christmas gifts and favors

Suburban Soiree

The Crazy for Christmas Challenge Starts Today!

Christmas, Crazy for ChristmasAmy WileyComment

Hi friends! I am thrilled to kick off my Crazy for Christmas Challenge today, January 25th! The idea is that we can get just a little done each month. This will set us up for a relaxed, organized, and peaceful Christmas season. Think more time enjoying your family, doing advent devotionals, and simply gazing at your beautiful Christmas tree! Isn’t that what we all want?

Each month, on the 25th, I’ll give you a handful of manageable tasks. You’ll slowly check items off your list and head into December more prepared than ever. I’ll also send out a free printable each month to go in your Christmas planner. More on that in a moment. Join the Crazy for Christmas email list to get yours:

So, let’s get started!  Here is what you can do TODAY to get a jump on next Christmas:

January Tasks

  1. Go Through Your Calendar and Mark the 25th of Each Month from now Through November.

    Go ahead and make a note to yourself that you’ll be doing a few Christmas tasks on these days.  I love a paper planner, and I note my Christmas planning with stickers.  I love these little strings of lights.  Find similar ones here.  If you use the calendar on your computer or phone, go through and add a Santa or Christmas tree emoji.

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2. Start your Christmas Planner Notebook

You’ll need a place to keep all your lists and other papers organized, so buy a 1-inch binder (I suggest red) and add the custom cover you’ll get when you sign up for the Crazy for Christmas Challenge emails. I suggest printing the cover as an 8x10 photo, at somewhere like Walgreen’s or Costco. Having a place for everything makes a huge difference. You’ll receive a new, helpful printable each month to add to your binder.

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3. Designate a Spot to Store Gifts

Once you start buying gifts, you need a place to put them where they will be out of sight. You also want to remember where they are! (Anyone else ever stashed things away and forgotten about them?) Whether it’s a spare closet, under your bed or a shelf in your garage, today I want to you to pick out that spot and get it ready. For me it’s a basement linen closet. I had my husband change out the doorknob to one that locks with a key. Today I’ll make sure it’s cleaned out and ready. I’ll also add some shoebox-sized bins for storing stocking stuffers. Even if you don’t have a special closet, taking the time to vacuum under the bed or clear off a shelf will have you ready for all those gifts.

4. Update Your Address List

I absolutely love sending and receiving Christmas cards. I always end up with a few “return to sender” from friends who have moved and a few cards from friends that note a new address. While it’s still fresh on your mind, go through and update that Christmas card list. Track down new addresses when needed. You might also edit your list to remove old contacts or add new friends. I keep track of all of mine with an Excel spreadsheet.

That’s it! Start NOW and get that satisfied feeling that you are ahead of the game!

Tuesday Treats: Valentine's Day Swag

Tuesday Treats, Valentine's DayAmy WileyComment

Valentine’s Day is on our hearts these days and that means we are ready to look the part! Your Valentine will swoon seeing you sporting all the red and pink. I’ve rounded up my favorites sure to attract cupid’s arrow… just click on the item names below to photo to shop my affiliate links.

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Movie Night: Queen of Katwe

Movie NightAmy WileyComment

This post contains affiliate links.

We love a movie with a positive, motivational story that sparks interesting conversations in our family. That’s what we found with Queen of Katwe, a delightful film. This movie tells the story of a young girl living in a slum in Uganda who finds her life rapidly changing after discovering she is a gifted chess player. It’s an inspiring story that opened my kids’ eyes to what poverty can really look like in other parts of the world. Plus, it’s based on a true story… which gets us every time!

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This movie is probably best suited for kids who are a little older, as it does have some intense moments. You are the best judge of what is appropriate for your family. See more on the content here.

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I found a beautiful African-patterned tablecloth to help set the scene for this movie night. The colors are so beautiful and vibrant that little else was needed.

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It’s always fun to move movie night dinners into our formal dining room. It changes things up and always feels like a special occasion.

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You might be shocked to know that “chess” isn’t a hot party theme these days. Ha! While I couldn’t find much, I did find this chess piece chocolate mold. I baked a simple yellow cake with chocolate icing and topped it with white chocolate chess pieces to loosely mimic a chess board. My kids went crazy for this and thought it was rather fancy!

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We loved this movie and ended the night feeling inspired and educated. If that’s not the sign of a good family movie night, I don’t know what is. Happy Friday, friends!