Suburban Soiree


Crazy for Christmas Challenge: July

Crazy for Christmas, ChristmasAmy WileyComment

It’s Christmas in July! I’m coming to you today from my beach chair, but know that I’ll be online ordering a few gifts as I listen to the waves. July 25th has become a bit of a holiday in itself and I think that’s so stinkin’ fun. Let’s get started with today’s challenge!

Start Wish Lists

If you haven’t already, you need to utilize wish lists with a few retailers. My favorites are Amazon and Nordstrom. This is a great way to keep a running list of gift ideas for family members, for your kids, and for yourself! I don’t know about you, but I not only do the Christmas shopping for my household, I also supply gift ideas for my kids to extended family. Keeping a list helps you remember those items your kid pointed out one day at the store. You can also watch for them to go on sale. If you haven’t already, start some wish lists!

Make Travel Arrangements


Today is the day… first decide if you will travel or stay home this Christmas season. If family beckons you, today is a great time to make arrangements for your trip. If you’ll fly to your destination, go ahead and book your air travel. Set up a hotel or confirm with your cousin or mother that you’ll be staying with them. In short, make your travel plans! This will ease planning down the road. Plus, half of the fun of travel is looking forward to it… even if it’s seeing your crazy family at Christmas! This month’s printable is in honor of spending the holidays with those you love. Print it as an 8x10 photo and pop it in a frame so it’s ready to go in December. Click here to get this free printable.

A Little Shopping

As always, chip away at your gift list today. Stow away a few gifts in your ever-growing stash and go ahead and congratulate yourself on being so on top of things!

That’s all for today… Merry Christmas in July, everyone!

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Crazy for Christmas Challenge: June

Christmas, Crazy for ChristmasAmy WileyComment

The summer sun is blazing, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t in the Christmas spirit! Our Crazy for Christmas Challenge continues today. Since it’s the 25th of the month, we’ll take just a little time to prepare for this year’s holiday, saving us time down the road. This month’s tasks are fairly simple. Next month expect a pretty easy list as well… but in August we are going to really get to work!

Let’s get started…

Plan Your Charitable Giving


Christmas always gets us in the giving spirit and most non-profit organizations rely heavily on end-of-the-year donations. It’s also typically a time when our bank accounts are feeling the blow of ALL the Christmas expenses. By planning ahead we can give more thoughtfully, more generously, and more cheerfully! Take some time and think about who you really want to bless this season. Maybe it’s a local or national charity… maybe you want to do an extra gift to your church, or maybe you want to send a care package or monetary gift to missionaries supported by your congregation. You can plan for toy drives as well. This month’s printable has space for you to designate charities and causes and make a note of how much you would like to give. You can start setting aside the money now. Think how great it will feel to GIVE this Christmas!

A Little Shopping

As usual, check some under-the-tree gifts off your list this month. Today I’ve rounded up some toys this month to help you get those shopping wheels turning. These are things I’ll be picking up for my family. Shop the whole list here.

That’s all for today… join the Crazy for Christmas Challenge email list to get the printables each month:

Crazy for Christmas Challenge: May

Christmas, Crazy for ChristmasAmy WileyComment

Summer is here and it’s time to put on our flip flops and enjoy the outdoors. But first… a teensy bit of Christmas planning to keep us on track.

If you’re new, the Crazy for Christmas Challenge gives you a handful of tasks each 25th of the month to slowly prepare you for a more relaxed, more prepared Christmas season.

Get the challenges the night before they post to the blog AND a free printable each month by email:

Now, for today’s tasks. This month is all about getting a jump on those hard-to-book experiences. The early bird will get the Christmas worm! Let’s get started…

Set the Tone

I love how Beth Moore says mothers set the temperature in the home and not just because we control the thermostat. It’s true, right? Before we dive into putting things on the calendar, we want to make sure we are intentional about what we want the season to feel like for ourselves and our families. This month’s printable is a simple way to keep yourself on track. Take a moment and jot down how you want to feel this Christmas… present? relaxed? energized? festive? unhurried? Make your list and keep it handy in your notebook as you tackle the next step.


Book Holiday Experiences

Over the years my crazy-lady level of planning has led to some unforgettable memories at the holidays, all because I booked early. I’ve learned the hard way, you have to be ON IT for certain things. Today, decide if some of these things would be a fit for your family. (See above!) If you can, go ahead and make a reservation. If you find out reservations aren’t open yet, make a note in your calendar to call as soon as they open up. I shared some of our favorite traditions a couple of years ago in this post. Below is my list of events you should look for in your city. Please note, these are more of the “Santa” side of Christmas than the religious side. Please know I will offer plenty of suggestions for incorporating the true meaning of Christmas as the months progress. The events I talk about today are just the ones that book out early.

Breakfast with Santa

Hotels, museums and event centers often offer a breakfast with Santa. We love the one at The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. Each year this event makes me just about actually burst with Christmas cheer. Seriously. Everyone wears their holiday best and dances around to live music. It’s so much fun and never fails to put our Christmas spirit levels over the top. Do a little research in your city, and I’m sure you’ll find something similar. These book up fast, so get your reservation if possible. Check out fancy hotels, museums, or even recreation centers to find one near you.


The Polar Express Train Ride

We absolutely love riding The Polar Express and it adds so much Christmas magic to the season. We always splurge for the first class tickets and enjoy every drop of our hot chocolate on the train while the kids wear their pajamas. We’ve boarded the Polar Express both in Durango, CO and Denver. We have a nice collection of Christmas mugs we’ve received on the trains over the years. I’m telling you… it’s darling. Check this list to see if the licensed Polar Express is near you. If not, many cities offer some sort of Santa train. My advice is to go for the “real deal” if it’s nearby.


Local Holiday Attractions

Check out local museums, zoos and botanic gardens for special holiday events. Our botanic garden does a lights event as well as a Santa’s Village. The Denver Zoo does “Zoo Lights.” We have a new Gaylord hotel in our area and I’m going to be checking out their holiday events. These family-friendly activities are worth checking out but often hard to pull off at the last minute due to selling out. Most won’t have tickets available just yet, but find out when they go live so you can write it on your calendar. Then, you’ll have a reminder so you can reserve your preferred date.

Go Shopping

When I say “go” shopping, of course I mean go online and shop in your pajamas! As usual, today you’ll check a few items off your list. Today I’ve rounded up some gifts for ladies and they are all under $50!


For the men in your life, I recently posted a Father’s Day Gift Guide that can do double duty. Grab a gift for Father’s Day and one to stash away for Christmas.

I hope you have a merry weekend! Join us in the Crazy for Christmas Challenge Facebook Group and share your planning.

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