three, and decided to make one for Donna and my friend Pat.

I started by going to a local office supply store where I bought large white three-ring binders with clear covers (the kind where a piece of paper can be slipped under the plastic).  

I made sure the notebook had “holding” sleeves on the front and back of the inside covers because things can be stored there temporarily if I don’t have time to them right away.

For each notebook I also bought a set of dividers (eight to a pack) and typed labels on the  computer in a nice font on white card stock and cut them to size. Writing on those small labels provided is way too hard.  My personal tabs included: gift ideas, recipes, decorations, menus, Christmas cards, inspiration and so on.

I also made an 8 1/2 X 11-inch blank copy of the months of November and December (google “blank November calendar” to get a form online or copy one you have) and put each in a sheet protector.  

I have asked each of my children to send their plans for those months and will color-code their activities. I recommend doing this even if you keep a calendar on your computer because you’ll refer to it a lot.

I then slipped a piece of Christmas scrap book paper (available in the scrap booking section of craft stores) under the front and back covers and typed “Happy Holidays” on a piece of card stock, cut that out with scalloped scissors and slipped that down the front, too.  

One could be as creative as one would like.

On the insides of the notebooks I slipped similar pieces of Christmas paper behind the plastic holding tabs to make it festive, and, voilà, my task was complete.

If you are making one as a gift I recommend you also give a three-hole punch and some sheet protectors.

Sheets protectors can store papers that aren’t subject to hole punching and smaller pieces of paper can be put in one sleeve And if you plan to buy some, buy a big box at an office supply store or at large big box retailer because they’re much cheaper. I use them for important documents and also to protect recipes while cooking, keep special articles, etc.

I get a lot of mileage from sheet protectors.

I rarely decorate the same way for Christmas, but if I have something I particularly like I take a photo of it and store it with the decorations (Lord knows I won’t remember it).   Now I can put them in my “Christmas” book instead.

I also have a big red basket that closes, which  I bought ages ago at the Peddler, where I store a collection of all things Christmas I have gathered over time,  including old magazines, recipes for special cookies, etc.  

I weed them out from year to year because trends change, but it’s my “go-to” place.

Also each year when Christmas is over I realize that I have forgotten to look at my beautiful coffee table books.  I plan to put a note in my “decorations” tab reminding me to consult: “Passion for Flowers,” “Nelle Hill at Home” and Bunny Williams for inspiration.

Again this season I’m going to try to use what I have.

The winterberries are fuller than ever and will soon be at their peak. The nandina berries are a dull “rusty” color and will look great with the magnolia leaves.

I may or may not get around to using any of them – time will tell.  

But I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

‘Til next week. MP
Tagged under  Christmas, Cooking, Holiday, Jeanne Bragg

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