The Official Holiday Grand Plan starts on August 31. In order to accommodate the Advent season I am starting earlier, this week, and I hope to have everything in order and ready for a calm and spiritual Advent season.
It is the middle of August and December Holidays and the cold and snow of winter seem a million miles away, but we all know that they are right around the corner. It is also a busy time for moms. School is starting, the summer is ended, there are peaches to preserve and weeds to pull and all those small projects that need doing in between squeezing in a last bit of summer fun or beating off the late summer heat.
Cleaning: The front porch is the space on the agenda this week. While I am outside looking at my front porch I am also looking around the outside of the house and making some notes for the fall maintenance. The cleaning list linked above is a good place to start.
Planning: I use my family planning notebook instead of a separate holiday planner. This is called “List week” because you are setting up your lists. I have the following that I am making:
Gift list – who we are shopping for
Card list – collect and update addresses
Parties – which parties we will host
Menus – menus for the holiday meals we will be hosting and rough menus for the Holiday season.
Decorating – plan for decorating for Advent and Christmas
Baking – plan for the baking needs for gifts and goodies
Devotionals – what devotionals will we be doing during Advent/Christmas and what supplies we will need
Traditions – things we enjoy doing as a family or things we might want to experience this year for the first time.
The main goals of the lists at this point are to decide a rough budget and space out the shopping for the Holidays, make sure that we have things we need ready (no shopping for Advent Candles the day after Thanksgiving), and to just get a handle on things.
I am not printing out additional calendar pages, because my master planner has the calendar in it already. Most lists I make on the computer and then print out lists that I need for my dayrunner or my family planning notebook as needed.
I walked into Fred Meyer’s the other day and tucked away near the cards and the books was the first Christmas display, the American Greetings ornaments I believe. Normally I am rather perturbed by the consumer driven tendency to market Christmas earlier and earlier each year, but this year I looked at it and thought about how dizzying the Advent/Christmas season is. Every year I hope to be more organised and for the last few years I have note of “The Holiday Grand Plan” which starts holiday planning in the last week of August and finishes it in the main planning endeavors by the middle of December.
Normally I forget all about the “Grand Plan” until mid October. This year I actually remembered about it early enough to bump it back two weeks so I can use it for Advent and Christmas. I plan to bump the Grand Plan back to August 17 and “Tweak” it so that I can focus on Advent too.
So young, so small that they had barely begun to know that they were when they died in place of Christ. They died to save the one who would die to save them. The first martyrs, the Holy Innocents, who we remember this day.
There is almost nothing that I enjoy more than being surprised by a thought. And Fulton Sheen can do that on a regular basis it seems. Today was one of those times were I read something and just sat back and said, “Wow.”
Happy Catholic (yes, one of my daily readings) had this quote:
There is anguish for us, twenty centuries later, in thinking of the slain babies and their parents. for the babies the agony was soon over; in the next world they would come to know whom they had died to save and for all eternity would have that glory. For the parents, the pain would have lasted longer; but at death they too must have found that there was a special sense in which God was in their debt, as he had never been indebted to any. They and their children were the only ones who ever agonized in order to save God’s life …(F. J. Sheed, To Know Christ Jesus)
I have often wondered how Mary and Joesph felt as they fled ahead of the slaughter. What did they think? Did they know what was about to happen? These would have been their neighbors, the little babies they had seen growing up, the toddlers their own son had played with. No wonder the “Flight to Egypt” is one of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Even though they escaped the anger and rage of Herod there were those who died in Jesus place. The sorrow when they learned of the massacre must have been horrible.
It is finally here. We have had a wonderful Christmas so far. Christmas eve was our typical crab and fondue feast. Christmas morning we opened the gifts, last night we had dinner with my parents. I hope everyone is enjoying this blessed season.