It may be the end of January but this first post on the countdown to Christmas has to go back a few weeks.
In very early January, or possibly late December, we think about the theme for the next Christmas. This means that I can search the post-Christmas sales for anything appropriate that fits the theme (along with any other things to be put aside for next year). This Christmas the theme was snowflakes. The hall was decorated with snowflakes cut from card and fabric, and many of the cards I made using various techniques had snowflakes in the design.
These snowflakes were cut on a Cricut machine, using a cartridge I'd purchased over the previous Christmas holidays. We had them suspended on cotton thread from fishing line that criss-crossed the hall.
Next year, well this year really, the theme is going to be Christmas Puddings. I've already bought the paper napkins for use at the pre-Christmas family dinner - in the sale, of course! I have also sorted out various craft items that fit this theme (stamps, card blanks, relevant coloured card and patterns from magazines) and they are now in the box I use for the themed items. I'll add to it as the year goes on and I find more things I'll need.
Also in early January comes Twelfth Night when, by tradition, all decorations are taken down. The key for me at this point is making sure I know where everything goes away in order to avoid panic come December and this is especially important where various items have been lent to other family members for the season. In practice, and by tradition, decorations may be left up a bit longer in my family. This is because my mother's birthday comes a few days after Twelfth Night and the decorations were always left for her party when she was a child.
I have also looked through all the Christmas cards I, and my mother, received this year. Some of them will inspire those I make for Christmas 2014 and others I will use as templates.
During the winter months I find that I don't mind working on things for Christmas, but I know that as spring and Easter approaches I will lose the enthusiasm for it until well into the autumn. For that reason I try to get a bit ahead now, while I'm in the mood. My mother's disability means that I now take the lead in preparing the decoration for her house as well as mine, and I make most of her Christmas cards in addition to making almost all of my own.
Right, back to stamping Christmas puddings and colouring them for gift tags ...