WFMW-Getting the Most from the Holidays

*Updated with Winners!*

You won a holiday plate from Molly Caroline Designs!

I love this time of year: the weather, the food, the celebrations!  I don't love the busyness, the full calendar, the rush and the crowds. 
With two birthdays and an anniversary falling during Christmas week, I've learned how to revel in what's important (my family) and let go what's not (my birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas paper).  

7 Tips for savoring the simplicity:

1. Plan ahead: I have my gift list bought before December begins. I buy a little throughout the year for extended family members and I depend on the items I buy after Christmas every year for small gifts (teachers, friends, Sunday School teachers, etc). I also make many of my gifts. (Every Friday in November, I'll be sharing some homemade gift ideas!)

2. Create a budget: Make your list and check it twice! If you commit to buy only three gifts for your children, stick to it. Don't impulse buy and don't use your credit card.

3. Plan birthdays/anniversary parties at the beginning of the month. 

4. Be the Master of the calendar, not the slave: commit to things that you will enjoy! It's okay to say No.

5. Involve your kids in the decorating, wrapping, gift-making, and cleaning up of the aftermath. If there's a "kid's table" during holiday dinners, use brown paper as a table cloth, so they can draw place settings or turkeys. Use fun holiday kid-friendly plates too!

6. If your hosting a big family meal, it's okay to ask guests to help out. Delegate side dishes and desserts to willing guests. Don't try to do it all by yourself.

7.  Be reflective with your family. Before you eat Thanksgiving dinner, share why you're thankful. At Christmas, remember what the day truly celebrates.

I'm happy to announce that Molly Caroline Designs is offering a special giveaway to TWO linkers in today's carnival! She makes darling, DARLING custom shirts, stationary and a ton of other items in her Etsy store. Today, to help you celebrate the upcoming holidays with your kids, she's giving away TWO custom holiday children's plates, like these:

Aren't they cute? If you order a plate, make sure you say We are THAT family sent you and you'll get FREE SHIPPING (mention it in the Etsy Conversation).

So, what works for you during the holidays?

Thank you for joining me for WFMW! {You can read the guidelines here.}

Have a Works-For-Me Wednesday tip you'd like to share? I'd love for you to join us! Please note that the links will close at 9 pm CST tonight, in order to keep away the spammers!

Was your link deleted? Click here.

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  1. The Diaper Diaries (Holiday Cards + Giveaway!!)
  2. Smockity Frocks - Thanksgiving 101
  3. It Feels Like Chaos (display cards)
  4. Lisa@ Elbows (Bread Variations)
  5. Amy @ Finer Things (Bake Early Bake Often)
  6. Cardamoms Pod (De - Stress Your Kids)
  7. The Ultimate BOYS SPY PARTY! @ MooreMinutes
  8. Bake at 350 {Shipping COOKIES and twitter}
  9. mom Tried It (Holiday Place mats)
  10. Make a Christmas Planner for EASY HOLIDAYS!
  11. Julie From Inmates (Easy holiday fudge recipe)
  12. This Side of Eternity (Blastoff!!!)
  13. Frugal Girls! {Seasoned Potato Wedges Recipe!!}
  14. Cents to Get Debt Free (Freezer Tips)
  15. HoosierHomemade (Baking Day~Prep)
  16. Erin @ Closing Time (holiday expectations)
  17. Penny Raine ~ Holiday Preparations
  18. Beginning Meet End (Planning for Christmas 2010)
  19. rachel @ springpad (finger food - with recipes!)
  20. Katies World (Baked Apples)
  21. WHY I GOT RID OF GOOGLE ADS - Kelly the Kitchen Kop
  22. Southern Fried Mama
  23. Creative2xmom (making your time count)
  24. Green Baby Guide (Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe)
  25. Monica @ DailyDwelling (Santa)
  26. a place for us - holiday advice
  27. ElizabethG (Greener and Healthier Holiday Meals)
  28. PepperScraps Muffins & Contest & Special offer
  29. HS Classroom (Homeschool Mom Survival Kit)
  30. Savings Ninja (Some freezer lunch recipes)
  31. Innkeeper Seely : New Center Pieces
  32. Mother Hen (Shopping at Sams)
  33. Ann Marie - right shoe left shoe
  34. FishMama @ LifeasMOM (Freezer Inventory)
  35. Lora @ my blessed life (Christmas journal)
  36. Kayren (Holiday Planner link with printables)
  37. Many Little Blessings (Home Baked Christmas Gifts)
  38. Moms In Need of Mercy (Housework Rewards Program)
  39. Christmas countdown for kids - wrapped books
  40. Se7en do Christmas in a Nutshell…
  42. CrazyAdventuresi nParenting (Operation Tooth Photo)
  43. Sandra @ A Lot of Savings (Frugal Gift Idea)
  44. Reusing Cereal boxes for crafts
  45. Essential Oil Blends for Cold and Flu Season
  46. Megan @ Modern Milkmaid (30 Meal Plan)
  47. Prudent & Practical (5 Min. Cake)
  48. Gia @ A Life in Progress (Holiday tips!)
  49. mistie (tough choices PLEASE HELP)
  50. Thrifty Jinxy - Leftover Halloween Candy Recipes
  51. Bethel Home - Magi - style gift giving
  52. Mama Holli (Give The Gift Of A Texas Pecan Pie!)
  53. Confessions of a Cropaholic - Roasted Pumpkin Seed
  54. Organize & Decorate (stress free holiday season)
  55. Brilliant Moms (Being Prepared for the Flu)
  56. Parenting Miracles (Halloween Candy)
  57. Audra @ Rediscovering Domesticity - Holiday Prep
  58. Shelley@ MAHM (Tips for Homemade Gifts and Recipes)
  59. Jess - Frugal Deals on Dinnerware and Serving Pieces
  60. KLee - DIY ruffled pants and applique shirt!
  61. Kristen @ A Day in the Life (Amazon Wish list)
  62. Alicia - DIY decorative clothes pins
  63. Jennifer@sissand sass : Easy - to - make - gifts
  64. Sandra - DIY bean bag chair!
  65. True Thankfulness - I remember that last hug...
  66. Tara (plan ahead for simple Thanksgiving)
  67. Amanda@TrentTrib e (Easy Reindeer Cookies =kid fun!)
  68. From The Trenches Of Motherhood
  69. Lamp Unto My Feet (Holiday Prep & Low Stress)
  70. Such The Spot (inexpensive stocking stuffers)
  71. Celebrate the Holidays
  72. The Prudent Pantry (What We Should Be Doing Anyway)
  73. Sarah @ Short Stop (SAVE THOSE BUTTER WRAPPERS!)
  74. Jill@findfaithfu l / 12 Days of Christmas Blessings
  75. Holiday Baking Without Breaking the Bank
  76. RedemptionUnlimi ted (Amazon FREE Ship w / Gold Box!)
  77. One More Thing!
  78. MamaHall (Keepsake Box)
  79. Planning : Gift giving and clutter free gifts.
  80. Katie @ Clean&Classic - Fav. Gift ideas & Giveaways
  81. Holly @ A Mommys Blessings (money stretcher!)
  82. Living Locurto - Free Thanksgiving Printable Roundup
  83. Cheryl (Simplify With Soup)
  84. {So Wonderful So Marvelous} Merging Traditions
  85. Jenna @ Newlyweds
  86. Amy @ MomsToolbox (Evangelizing in my PJs)
  87. Baileys Leaf (Operation Christmas Child)
  88. Brandi (Drinking in the Holidays)
  89. Johnlyn (Depression Era Encouragement)
  90. Happy Little Homemaker - BBB organizer + giveaway!
  91. SWAP SAVERS (Holiday Save Money)
  92. Tracey @ Girls to Grow (Dusting Tip)
  93. Easy and DELICIOUS tomato soup - its good!
  94. three pumpkins little (holiday weight management)
  95. Leaving Excess (FREE Outside Decorations)
  96. Mommin It Up (The Great Toy Purge of 2009)

  1. Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers (silent reading)
  2. Lifestyle Logic - Eating Out
  3. Kirsty@Momedy. Frugal and Fabulous wrappings
  4. Kara @ Moms Just One of the Boys (1st Things 1st)
  5. TidyMom (Pumpkin Spice Creamer)
  6. DarcyLee @ In This Season (Hot Chile Peppers)
  7. Making an Itinerary to make planning easy!
  8. Missy@SimplyRed (Christmas Nativity wrapping paper)
  9. native family haloween celebration
  10. Unemployed? Volunteer Has Its Benefits!
  11. Organized Life by Design (yard sales)
  13. Adventures in Mommydom (stock up on sale)
  14. Lauren @ Home with Olivia (freezer cooking)
  15. Health Home and Happiness (Real Food Candy)
  16. Dinner Traditions
  17. Girls in White Dresses / Operation Christmas Child
  18. Proper Hand Washing Technique - Teach Your Kids
  19. THE GAINES GANG{Kids Holiday Art Gallery}
  20. Vintage Box Given New Life!
  21. Mrs Nespys Frugal World - Re - Candying =)
  22. Stop n Smell the Chocolates (Hosting Holiday Meals)
  23. annies home - garbage disposal cleaning tip
  24. Easy Traveling Sandwiches (ilovemy5kids)
  25. American Mom in Africa (Stocking Stuffers)
  26. Jean Stockdale - Alarming!
  27. The Momarazzi Chronicles (Traditions)
  28. Vitamin D To Keep The Swine Flu Away
  29. Lori : Seeds Family Worship gift idea plus 20% off!
  30. 2 sides to Schwartz (Santa paper and easy gifts)
  31. Sunnymama (indoor leaf play)
  32. Paper Glue Etc (Name Holder Ideas)
  33. HomeEverAfter - Moms Get Your Body Back After Baby
  34. Kim - Dont be rushed
  35. Aussie Cellulite Secrets @Cellulite Investigation
  36. Unintended Housewife - Cleaning Vinyl Shower Curtain
  37. Keeping Job Hunting Momentum - Unintended Housewife
  39. Titus 2 Homemaker (kids gift ideas)
  40. Karin@SITM (pour first stir...never)
  41. Saving Our Cents (Frugal Fall Gifts and Decor)
  42. Abbi {simplified and handmade gift giving}
  43. Love Being In My Southern Kitchen - Holiday Notebook
  44. Mandi@Its come to this (ThanksgivingCountdownC al)
  45. Sandy@JesusDarkC hoc (Best popcorn!)
  46. Thanksgiving ideas / craft
  47. Holiday Coping Mechanisms
  48. My Vintage Kitchen (easy Cranberry - Walnut Fudge)
  49. pennypinchinmomm a (gift idea notebook)
  50. Eat Saturated Fat For Health
  51. Holiday Notebook (Moms in the Fishbowl)
  52. Making Hosting Easier
  53. Organize & Decorate (stress free holiday season)
  54. PeacefulHome (Circle Time at our home)
  55. NeverBored - Some Holiday Ideas
  56. Life in #3 - Christmas Countdown
  57. southernseven - ironing without double creases
  58. Design to Shine (Homemade Gift Ideas)
  59. My Little Corner (Christmas brain)
  60. Kristi_runwatch (planning for worshipful Christmas)
  61. Adventure Mom Janna ~ A Childs Worth?
  62. Mommies Coffee Break - Holiday Preparations
  63. What is it NOW?? (Make ahead recipes)
  64. PK @ Room Remix - - Simple Inexpensive Holiday Ideas
  65. Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads
  66. MomsFrugal (GuestPost : Christmas on a ZERO - BUDGET)
  67. Getting your kids involved w / the holidays!
  68. Mandy@ CountingMyPennies&MyBless ings Holiday Style
  69. Trial&Error - holiday food shopping
  70. Jessica - Pies made easy
  71. Frugal Dr. Mom (Coffee - 100 Reasons to Drink It!)
  72. haleywynn (goals!)
  73. Jami@Sweet&Simpl eMama (Great Ideas)
  74. EnviroBecca (entertain toddlers without equipment)
  75. Bonnie (Stocking Stuffer Ideas!)
  76. Ginny @ makeadiff21 (Christmas Shopping)
  77. Trixie (getting ready for the holidays primer)
  78. Easy painting clean up
  79. Common Cents Mom (Freebies for the Holidays)
  80. A Busy Mom of Two (weight loss tool)
  81. BusyMom (encore - Saving Money at the Holidays)
  82. Spell Outloud (Luggage Tag idea)
  83. Amyswandering (Printable Christmas Planner Links)
  84. Mrs.WrightGoneWr ongs Handmade Holidays For Teens!
  85. Kelly - Mini Caramel Apples
  86. GroovieMom (Spic and span for the holidays)
  87. Free 2 Be Frugal (Slow and Steady Wins the Race!)
  88. Christy@frugalcr unchychristy (Yummy Frosting)
  89. Halloween Clearance = Christmas Savings!
  90. Carolina Mama Holiday Scheduling Secrets
  91. Queen Mother Blog - Freezing toddler meals
  92. Lots of Baking!
  93. Crystal@littleth ingsfromhome Holiday Decorating
  94. Simple Bliss (Keeping a Gift List)
  95. Vintage Box Given New Life!
  96. Real Food for Dinner
  97. Amber@ClassicHou sewife Keeping Perspective : Advent

Get your free Mcklinky here...


bridget {bake at 350} said...

Look at your cute little WFMW logo!!! :) Love these tips...and the plates!

{ L } said...

Thank you for the excellent tips girl and the super cute giveaway! :)

Julie said...

Great, great ideas... I love having the shopping done before December even arrives. =)

se7en said...

Thank-you so much for WFMW, I just love it and spend Wednesday jumping from link to link to link... clearly No Work For Me On Wednesday's ... you do a great job!!!

eda said...




Rina the Mama Bear said...

Um...Mr Linky is closed and it's barely Wednesday???

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

MckLinky is closed! Here's my link: Tips for Hosting Holiday Meals

Christi said...

Its 3:54 AM here and McLinky is closed? nuts!

Here's my link and if it comes back up please let me know.

I'm doing Gift planning and Clutter Free gifts

Teri Lynne said...

Uh oh ... Mr. Linky must be in a snit! Oh well, here's my tip for keeping the romance alive through the crazy holidays ...

BusyMom said...

Oooops. Missed the theme I guess. Here is my Works for Me Wednesday for this week:

and an encore presentation of one that I did last year about the holidays:

Will check back later for Mr. Linky.

Holly said...

Mr. Linky must be tired already this morning! Here is my link for a great money stretcher/bonus!

Hopefully Linky will be working again soon!

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

Oh I missed the McLinky! Boo! Oh well, here is my tip for great frugal places to get your basic dinnerware and serving ware needs

Hope you'll stop by! :) Thanks for Hosting the party!

Melissa @the Cellulite Investigation said...

That miserly McLinky! And I was so excited to share my WFMW post this week. It's about a cellulite breakthrough in Australia! It works me for!! Seriously! (Don't worry, it's not an expensive cream or salon procedure.) I'm so excited that we're making progress over at the Cellulite Investigation. Here's the link

Have Aussie's Found the Secret to Cellulite? It Works for me, and I'm Not the Only One...

Sherry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sherry said...

Guess McLinky is no mcworking? LOL! :D

HEre is mine on keeping the season sane: Keeping your Season Sane

Aunt LoLo said...

Awww...MckLinky is closed. :-(

Those plates are!!! and I have two kids! Perfect! ;-)

Here's my contribution for the week: easy apple pie!!
easy apple pie

Tara @ Feels like home said...

ruh roh. No MckLinky.

My post is to help you plan ahead for Thanksgiving. I've given a schedule for the days and weeks ahead of time so that we can all have an organized and easy Thanksgiving week. :)

Brooke McGlothlin said...

Well...since everyone else is leaving their link here I guess I will too!

"I remember so well the last hug that day...Tips for True Thankfulness"

Hope Mr Linky is feeling better soon. He's probably already exhausted thinking about the holidays!

Jenny @ The Zepf Life(favorite Frugal Book) said...

I guess I too will leave my link here. I too try to do those things as well. The one I have a problem with is sticking to the dollar amount we agree on for the kids. It is hard as they get older and their gifts also get more expensive.

Stephanie said...

Aw it closed before I could link up. Oh well, I will save it for next week!

Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy said...

Closed? NOOOOO! (cue horror-flick scream) Here's my link :)

Sharon said...

My link for a really easy, and super delicious winter soup...

thanks Kristen!

Amy Lynne said...

Here's my link...

JessieLeigh said...

Silly McLinky...

Here's my tip for stretching Halloween candy through the remaining holidays...

Jodi Davis said...

:) Mr. Linky is not in the mood today...

Here's my link:

(Party Punch recipe)

Susan said...

Here's mine:

SwapSavers said...

It says MckLinky is closed. Here is my link

Becky said...

You can find some quick and easy recipes at my link. Here it is:

Hopefully Mr. McLinky will wake up again, because I was really looking forward to getting ideas from everyone!

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage said...

MckLinky's being hinky! Great tips, thanks for sharing!

Brilliant Moms said...

Thanks for the great tips!!

mahmommy said...

How great- this WFMW fits right in with the holiday series I've been running. My post is on homemade gift tips and ideas, with some yummy recipes for goodies that are great as presents. I see you're planning on running homemade gift ideas on Fridays- feel free to come share the links on MAHM! Thanks for another great WFMW!

...they call me mommy... said...

Great tips! :)

Johnlyn ~ said...

I REALLY needed to read this today! Thank you!

Lolli said...

I so agree with all of your tips. My oldest daughter was born on Christmas Eve, and one thing I've learned is to make sure we have her birthday party early in the month....which means that I need to start planning NOW!

Jen @ After The Alter said...

Christmas is a very busy time! And I love it! Especially since my family is out of town! I always buy my gifts early. it really saves me on stress later because the malls around the holidays are horrendous!

great tips!

shopannies said...

love these tips I am so guilty of thinking I need to buy more for the kids

Lori said...

Thanks for the reminder - I need to check out all the stuff I've bought over the last year so I don't overbuy!

I posted about Seeds Family Worship... if you haven't heard of them please check them out - I think you'd like their music (and certainly their purpose).

Blessings! :)

The Eclectic Dabbler said...

Thanks for the great tips!
I am still adjusting to married life and the holidays. "His" family's approach is much different than mine. Last year we had FIVE family events just for Christmas (we live in the same city). Plus my daughter's birthday is Christmas Day and our wedding anniversary is December 13th--we never ended up celebrating our anniversary, because we were too busy. :-( Last year I hated the entire month of December.
Something has to give. . . I'm trying to do better this year with planning ahead. Although my family is staying with us for 3 weeks around Thanksgiving, so . . . we will see how much "planning ahead" I can do for Christmas!

Amber @ Classic Housewife said...

Great tips! I'm working on getting all my gifts purchased before December for the first. time. EVER.
It feels so good!
I don't know if I'll quite make it but it should be pretty close and it will at least be done with plenty of time to spare as opposed to at the last minute.

Speaking of planning, last year I acutally made an Excel spreadsheet, with each kid, 3 gift ideas, budget per kid, budget total, etc.I tracked every single penny. It the only Christmas of our 10 Christmases together I ever stuck to a limit. It truly does work.

And PS - I got the Christmas box, YAY! I'll be blogging about it very soon, Thanks!