How to Find the Time...Getting Things Done During the Busy Holiday Season...Without Losing the Joy!

Here are a few strategies for finding the time to make gifts and get things done during the busy holiday season...while keeping the joy alive.  Note: This article is an excerpt from a 1998 issue of our newsletter, Frugal LuxuriesAt the bottom of the page you'll find a scan of the original page!

  • Every evening, after dinner, I would choose an old movie to watch on video or television (I enjoy watching those with a holiday spark my enthusiasm).  I settled myself in a comfortable seat in the family room to prepare the apples [for the apple pies I planned to give as gifts]. Flanked by two large mixing bowls, I peeled and cored apples over bowl #1.  Next I cut the peeled apples into slices directly over bowl #2 (I also added a bit of lemon juice at the bottom of the bowl beforehand, to prevent the apples from browning).  This process continued until all of the apples were processed, taking about two hours.  I then seasoned the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and cloves and set them, covered, in the refrigerator.  The following evening, while playing my favorite Christmas music, I prepared a quantity of pie crusts, and proceeded to bake the apple pies. [See HERE  for more on easy food prep.]

  • My "movie watching strategy" is also quite effective for many craft projects as well.  You may settle yourself in a comfortable chair and hand sew or craft over a deep (2 inch) lap-size tray (you may substitute cardboard boxes, or jelly roll pans if you have no trays available).  Doing this keeps your mess within a confined space (the tray) and makes clean up simple and easy.  If your project requires several days, you may set aside your tray (perhaps on a closet shelf) until you have a chance to finish.

  • Create a master craft and cooking/baking list helps you to budget your time.  Because you are able to see at a glance the many projects you wish to accomplish during the holidays you may easily prioritize and edit your plans if necessary.

  • Another self-induced incentive to action is to invite friends over for a few hours, and host a cooking, baking, or craft night.  The old saying that "many hands make light work" is drenched in truth.  I have done this and find that at least twice as much gets done when you have help.  As well, the simple fact that time has been set aside for you to specifically accomplish such tasks makes it more difficult for you to procrastinate or become sidetracked, before they are completed.

  •  Perhaps the most important thing to remember when performing any task is to make them as enjoyable as possible.  If you look at something as a chore you will naturally find ways to put off doing it.  Listening to your favorite music, watching a favorite holiday video, listening to [audio] books....or visiting with friends (remember the efficiency of the old~fashioned quilting bee?) will most definitely enhance any project.

 (Zucchini spice bread, using the farm stand zucchini I saved by freezing...I wrote about it HERE.)

I made these while implementing my classic "Movie Watching Technique"... all accomplished within a few episodes of "Downton Abbey" season 2! 

This page scanned from the 1998 Holiday Issue of our original newsletter, Frugal Luxuries.  To enlarge right-click and choose "view image"...then click the image to view a larger size.


June said...

You always have such wonderful ideas Tracey. I know that I will benefit greatly from all of your ideas for getting through my list and probably have a lot more fun doing it too.
You always inspire me!
sending hugs...

La Table De Nana said...

Happy Holidays..~
I am thankful for your tray idea:-)
When I was stitching my tiny scissors would fall through the cushions..floss and needles too..for my next batch I will be thinking of you.
I love Downton Abbey!

Lorrie Orr said...

Lovely ideas, Tracey. I've been doing the movie while doing knitting and sewing, too. With all the tree lights on, a candle burning, and something hot to drink at hand.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I just saw your recent post June and it looks to me as if you need no nudges to get things done in your pretty home! I am always in awe at how much you are such an inspiration.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Happy Holidays to you LTDN!
I loved those little ornaments you stitched...I know what you mean about losing the little scissors! Losing those and other little bits are what inspired me to use the tray many years ago...along with my curious kitties!
P.S. I am sooo looking forward to season three of Downton Abbey on January 6th!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Lorrie, you painted such a cozy, serene setting...I can just picture it...the knitting takes it over the top!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

The tray tip is just genius! I often have projects that take more than a day and this is such a fabulous idea to keep everything corralled.

I often watch a movie,YouTube or episodes of Gilmore Girls while I'm working on something. It passes the time especially if it's something mindless or really repetitive.

You always have such great ideas!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Thanks so much Manuela! I know exactly what you mean about putting on something mindless while working...I can't tell you how many dresses I've sewn and pies/cookies/jams/cakes I've made over the years with "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea" playing in the background! Now, doing that combined with your brilliant paint-by-wall strategy that you just posted about, 2013 promises to be a very productive year!
Tracey xox
P.S. I am just loving your kitchen makeover's so rich in great tips!

The Texas Pioneer Woman said...

I have procrastinated so much and I have quite a bit left to do. I'm following your movie watching strategy every night beginning tonight from now until Christmas. I'm also going to have to create a master cooking/ baking list. Thank you for all of your suggestions to keep us organized and on track.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I know the feeling! I borrowed the concept from my mom who, when I was very young, would put on music during cleaning day! I believe she borrowed it from Mary Poppins..." For every job that must be done there is an element of find the fun and...snap...the jobs a game...."

Storybook Woods said...

ohhhhh great tips (you are so smart!!). I use the movie making one all the time!!! xox Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Hi Clarice! Me too.. I am absolutely addicted to the movie watching technique! In fact, I plan much of my kitchen and hand work around what shows I want to watch or movies I want to see.

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