Gosh, where does the time go?! One moment them snowdrops are just peeping out, and the next they are nearly over. One moment the daffodils are nothing but green shoots, and the next the gardens are just a sea of jaunty golden nodding heads. And so it is, my Jingle Belles post is a little late!
First thing to do is to take some money, and tuck it away with the money you tucked away last month. It feels lovely to have a little treasure store, and even nicer to feel it growing month by month!
Next you need of course, a cup of tea, and the notes you made last month. The idea is to read back over them, and see what jumps out at you. What do you definitely want to do? What fresh new ideas have you had since then? I like to draw new mind maps to show my refined ideas. That is what you are doing here, visiting your initial thoughts and then just seeing where they take you. This is the mood-board themey part, where you are thinking about how your Christmas is going to look, smell, taste and feel this year, where you are trying to pin down the essence of the Christmas you are going to create.
Next we are going to go back to the first draft of your card and gift lists. With the card list, just read it through, add on anyone you have forgotten about, and count up how many cards you need to make or buy. Have another think about your cards – will you make all, or some, or none? If you are buying them, will you buy handmade ones from etsy, or charity cards, or something else? Are you filling them with glitter? Sealing them with sealing wax? If you are making them, look at the ideas you have had so far for a design. Are you going to do one design, or a selection? Then on to your gifts list. Again, update it with anybody you had forgotten, then look again at your ideas. Are you making or buying? Are you doing ‘batch’ gifts (eg a mug filled with a sachet of hot chocolate mix and home made sweets?). The ideas you have had so far, are they too ambitious? Have you had new ideas, or refined old ideas? Jot it all down!
Now, you can start to think about making and buying gifts, so you need to designate a place to keep them. Don’t choke on your tea in horror, I am not suggesting too much Christmassyness yet! You see, now that I have a better idea of who I am giving gifts too and roughly what I would like to give to them, ideas are starting to present themselves to me. I went into the Oxfam book shop to buy a book for myself, and while I was in there, I found a 1904 edition of Keats poems. I have a dear friend who adores Keats, so I bought it for him, and have tucked it away, and made a note on my list. As you know, I bought hot water bottles last month, and last week, my favourite cashmere jumper wore out, so I felted it and have it ready to cut up for covers. This week, in fact, probably later tonight, I am going to make a paper pattern for the covers.
Really, that is all you have to do this month, tuck away a few pennies, revisit your lists, start to refine your ideas, and start to keep an eye out for things you can buy or make and tuck away. Did you make marmalade this year? Would a jar or two make a nice gift for someone on your list? Label and stash!
If you are in the mood, and you may or may not be, you might like to make a mood board to help bring your ideas together. Get out some of your favourite Christmas magazines (mine is Country Living!) and cut out images that appeal to you (photocopy or scan them first if you dont want to spoil the magazine!). Visit some favourite blogs, and print off posts or pictures that appeal, and add them too. A happy hour with scissors and glue, and you should have a better idea of where you are going this year.
This year, I have decided that I want a real ‘Country Living’ feel to my Christmas. I am going to wrap gifts in tissue paper first, then wrapping paper, possibly even brown paper, and finish with ribbons and spriggs of holly. There will be a lot of greenery and candlelight, and a lot of home made elements to my gifts. I spotted a set of 10 cups and saucers in a charity shop the other day, which I was going to use to make tea cup candles, but alas someone beat me to it! I am thinking of crocheting some bunting for my Mum, and making Baileys Fudge as gifts too.
Thats it! See you next month!