Decisions, Decisions: Calendaring, Scheduling, and Planning the Plans


As our holiday celebrations have grown over the years, it became very necessary to start planning earlier and earlier. We have always followed a relatively simple schedule: 6 months ahead at all times. The 4th of July is when you plan for Christmas. Easter is planning for Halloween. Mother’s Day cements Thanksgiving. It’s not the details that are being planned. It’s looking the calendar and possible the next’s year calendar to decide who is going to host the celebration, where does it fall during the week, what else is going on in the general surrounds. Christmas falling near on or near a weekend provides more opportunities for hosting a Christmas Eve dinner, a Christmas brunch, and a Boxing Day party. How many weekends to do potlucks and/or cookie exchanges with the neighborhood? Who is having a milestone birthday that would make the logistics of dueling celebrations impractical? You know about how long it takes to decorate the outside of the house for Halloween and Christmas. You know about how long it takes to pack up or unpack decorations. Unless there is an entirely new decorating scheme (a year’s advance planning) we know about how long things should take to pull off the desired effects. We are spending the days between Halloween and Thanksgiving working on outdoor strings of lights in the garage. We are already printing out lists for cards to be sent and gathering recipes the entire year for individual holidays. The dog days of August are spent with several volumes of tear sheets of Thanksgiving & Christmas menus. You may be hunting Easter eggs. At our house we are deciding on a “charming” or “scary” or “fun” or “formal” Halloween décor. We have the resources and the decorations to do it all. We are scouring Pinterest in August for Valentine and Mardi Gras ideas.

We get new ideas from media of all kinds. We never know where a new inspiration will come from so we are constantly on the lookout for new sources and destinations. A visit to Disney World gave us ideas for the Christmas holidays for years. We took a backstage decorations tour and discovered how they build garlands, wreaths, and trees on a theme park scale, and we were able to translate that to our much smaller scale and give a fresh look to what we already had in stock. Because of space limitations, we try to buy minimally each year. When we decide on a new décor, we know that some things may have to go to a new home. It is also possible that new color schemes may be introduced causing new locations for traditional things. The manger scene always goes on the piano until the piano isn’t there anymore. I give more prominence to some pieces that Mother never saw. The gingerbread always goes between the kitchen and the dining room. Santa and the reindeer belong in the family room and the more formal brass candlesticks with the holly and ivy wreaths go on the coffee table in the living room. Then another year I did tableaus of various Christmas carols and the holly and ivy went in the family room.

All of that being said, we still enjoy the moments of the holiday. There is usually a time when it is all done and we take a breath – it’s finally what we envisioned and we stand in awe of ourselves. Look what we did. This is exactly what we were trying to achieve. We preserve the moment with photos and then move on. Sometimes taking it down is the toughest part because it was perfect.

We do plan the plan and calendar months in advance but that one moment makes it all worthwhile. Look what we did.

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