Now that Christmas is finally over (yes, finally since it started in September this year), you probably want to get all that holiday cheer out of your house. I know I do! Sure, I can be a little Scroogey. I mean, I like watching the Grinch, (but only the first half, when all the Christmas stuff has been cleaned up) but sometimes there’s only so much joy you can grind out of me.
Christmas is great and all, but I like to start the new year with a clean house, not one covered in decorations that need to be put away, and gifts that never found a home, and leftover fruit cake. So here’s the post-Christmas clean up list:
1) Throw out wrapping and packaging – make sure any gift cards or cash are accounted for first! – trash is easy to get rid of because it’s obviously trash. Doing this first will give you more room to manuever and won’t take much brain power.
2) Put away Christmas decorations – throw out any light strands that didn’t work, or ornaments a fat cat stole off the tree and broke behind the table. This happened twice this year at our house. But our cat is a jackass; you might have good cats. Christmas decorations presumably have a home already so you know right where to put them, so again, no-brainer.
3) Find a home for all your fancy new gadgets and gizmos – don’t forget to get rid of an old version if your gift was an upgrade, or if you follow the ultimate uncluttering rule: if one thing enters your house, one must leave. It’s like the Thunderdome, but for your stuff.
4) Put anything you need to return (wrong size or completely wrong for you, whatever the reason) somewhere you won’t forget them along with their gift receipts, if they have them. Your car might be a good place, if you won’t forget about them. Returns often have a time limit, so make sure to get after it!
5) Christmas cards – If someone has written a touching message, or made a card themselves, or it’s particularly funny I usually keep it. However, some are just generic, like “Happy Holidays, from your dentist”. Well these apparently have a home, other than the recycle bin! St. Jude’s recycles old cards into new ones. I just found out about this thanks to Unclutterer! They actually take cards year-round, for all occassions, so I’m going to keep this in mind as I unclutter my scrapbooking box.
Here’s to a clean and organized New Year!
To all my friends, family, readers, and minions,
This year we have made a donation to the World Wildlife Fund for y’alls gift. A hundred years from now there will still be pandas and polar bears in the wild (hopefully). You’re welcome.
That Clever Chick
I think everyone knows that I am a big fan of donating to charity for Christmas. I never have to worry about “Do they already have this?” or ”Is it the right size?”, and I don’t have to provide a gift receipt. Here are the big long rant posts I wrote about it last year:
I have been exhausted of Christmas for months at this point, and I just don’t really have the heart to write about it. I just reread these posts from last year, and they made me laugh, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. I am pretty damn funny. I also noticed that I have a terrible crick in my neck again this year, and it’s actually been plagueing me for days. I wonder if there’s some correlation with the holidays?
My goal for the miniscule time off I have is to put away the Halloween decorations, and just let myself get better. I have been hounded by colds, sore muscles, and a stiff neck, and it is severely impeding my crafting/sleeping/work/video game time. The only thing that isn’t suffering is my Netflix instant queue.
Anyway, Merry Freaking Christmas. If you need me I’ll be on my couch with a box of wine and some gingerbread men.
I finally got my act together for one Christmas Craft. I’ve had these jar lids sitting around for awhile with the idea of making them into ornaments.
I spray painted them with a matte primer to start with. It doesn’t really matter that it’s grey instead of white, and I was out of white.
Before painting them, I used a hammer and nail to punch a hole to hang them up. This worked, but resulted in a lot of swearing on my part, like most projects that involve tools.
I painted them all blue, let them dry thoroughly, then painted them blue on the other side and let them dry again. I decided this project would be a great way to use up some random odds and ends of crafting supplies, like beads and sequins. I used some Elmer’s clear glue to draw a Christmas tree on this one, and wreaths on others. You could use glitter or buttons also, and this would be a great craft for kids.
Fill in the tree with glue.
And cram it with sequins or glitter. I used a little star bead at the top for that finishing touch.
Here are some wreath ornaments also:
On the inside you can glue all kinds of cool stuff. This is a great way to reuse Christmas cards, tiny toys, or even broken ornaments. Be creative! As long as it’s sparkley it counts as an ornament.
Our fridge, Horatio, tries his best, but he’s so full of wine right now I’m surprised he even got this close to spelling this right. (Oh who am I kidding. I put that on the fridge. I saw it immediately, and I just thought it was funny so I left it. I was only a little buzzed at the time”.
I’ve decided the reason we all skip over Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas is that there’s no Thanksgiving music. We all jump straight to Bing Crosby. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and good luck to anyone braving the black Friday sales. Stay hydrated, and wear close-toed shoes.
So after my constant bitching about Christmas, and stress, and family drama, I’m sure you’re all wondering how everything turned out. Well, here’s how it went down. Thursday, even though family arrival was imminent the following day, I laid down, read a book, and took a nap. Hubby didn’t get home until after midnight, and I cleaned and wrapped presents from around 11pm to 3am, or so.
I woke up around 9am, cleaned some more, and fortunately, most of the family groupd were at least an hour later than planned. This gave me time to drink way too much coffee, and run around the house, shrieking obscenities at the animals for not keeping their fur to themselves. By the time my folks arrived, the place was decent, and even smelled ok, but mostly because it smelled like coffee. I think it was exuding from my pores at this point.
Cars were unloaded, and random accumulations of things were brought in. (Oh, I forgot to mention I had to re-clean my craft room, because of course it is a hot mess, and it was going to be used for an additional guest room). My Gram in Dallas sent two huge tubs of yarn with Mommy Dearest for me and my sis Beans to divide between us. This resulted in Beans taking the only 6 rolls of yarn that matched each other, and leaving me with all the random stuff (which is fine. I’m going to make stuffed animals out of it, and Beans will be jealous!).
So fast-forward to the best part of all: gifts. This part of the story starts a few weeks ago. Hubby is a HUGE Star Wars fan, and has been his entire life. He has been wanting an FX light saber for as long as I’ve known him, and this year the Star Wars website was having a huge cyber-Monday sale, so I broke down and bought it. Knowing this probably suspicious-looking package would be arriving at the house, I took the precaution of not allowing Hubby to check the mail (our mail has an area for packages, but little did I know how massive this package would be).
I was at work, on the phone with Hubby as he arrived home one day. We were chatting, when he suddenly said “UH OH!” in very worried tones. I, of course, had no idea what was going on, and assumed it was something actually bad.
Hubby: ”There’s a package on the porch! It’s all long and skinny.”
Me: “Oh crap! Don’t look at it!”
Hubby: “It’s too late! My brain already put something inside it!”
Me: “Just put it in my craft room and don’t look at it (praying it doesn’t say STAR WARS.COM on the side in huge letters). Look, I don’t want you to get your hopes up. It’s just a poster (thinking this is a stroke of genius lie).”
Hubby: “This box is kind of bog for a poster”
Me: “Uhh, it’s a big poster. That’s why I had to order it online”
Hubby: “You’re a terrible liar”
When I got home, I saw the box was completely blank on the outside, thankfully, but it about arm-pit height, which made it damned hard for my poster explanation to be plausible. I opened the box to check, and yes the glorious light saber was in there.
Me: “Yeah, it’s what I thought it was. I don’t know why they used such a big box”.
Hubby: “I’m dashed.” (seemingly disappointed).
Over the next week or so, Hubby and I went back and forth about it, and I kept telling him a lightsaber was too expensive, and he kept telling me I was a terrible liar. The Wednesday before Christmas, I happened upon a Star Wars poster he didn’t have, and then the idea came to life. When I got home, I took the light saber out of the humongo-box, wrapped it separately, and hid it in my closet. I put the cheap, tiny poster (which he’ll like anyway), into humngo-box, and wrapped it.
The whole family opened all of their presents, then I let Hubby open the “big” present. When he opened it, he tried so hard not to look disappointed. He smiled, unrolled the poster, and told me it was cool, and said thank you. His face turned a bit pink, and he gave me a brave smile.
We started clearing up the mess, and I looked around and said “Beans, I think I forgot one of your presents. Let me go check” (I worked this out as a signal ahead of time, so she wouldn’t be disappointed. Don’t worry I wouldn’t do that to my only sister!). When I came back I had the wrapped light saber behind me, and I said “Beans, I couldn’t find anything for you, but this one has Hubby’s name on it. Weird”. When I handed the long, skinny box to him, he turned bright pink, and started laughing. Mommy Dearest took a bunch of pictures that I hope to add soon.
Hubby was so excited! When he opened the paper, he tore it open to reveal the Star Wars logo. I was surprised how slowly he opened it, maybe shy to get too excited after his earlier disappointment. When he finally got it open, he was bright pink, laughing and choked up all at once. I totally tricked him!!!
He loved his light saber so much he kept turning lights off in the house and turning it on so everyone could see it. He did that a couple times while I was in the kitchen, and I had to yell “Turn the lights back on! There are things on fire in here!!”
That made it the best Christmas ever. I made my Hubby super happy, but also tricked him!! By the way, his other gifts were socks, underwear, and a snuggi I got for free, so the light saber was definitely the best thing ever. I even got him the right one, and we got a free Princess Leia pen with it! That is win, win, win.
I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing holiday, whatever you celebrate. Merry Christmas from your favorite Clever Chick!
As I write this, it is December 23rd. People will be here for Christmas in T minus18 hours, and I’m not doing anything about it. Looking around, there’s the basic clutter like always, but the whole place needs to be swept, mopped, vacuumed, straightened, washed, dried, and organized. I want the visiting family to be comfortable and have a good time, but I am Christmas-ed out.
I didn’t buy a tree, and I don’t plan to, even though I saw them for $10 at the store. We didn’t put any lights up outside. I have a wreath on the front door, but there are still skulls on the mantel from Halloween.
All my neighbors have lights up, some to the point of ridiculousness. TONS of my friends, even the single ones, have been mailing me Christmas cards. I just don’t know what to think about all this. Hubby and I have the most thoughtful, caring friends in the world, who have sent us gifts I didn’t expect, but completely love. I generally love Christmas, but for some reason this year I just want it all to be over.
Every year the Christmas season starts earlier. Right after Halloween now, stores have all the Christmas stuff up. Wait guys, there’s still Thanksgiving, remember? But no, they want to work us into a buying frenzy NOW, so we all feel like we’re getting a jump on it. When we start stressing and freaking out so early, it’s no wonder I’m sick of Christmas by the time it gets here. I know I’m not the only one. I heard someone at the store today on her cell phone say “I’m so over Christmas”, and it’s sad, because it should be about spending time with family, instead of dragging my ass all over the city looking for gifts for people. This is the one time of year we are all pretty likely to have coinciding time off. Let’s use it to chat, drink beer or cocoa, and watch movies or sit by a fire.
I have no idea what anyone owns, wants, or needs. I barely remember what I already own. I would almost rather hand out cash at Christmas because I know for sure it would get used. I love giving handmade gifts, but afghans take forever to make, and guys don’t generally wear jewelry, so it’s not a perfect solution. Plus, that’s like handing someone a baby of mine. How do I know they’re going to care for it properly?
I hate what Christmas has become; not just the complete and overwhelming commercialization, but the constant mental battle of “Will this be adequate for what that person is likely to get me? Is this an equal gift among the siblings/spouses/parents/etc? What about this person? I don’t like them, but they’ll be there and I haaaaavvee to get them something.” It makes me want to go to Europe so no one ever has to buy me anything ever again, and vice-versa.
Right now, I need to go lay down with a heating pad on my neck, because I woke up with a horrific crick in it which is making me hold my head funny, so it’s making the other side hurt too. To any of you who maybe coming over tomorrow: if the house isn’t clean, at least it will smell good, because I’ll be making a ham. If you want ham, you will keep your mouth shut about any mess. That’s right, I’m holding the ham hostage to guarantee good behavior!
All you people are probably up-to-date on the current saga of my life, including the face that my computer has a virus and all my wonderful photos are unreachable, and that I have several animals around my house. Those two facts are why this post is being written today. I really love the Animal Trustees of Austin, and I will tell you why.
If you are unaware, the Animal Trustees is a low cost spay/neuter service, as well as a clinic for basic animal services (like shots and flea prevention, not medical issues where you’d need a vet). I’m always surprised at the number of people I know who have never even heard of this place. I’m not sure how I heard of it to begin with, but they have saved me tons of money over the years.
That’s my dear puppy, Flapjack. Recently, we had to take him to the Animal Trustees for the following items: heart worm test, 6 months of heart worm medication, 6 months of flea prevention, and nail trim. All of this cost about $130. That sounds like a lot, but my vet would have cost at least $220, at the least. The heart worm test is a one-time deal, and my sweet baby came back clean! Hooray! Taking that into account, since the other expenses are over 6 months, it’s about $18 per month to have my dog, medically. We’re not talking about food or anything. It would be $30 per month if I went to my vet for the basics.
We also got Flapjack and our cat Mushroom fixed there, and they did a wonderful job. You can tell they really care about all the animals, and everyone I’ve talked to has been extremely knowledgeable.
There are 2 separate sections: the wellness clinic, and the spay/neuter clinic. Their website has more details about what they offer, and when to show up. They don’t schedule appointments, so you have to show up, with your animal, ready to wait. Cats MUST be in crates, or they have cardboard carriers for $5. Seriously though, get a cat carrier at the thrift store. I see them all the time. Bleach the hell out of it before you put your pet into it, and I would throw away any bedding in it, just to be on the safe side, but otherwise there should be no worries.
I don’t know what else to write, that isn’t already written more articulately on their site. They are located off I-35 North and Cameron Road, and parking is limited, so try to get there early, and bring the smallest vehicle you own. Also bring a book or something to entertain yourself, because you may have to wait for awhile.
This place provides low cost spay and neuter services partly funded by donations, and with the goal of ending overpopulation of animals. Donating to this place would be a wonderful Christmas gift for the animal lover on your gift list. It’s way better than another ceramic kitten figurine, and you don’t have to wrap it. Yay for anti-shopping!!