Christmas Countdown

Christmas Memories in My Heart is a place for me to share all things related to Christmas, which is my favorite time of the year. I plan and prepare for the holidays all year, so that I can enjoy that busy time without having to stress about shopping and all the details of the season.

I am actually able to decorate and then enjoy the spirit of the holidays and celebrate Jesus' birth and the reason for the season.

You can find links to my three favorite holiday sites in my sidebar. They are Organized Christmas, Our Home for the Holidays, and Magical Holiday Home. All three of these special places are like my home away from home. I have cyber friends there who I feel a great bond with and we share a common love of Christmas. We understand each other and support each other in our quest to have magical, wonderful holidays.

Please come back to visit often.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I meant to add to this blog every month on Rudy Day, but life got in the way and this is my first post of the year. I haven't totally been a Christmas slacker, since I do have a huge gift closet of items that I picked up on clearance in December and early January.

For those of you not fortunate enough to know about Rudy Day, it is celebrated every month on the 25th in observance of Christmas. It is a great way to plan and get ready for the season without waiting for the big last minute rush. Throughout the year I spend a lot of time visiting with friends at Magical Holiday Home and Our Home for the Holidays and Garden Web Holiday Forum. Each one of these boards is very special to me and I have met many wonderful cyberfriends who also share my love for the holidays. Another great site for Christmas is CEO's Organized Christmas.

I found the OC many years ago when I was searching for ideas for my school holiday parties. I frequented this site around the holidays for a several years before getting really involved in the message boards/forums there. For several years the OC was like a home away from home for me. We shared ideas, bargains, gift ideas, recipes, crafts plans, and generally just became great cyberfriends. Three years ago I started participating in swaps on this board. It may sound crazy, but it was a lot of fun. We had swaps for Christmas in July gifts, secret sister, pampered pet gifts, patio decor, turkey decor, Easter, St. Patty's, Halloween, etc. We signed up and received a partner and swapped items based on the individual swap criteria set by our current swap hostess. We even had several large swaps that involved lots of planning and trust to provide a Christmas stocking filled with little gifts for our partner and Advent Calendar swaps that involved a gift for each day of Advent which is the last Sunday in November right up until Christmas Day.

The first year my two sisters, a niece, my adult daughter and I all participated in the Advent swap. It was so much fun to receive a huge package loaded with individual gifts just for me. Although I love the Advent swap, I think the stocking one is my favorite. I even hosted our first Black Friday Survival Kit Swap. This was a lot of fun. We each had to provide our partner with some kind of container or bag filled with items to help survive shopping on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

My sisters, daughter and nieces all love this day and have been known to leave the house around 4:30 a.m. to get all the early morning bargains and not return home until around midnight. When we do the extreme shopping day we have often wiped out all the local shopping and have gone to the DFW area by around 10 a.m. There have been years that I have gone along for the fun and not even bought anything because I am through shopping by that time. It is a special tradition and time for us.

Here are the photos of the bags that we used for Black Friday Survival Kits that first year. There were six of us in my crew that participated in this first Black Friday Swap. In addition there were about 15 more swappers.

I still have the kit (bag) that I received. I remember that my partner filled a 35mm film cartridge with quarters so I would have them for a soft drink during the day. Those quarters came in handy on the toll road!



DD Tracie with one of the bags. (she looks so different here)


Youngest sis, Tanya, puts the finishing touches on the sixth bag.

When CEO closed all of her forums due to health issues, two new Christmas forums emerged. Many visitors got lost for awhile, but most found their way back to one board or the other and some of us are active on both boards. Although I have never met any of these people IRL, I feel as if some of them are long time friends. We have developed friendships across the miles in cyberspace.

CEO has made some great changes to her Organized Christmas site recently. I think it is very user friendly and is loaded with ideas of crafts, practical inexpensive holiday gifts in a jar, and organizational printouts including her holiday plan to get ready for Christmas which includes a six week countdown and notebook dividers and planning sheets. If you are not familiar with CEO, please click on the link and be prepared to stay awhile and return often.

The other sites are similar in nature, but each has its own unique style and information. Our Home for the Holidays is maintained by a crew of devoted women who celebrate Christmas year round. They are based around the world and their involvement helps us all learn a lot about other countries and their holiday traditions. It is so amazing to me that while we are in a deep freeze around most of the US at Christmas time, many of our board friends are eating their holiday meal by the pool. Again, check out the link and browse through the forums.

The Magical Holiday Home is maintained by Gingerbug. It has many similar boards and is more fast paced with more members frequenting the boards.

Each one of these sites has much more than Christmas activities. Most of us are really more of the holiday nut type instead of just Christmas ones. You will find numerous boards for the major holidays and some like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Easter have big events and on-going yearly posts and activities.

Rudy Day on the 25th is no longer the only monthly observance to us. The Great Pumpkin Day, Turkey Day, Hippity Hoppity Day, Celebrate Me Day are all staples.

For those of you not too sure about celebrating the days above and just interested in some organizational help to get you prepared to enjoy the holidays instead of being frazzled by them, check out these sites. I guarantee there is something there for you. The crafters are amazing. Many of them are crafting and sewing all year for holiday gifts, but this area is great for ideas even for the not so dedicated crafty ones.

I personally love the bargain and gift idea sections. Someone is always letting us know about some amazing bargains or a new twist on basket gifts, family gifts or just some new thing they have read about or made or received.

I think back to the days prior to my finding these wonderful boards and wonder how I survived the holidays.

This past fall I added another holiday board to my close following. This one is the Holiday Forum at Garden Web. This is another great place to share a love of holidays. It is of a different nature, but equally as fun. During the holidays the forum is devoted to Thanksgiving and Christmas decor, especially tables. The rest of the year people discuss any and all holidays and regular posters share photos of tablescapes, new dishes, and thrifting stories and finds, etc. These ladies are superb decorators and I am always amazed at their creations.

I see it is already June 30. That means that Christmas in July is only one day away!!!! I feel much better now that I have started my blog off for the big celebration. My goal is to post something concerning Christmas daily.


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