LABOR_DAY We went up to #1 daughter’s place yesterday. She has a charming house and has decorated it beautifully, and she made us a cookout feast of burgers, hot dogs, Jamaican Jerk Chicken Nachos, homemade salsa, and fresh berries. Today, she came down here and #1 son also joined us. On our menu: Teriyaki Chicken, rice, tomato salad, key lime pie, and Elegant Almond Bars, a recipe from a cookbook I’m reviewing. The recipe is not new and it uses a mix, so it might not have been the best choice for testing before the review, but I had the ingredients (except for that mix) on hand, so we’re trying it out.

We enjoyed lunch and now #1 daughter has gone home to clean up and get ready for the week ahead and the menfolks have fallen asleep with a post-apocalypse movie playing on Netflix.

I’m not much for apocalyptic thinking.

It is time to begin the HGP, and that means cleaning the porch and making Christmas lists — except that this year there is a new plan. The HGP has been upgraded to the HHP. 

This week is therefore not Porch Week, but Paper Week.

Here’s the list:

  • Declutter the home office.
  • Set up a filing system.
  • Make a Christmas planning notebook.
  • Establish a budget for the holidays.
  • Create a Christmas gift list.
  • Plan to set money aside for the holidays.
  • Schedule planning time, 15 minutes three times a week.
  • Think about what Christmas means to you.

Christmas for me is about a celebration of the birth of Christ, my family, music, and the feast of Christmas. It may be the only time my whole family gathers in the course of a year, it’s a time to set work aside and celebrate, and a time to enjoy the traditions, from music to food to decorations to movies, that we keep special for this time of year.

One rule of thumb is to set aside 1.5% of your income for Christmas, but I think we probably spend $1,000 if we count all the holidays, gifts, and giving we do during the season. This doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, but it makes sense to spread it out a bit, so I like to shop early.

I usually make handmade gifts. I think now that all our kids are grown up the gifts are not as important, but I could be wrong.