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Insight into Christmas, the Holidays and the World of Santa Claus

“Getting a Head Start on the Holidays!” – Secret #1 – Continued: Organizing and Planning Ahead.

posted by SantaTim On September - 10 - 2014 Comments Off on “Getting a Head Start on the Holidays!” – Secret #1 – Continued: Organizing and Planning Ahead.

This is a continuation on “Getting a Head Start on the Holidays,”  with ways to help you enjoy more of the Christmas and Holiday Season.  Today we continue with part two of Secret #1:  – Organizing and Planning Ahead.

In the first part of “Organizing and Planning Ahead,” we went over creating a Calendar with a list of events and activities that you and/or your family would like to or need to consider for the coming holiday season.

Once you have your basic calendar and a list of events and activities, you need to look at each item and event and decide if there are smaller tasks that need to be done in order to prepare for that event.

For example, You may have listed sending out Christmas Cards and Letters.  To some folks this is a monumental task.  But what if we break it down into smaller tasks.

If you like to send relatives and friends a small letter re-capping your activities this past year, start writing it now.  Write a little each day and in a few days, you will be almost finished.  Then all you have to do is update it prior to sending it out.

The same goes for putting together the address list for sending out those cards and letters. Start with last years list of cards you sent out.  Add to that the names of new friends and maybe those folks who sent you cards last year.  Do some today and the rest next week.  Then review it a week later.  This will also give you a count on how many cards to order, and how much postage to buy.

And speaking of postage, add to your Calendar a note to purchase your stamps in Late October or early November.

Now to help you organizer you list a little better, I have put together a list, broken down by month, with tasks and activities that you may want to consider and add to your master plan.

SEPTEMBER:

  • First things first. Create your Master Calendar for the Holiday Season.  Include all personal and family activities, school & religious events, business trips, family trips, concerts, socials, annual parties, etc.  Have everyone in the family give their input.  Consider all of the activities that you are planning or that you don’t want to miss.
  • Make a list of all the tasks and projects you want to complete for the Holiday Season.  (Use this outline for ideas and suggestions)
  • Next, schedule all of the activities, plus your list of tasks and projects by putting them on your Master Calendar.
  • Pull out your old decorations and lights.  Decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  Have a yard sale, or donate to your favorite charity, the things you don’t want.   Don’t go overboard, Remember, most pre-1950 toys and decorations are now valuable collectables.
  • Make a list of the decorations you would like to add this year.  Then when you are out and about, you will know what you need to purchase.
  • Setup a Holiday gift idea file.  Use a separate page or folder for each person on your list.
  • Start clipping catalog pages, pictures from magazines, and Sunday newspaper inserts.
  • Update your holiday card mailing list. Decide what kind of and how many cards you’ll want this year.
  • If you include an annual letter with your Holiday cards, start writing it now while things that have happened this year are still fresh in your mind. Simply add to or edit the letter each month until it’s time to print and mail.
  • Depending on where you will be spending the holidays, start working on the detailed arrangements.  If it’s at home, set up your menu and decoration plans.  Double-check school, work and social schedules that may conflict with your travel plans.
  • If you are planning to travel, you should be searching now for travel bargains on airfare, hotels, etc.  The longer you wait, the higher the prices will be as the holidays approach.  If you are planning on using a personal vehicle, schedule any maintenance prior to your travel.  Or better yet, think about renting a vehicle.  Most rental companies have weekly rates and you are covered if anything breaks down.  If you are driving to an unknown location or place that is new to you, check the internet or the auto club for maps and directions.
  • Start ordering gifts, especially ones that require special touches or that may be going overseas.
  • Start buying a few gift “$” cards each month.  Chose popular department and specialty stores, your friends and family shop at.  Gift cards are now a very popular form of giving, as they eliminate awkward situation of giving the wrong gift.  You can now find display racks at Kroger and other stores with twenty to fifty or more different cards for your favorite stores, restaurants, etc.  Check and make sure the gift cards have no expiration dates and no hidden monthly fees.  Note: Those receiving gift cards will get an added bonus when taking advantage of after Christmas Sales!
  • If you like crafts or making your own decorations, or not, now is the time to start shopping for new holiday decorations.  A few shops, such as Michaels and Jo-Anne’s, will have pre-season displays and possibly sales on decorations, candles, lights, etc.
  • September is also a great month to start working on your Holiday Diet. (Santa’s are exempt from this!)

OCTOBER:

  • Scheduled a day or days in November and December to bake cookies, make fudge, wrap presents and deliver gifts.  If Halloween is also a busy time for you, make sure you have these events, tasks and activities on the Master Calendar, too!
  • Make out a list of new things you would like to do this Holiday Season, i.e., attend a holiday concert; see a live performance of the ‘Nutcracker,’ visit a theme park or Holiday Village.  See if they can be added to your Master Calendar.
  • Either make your holiday labels now or start addressing envelopes.  If you do a small batch each week, starting now, you’ll be done before you know it.
  • Start checking local Department Stores for holiday decorations and items.  The best selections are always available sometime in October, while everyone else is thinking of Halloween.
  • Review your calendar again, for changes or revisions.  Now is a good time to schedule a few breaks, in November and December, especially if your calendar is getting full.  Re-check school, church or other calendars for events that may have changed.  Make all of your November and December appointments for haircuts, beauty salon, etc., now before all the good times are booked! Don’t forget your pets grooming too!  Add a few appointments in December with yourself.  These are buffer times when you can relax, get a massage, go to the movies, and reduce the stress.   Plan for some quality family time, too!
  • Order your holiday cards if you have them professionally printed.  Get your holiday picture taken if you include a family photo with your cards. ( Note: Many local photo studios have special packages for holiday family Portraits, usually in October or November.  Some even have photos with Santa!)
  • Get out your recipes now and plan your holiday menus.  Decide on your favorites. Do an inventory of the ingredients in your cupboards and then stock up when you catch a good sale.
  • The Holidays are a tasty time, filled with all kinds of great food. Instead of trying to make it all, pre-order special baked goods, tamales and any special items that you prefer not to make.  (Save yourself some time.  If a local bakery can make a cake or cookies just as good as or better than you, why not order theirs.  Your guests and family will applaud you.)
  • Get a Flu Shot.  If you’re a senior or someone who is very active, a flu shot can help you keep your immune system in shape.  Be Healthy.
  • Purchase Holiday stamps for the cards, labels for the computer, and holiday pocket cards for cash gifts.   (NOTE:  In Mid-October, the U.S. Postal service will issue a new set of four Holiday themed stamps.  Other Holiday stamps that might be available in October usually include a Christian themed stamp, a Chanukah stamp, and a Kwanzaa stamp.)

NOVEMBER:

  • Complete any catalog or online holiday ordering now before the November rush.
  • Decide now, what gifts you would like to receive.  Tired of getting something you really didn’t want or need?  Afraid you won’t have an answer when someone asks you what you want.  Why not be bold this year.  Make a list you can give to those you exchanged gifts with.  Have a variety of gifts in different price ranges to fit everyone’s wallet.  Then when someone asks that dreaded question, you can present them with your very special list.
  • Time to get your holiday decorations ready.  Decide what you are going to use and where you will be putting these and the new items you bought in September.
  • Review your calendar again, for changes or revisions.
  • Shop for any food staples or kitchen supplies you need before November 15th.   Then all you need to do is your regular weekly shopping or shopping for fresh items
  • Address the rest of holiday cards before Thanksgiving.
  • Clean the House.  Make this a family activity with everyone pitching in.  If you want to do something special, schedule a house cleaning company or maid service to clean your home a few days before Thanksgiving or one day in December.  You may also want to schedule a cleaning after the holidays.
  • Order any special gift certificates you want to give.
  • Proofread your holiday letter one last time.  Print and insert copies into cards and your pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes, ready to mail.
  • Decorate your home.  You decide whether to do this before Thanksgiving or after.
  • Double check your gift lists and wrap all presents.
  • Send all of your overseas gifts before Thanksgiving.

DECEMBER:

  • Mail your U.S. cards, letters and gifts on December 1st.  Especially packages going overseas.
  • Double check your calendar for parties and events.
  • Bake, wrap and deliver gifts and greetings to friends and those who cannot visit you.

If all goes as planned, you can now do something special to de-stress.  Enjoy your pre-scheduled Holiday massage or day at the Salon.

And finally…. pat yourself on the back for actually getting ahead this year!  Now you can relax and fully enjoy all of  your Holiday events and time with your friends and family.

_______________________

Tomorrow – Secret #2 Eliminating Un-Necessary Tasks

 

“Getting a Head Start on the Holidays!” – Secret #2: “Eliminating the Un-Necessary”

posted by SantaTim On September - 10 - 2014 Comments Off on “Getting a Head Start on the Holidays!” – Secret #2: “Eliminating the Un-Necessary”

Today we move onto Secret #2  ” Eliminating the Un-Nesessary”

Secret #1 covered “Organizing and Planning Ahead.”  We went over creating a Calendar with a list of events and activities that you and/or your family would like to or need to consider for the coming holiday season.  And then you had a chance to work with a full calendar of proposed events and projects that you could adapt to your individual needs.

How did your list come out?  Does it look like you have everything?   Often we will forget some items and that is OK.  Just be comfortable that this is a working Calendar and a good planner is always a bit flexible with their plans.

But are you worried that there is still too much to do?  Part of planning is breaking large tasks down into smaller tasks that you can more easily accomplish.  And when the tasks are added up, you have accomplished your larger goal.

Most folks, once they completed the calendar and lists, still have worries that there is too much to do.  Well, they may be  right.  Often, in addition to your regular work, school, or other daily and weekly responsibilities, you have others who want to pile more on your lists.  Some of them are the things you want to do or love to do.

Then there are the required events and tasks that family, relatives, and friends, give you.  Like invitations to parties or school plays, or the required family visits to relatives, “Oh you just have to visit second cousin Louise,” (who just happens to live three hours away!)

Somewhere along the way, you may need to draw the line and start making decisions on what activities you can accomplish and what you must delete.

Negotiating

Trading off

 

Categories: Uncategorized

“Getting a Head Start on the Holidays!” – Secret #1 – Organize & Plan Ahead.

posted by SantaTim On September - 10 - 2014 1 COMMENT

Vacations are  over.  So no more procrastinating. If you plan to get a jump on the  Holiday Season you must start now!  The following schedule is for those  who want to start holiday preparations today!

Do the Winter Holidays stress you out?

Do you get bummed out at Christmas?

And why, so early in the year am I talking about Christmas! Well as you can guess from this Blog Site, I am Santa Claus and deeply involved in Christmas.

But more importantly, it is because I want to help more people enjoy the Holidays! So I want to share with you, “Three Secrets to enjoying the Holiday Season!”

• Secret #1 – Organize & Plan Ahead.

• Secret #2 – Eliminate Unnecessary Tasks.

• Secret #3 – Schedule Personal Time.

Over the next few days I will tell you of the ways you can use these secrets.

Now that Labor Day has passed, and we just started sending the kids back to school, it’s a great time to start planning for all of the Winter Holidays.

To some folks, yes, it might be too early to start thinking about Christmas Decorating and buying Gifts, But to others, now is the perfect time to start planning and organizing for the holidays. And that is where my three secrets come in.

As someone who heavily promotes and celebrates the magic and traditions of Christmas and Santa Claus, I have seen both sides of the Christmas tree. I will guess that you have too!

Do you know a family that seems to have fun every day of the Holiday Season? Why is it they seem to have more fun? Or get to participate in more Holiday activities?

And we all have known or met folks who have lost the joy and love of Christmas. They complain about the hectic, rush-rush of daily life. Everything is too stressful. Hectic schedules leave them little time for family and fun. There is too much to do, and not enough time.

Which side of the Christmas tree are you on? Totally happy? Or worried and stressed? Maybe you are in between.

There are ways to enjoy the Holiday Season. Ways to do everything you want. And, at the same time, reduce the stress, anxiety, and the depression that often accompanies this joyous time of the year.

Here is Secret #1 – Organize & Plan Ahead.

Much of the success in surviving the Holidays is being organized and planning ahead. For most of the year we have our regular daily and weekly routines. And when the Holidays arrive, additional tasks, events and commitments get piled on top. The result being, we get overloaded.

So organizing your schedule, or for some re-organizing your already developed schedule , is the first Secret. Here are a few steps to help you:

• Create a Master Calendar for the Holiday Season. Include all personal and family activities, school & religious events, business trips, family trips, concerts, socials, annual parties, etc.

Planning for the Winter Holidays is much like planning for a Vacation. And why shouldn’t we enjoy the Holidays just like we enjoy our Vacations!

Have everyone in the family give their input. Consider all of the activities that you are planning or that you don’t want to miss. Be flexible on this as you may have conflicts and will have to decide which events take precedence over others

• Make a list of all the tasks and projects you want to complete for the Holiday Season.

If you can, try to pencil in times on your schedule when you could work on or completed the tasks. Again, you need to be flexible, as there will be conflicts and you may find there is no real time to accomplish that task. But don’t throw the task or project out. Put it on a separate wish list. Who knows you may find a way to add it back in later.

• Scheduled Days to Bake Wrap and Deliver. Schedule a day or days in November and December to bake cookies, make fudge, wrap presents and deliver gifts. If Halloween is also a busy time for you, make sure you have these events, tasks and activities on the Master Calendar, too!

• Setup a Holiday gift idea file. Use a separate page or folder for each person on your list.

• Update your holiday card mailing list. Decide what kind of and how many cards you’ll want this year.

• Make your travel arrangements. Depending on where you will be spending the holidays, start working on the detailed arrangements. If it’s at home, set up your menu and decoration plans. Double-check school, work and social schedules that may conflict with your travel plans.

If you are planning to travel, you should be searching now for travel bargains on airfare, hotels, etc. The longer you wait, the higher the prices will be as the holidays approach. If you are planning on using a personal vehicle, schedule any maintenance prior to your travel. Or better yet, think about renting a vehicle. Most rental companies have weekly rates and you are covered if anything breaks down. If you are driving to an unknown location or place that is new to you, check the internet or the auto club for maps and directions.

Tomorrow, Part II of  “Organizing and Planning Ahead”

NOTE: For those who cannot wait until tomorrow or want to jump in quickly, and “Get a Head Start on the Holidays,” I invite you to go directly to my special web site: http://www.GetaHeadStart.info

 

Santa Emeritus

posted by SantaTim On August - 21 - 2014 Comments Off on Santa Emeritus

“What do you do with a General,

when he stops being a General?

What do you do when a General Retires?”

  From the movie "White Christmas", when Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) travels to New York to appear on the Ed Harrison Show and asks all the troops to give up their Christmas and travel to New England to visit their General (Dean Jaggar)

When it is time to step down?  What do you do with a Santa when it is time for him to retire?

I would like to propose a special title, “Santa Emeritus!”

I have been teaching Santas and Mrs. Claus since the summer of 2003, nearly 3000 have attended the Schools.  In all, I have visited over a forty cities across the U.S. , plus Canada, and Europe.  Plus, in addition to the schools, many area Santas and wives have join the students of my school on Saturday evenings for casual dinners and some networking.  It truly is a wonderful experience.

And in doing all of this I have had the opportunity to meet Santas and Mrs. Claus from all walks of life.  They come from all backgrounds and occupations and whether they worked in a Mall, did private parties or were just a volunteer Santa or Mrs. Claus, they all shared the same mission, bringing joy to children.

One of the things I have also noticed in the past few years, is more Santas using walkers and in some cases wheel chairs or power scooters to get around.  I know for some this is only temporary and normally the children never see this.

However, there are other Santas who must depend on these aids everyday, and everywhere they go.  And I am concerned about them and what others might think.  Not only about their plans to work as Santa, but also what will children think when they see Santa with a walker or confined to a wheel chair.  And what do the parents think?

Maybe my concern is because I am getting older and wonder if I will be using an aid one day.  Or, possibly it is because my mother and other relatives do so.   In any case, it has led me to think about the future.

Of the Santas I have met over the years, in scooters and walkers, I realized that although they had the look and spirit of Santa, they also had some serious physical limitations.

First I worried about their health and the many difficulties that they must encounter.  As I said, my mother is in a walker and I also have many friends who due to their age or other situations have had to resort to medical aids to get around.   That’s one of the problems we encounter as we get older, we find we have more limitations and we often see our friends encountering limitations, too!

I asked one of the Santas, “What do you tell the children when they ask about your wheel chair?”  His reply was, “I tell them that on Christmas Eve the Magic of Christmas comes over me and miraculously I can walk and go up and down chimneys and do all of the work necessary to deliver the presents to you and children all over the world.”

Now I love the creativity of Santas who come up with clever answers to children’s questions.  And I never like to tell a Santa that his story is wrong or out of place.  But in this case, I have to make a stand.
You cannot tell a child that the magic comes on Christmas Eve and you don’t need the walker or mechanical aid that night.  They are going to want to know if you can cure their Grandparents or a sick relative.   Santa does not have that kind of magic.  His magic is toys and deliveries, not instant healing!

I think that when a Santa reaches the point of being physically limited, he should seriously consider stepping down from being Santa.  Oh, I am not saying that he has to give up the look and the wonder of being Santa, but he needs to make some adjustments or changes.

To help all Santas currently in this position and for those of us who may one day be in the same situation, I am proposing the title of, “Santa Emeritus.”

Simply it means “one retired from professional life, but permitted to retain forever, as an honorary title, the position of the last office held, Santa.”

As a Santa Emeritus, a Santa could easily explain a walker, wheel chair or electric scooter, and say that he has retired from the regular work of supervising the elves and delivering the toys and has now turned that over to a new Santa.  He might say that his son is the new Santa.

Maybe he needs to tell the children something else.  Why not explain that like many other people who get old, Father Time finally got to him.  He can explain that he’s retired from delivering toys, and that his Son, or brother, is the new Santa.   He could say that his Brother, ‘Fred’” is the new Santa, telling the children the movie was about he and his brother.  Children could easily relate to that as they had seen the movie.

There have been plenty of movies and television shows that have used this scenario where Santa’s Son or Daughter takes over the family business.   Other scenarios have also had Santa’s wife and daughter help with the deliveries.   Why even Tim Allen took over when Santa fell off the roof!

Now here is the nice part.   After you have told the children that you have turned the toy delivery over to the new Santa, you can add, “But you know, I still get to check on who is naughty and who is nice, and report back to the new Santa for his record keeping.”  I am sure that each Santa Emeritus will come up with his own explanation.

I know there are many Santas who quietly retire from the position of Santa.  Once they no longer work at the mall or once some health situation invades their lives, they decide to put their red suit away.  But wouldn’t it nice if they could still meet children and talk with them and encourage them to be good?

No matter what our status is in life, there will come a time when we must accept change.  Whether it is our health, an act of nature, or an act of God, there will be changes.   And we need to be able to accept them and move on.

But isn’t it nice, and wouldn’t it be wonderful, that no matter what your situation or your limitations, you could continue to enjoy bringing joy to children and families, as “Santa Emeritus!”


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