By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Adlen Robinson: Christmas is just around the corner
Christmas gifts

The official countdown to Christmas Day has begun! Only 21 days until the big day. Are you a lover of Christmas who embraces all things Christmas or are you someone who loves the meaning of Christmas, but gets completely stressed out with all of the things that go along with the season? If you are the latter, get ready to feel calm and ready for the next few weeks.

 If you want to enjoy this holiday season, listen up. First and foremost, go ahead and get out your calendar and a notepad. Just like we did for the month of November when we planned your perfect Thanksgiving Day, let’s plan for this month.

Start with your gift list. Using your trusty notebook, use one page per person you are buying/making gifts for. Don’t miss my column next Wednesday when I talk about creative gift giving. 

For now, go ahead and list gifts you are planning on getting for each person in your life. If possible, try to purchase these as soon as possible. Procrastinating equals stress. The sooner you cross these purchases off of your list, the more at ease you will be as you approach the big day.

Next, think about any parties or gatherings you plan on hosting or attending. Go ahead and take a few minutes to pen down the menu. While you are at it. Even though you want your party to be special, take help from others. Give your friends a recipe you want them to bring, or ask them to bring something store-bought. If dessert is not your thing, pick something up at a bakery or ask one of your guests to bring something.

While you are jotting things down, this is the perfect time to make a list (I know, me and my lists) of activities you hope to do during the month of December. 

Do you plan on attending any Christmas plays or concerts? Write them down along with the dates and times. 

Do you have friends or family you hope to have over or meet somewhere for lunch or dinner? Write it down now and make some calls to secure the dates. 

Do you want to take the kids or grandchildren ice skating? Plan now.

Do you have volunteer activities you hope to do during the month, or charities you want to donate to? This is the perfect time to make a note of it and get the dates on your calendar. 

Speaking of donating, if you have young children or grandchildren, encourage them to go through their toys and select some to donate to a local charity. This is also a great time to take your children to the store to purchase some new toys for children who are less fortunate. There are so many charities in our own community who do an excellent job in this department.

Hopefully your house is already decorated, but if not, there is still plenty of time. 

Do you want to know a tip for making decorating a snap and putting things away even easier? Here it is: Purchase plastic bins with lids and label them. 

For example, when you decorate the mantel, label a plastic bin as such and when you go to put away the mantel decorations, place them all in the bin. Next year, when you go to decorate the mantel, guess what? You will be able to decorate that mantel in a snap. Boom.  

I have lots of Christmas bins with labels such as, dining room decorations, kitchen decorations, mantel décor, Santa ornaments for my Santa tree, etc. This saves so much time when decorating and then of course, when putting things away.

One more thing, try to relax. This should be a season for giving and remembering the reason for the season. Don’t let stress get in the way of enjoying your loved ones and having a good time. 

Be sure to check out my Friday food column for some yummy appetizer recipes and some tips for throwing the best holiday party ever. 

South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at