I always struggle over whether to feature Christmas items before December actually hits. I mean, yes, I am already listening to Christmas music (and enjoying it, thank you very much!) but there are some people who legitimately think we are rushing the season a bit. If you are one of those, I'm hoping you'll forgive me since a giveaway is included.
Confession: I do have several Christmas titles for review which must be featured before December 1st so be aware that those are coming. This particular title - Christine's Christmas Countdown - is a title that ought to be featured well in advance of the holidays. Why? Because, as the subtitle suggests, this little booklet is "the ultimate Christmas planning guide for busy mums." (Did you catch that? The title uses the word "mum" which also made me think of England which is one of the reasons why I accepted this for review. Because, yes, I am just about that pathetic. Why does everything sound so much more thrilling if it comes from England? Hmm? Why is that?)
Christine's Christmas Countdown takes the cake. This booklet is just a little thicker than a pamphlet and is filled with "fill-in-the-blank" style pages so that you can keep track of what you need to do/where you need to go/what you need to organize and when. It is quite thorough. If you like making lists to stay organized, this book will definitely prove most handy for you as it mentions just about every single aspect of the holidays that you could possibly be thinking to plan for. I should note that I am not a list-maker but that my husband is and I'm working on becoming one for a more organized life. (In other words, with four children I'm finding it harder to "just wing it!")
Christine opens her book with a title page containing one word: September. It is, according to Christine, the month in which you should start organizing your thoughts for a happy, fun Christmas. (Personally, I appreciated the validation.)
In the second or third week she suggests you start making lists to prepare for the upcoming festivities thinking about four specific things:
- Any renovations, decorations, repairs, or alterations required in your home? Start thinking about this and contact the necessary workmen to make sure you don't have house projects making a gigantic mess of things. (I always think about house projects in the fall and spring. I don't know why but I think this is a good suggestion for her to make to me.)
- Are you going to grow your own hyacinth bulbs? Do this now. (I will never do this.)
- Do you want to lose weight for Christmas? Start now. (I always want to do this.)
- Are you worried about your facial expression (from weight-loss or something)? Start working on facial exercises now. (Truth to be told, I think this is a hilarious thing to point out and I got a good chuckle from it. But as I told you, Christine has thought of everything!!!)
Time marches on as we all know, and all too soon October is here and gone. The planning guide urges you to keep working on weight loss and tending to hyacintch bulbs while also beginning to make gift lists. Other things to think about: outfits for the holiday season (do you have the clothes and accessories on hand that you want to wear to holiday events?) and make hair appointments. (I thought the hair appointment idea was a good one because I always forget to do this until the day I want to get my hair cut. Due to her suggestion, I called and made an appointment for the first part of December.)
Other tips and suggestions scattered throughout this book include things like:
- Clean out your pantry, throwing away items which have expired. This allows you to make room for Christmas goodies. (Also it gives you a clean pantry. I don't know about you but I LOVE an organized and clean pantry!)
- Tend to the yard in the front of your house so that it looks attractive and well-kept during the Christmas season.
- Create a space to hide Christmas presents (and remember where that space is).
Truly, there are only a few pages of tips but they are things that are useful to be reminded of (in my humble estimation). Then, we mentioned, there are pages for you to fill in. She gives you space to keep track of the events you are planning to attend (school/church/business, etc.) with space to write out which outfit you are planning to wear so you can have things clean and pressed in time for the event. There are pages for you to write down appointments (doctor/hair, etc) for yourself and your children. She also includes pages for grocery lists and, of course, presents to buy.
In the section for November she reminds you of specialty items you might wish to buy (i.e., balloons, wrapping paper, etc.) as well as a very handy reminder to schedule babysitters for any adult only events during the Christmas holidays. (I scheduled a babysitter for one event already and also bought scotch tape. GO ME!) This is, again, followed with pages for you to fill in reminding you who you need to send cards and letters to, items that still need to be purchased, etc.
As I mentioned above, I've seen holiday planning books before but this is the most thorough I've come across. I like that it's short and simple. There is not much to read (but what there is is handy to think about) and a lot of space to write in so as to help you keep track of things that are completed and those that still need your attention. Furthermore, Christine's Christmas Countdown is available at a reasonable price making it even more appealing.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER (as selected by Random.org) IS *Carrie*! Congratulations!
Here is my early wish that you have a fun and well-organized holiday season which you enjoy thoroughly!
Many thanks to Mrs. Harrington who sent a copy my direction in order to facilitate this review. I received no additional compensation and my opinions expressed are entirely my own.