Sunday 6 December 2015


Could YOU do with any help getting yourself organized for Christmas?
I know I feel like I could use all the help I can get and more this year! Usually my Christmas Tree would be up, along with the Christmas ornaments and tinsel decorations are all down from the loft and lovingly placed in my home but this year. . . well this year the decorations don't hold the same appeal . . . I am shorter on time due to visiting a beloved Uncle who has Alzheimer's & seizures/mini strokes. His wife has recently put him into a care home so I am visiting twice a week, which I know doesn't sound much at all but it is an hour drive there and back, and I am trying to fit in the normal household chores as well as the extra ones Christmas provides us with. Then I am also a full time carer to my mother who lives with me, as well as my own health not being great so "things" are beginning to build up. Then it seem's my household machines/gadgets are conspiring against me, the aerial booster in my bedroom broke, next the indoor aerial (situated up in the loft with all those lovely Christmas decorations) has stopped working and getting someone out to it on a day I am home seems impossible! and finally earlier today the Sky TV box just switched itself off and refuses to come back on. . .once again I have the problem of getting an engineer out to fix/replace it. I guess what I am trying to say is that after reading this book, I am thinking "what the heck" if I don't get all the decorations up, they'll still be there in the loft for next year. Also I am taking deep breaths and have finally booked appointments for engineer visits. . so things slowly getting sorted out. . . hopefully they won't be too expensive to fix!

Title: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas
Author: Kathi Lipp
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self Help, Christian
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Release Date: 1st September 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
Have you lost your Christmas joy? Does the thought of jam-packed malls, maxed-out credit cards, overcrowded supermarkets, and endless to-do lists give you the feeling that maybe Scrooge was on to something?
In Get Yourself Organized for Christmas, Kathi Lipp provides easy-to-follow steps to reduce the stress of the holiday season, including tactics for how to
put together a holiday binder you’ll use year after year determine a budget that won’t break the bank gather your elf supplies get your gift list together (including ideas for various ages and relationships) collect your recipes and prep your kitchen
By putting into practice Kathi’s tricks and tips, you’ll finally be able to fully enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

I admit I am one of those people who vow to be more organised every year and then I'll perhaps do one or two things early then time will just slip away from me until I'm left with a long list of tasks and not so much time to get them all done in. So when I saw this book I thought I can't be the only person who is like this and decided to read and review this book!

I downloaded an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. The cover shows a row of candy canes at the bottom of the page and a beautiful blue sky with white snowflakes on it. Would the cover make me pick this book up from a bookstore shelf? I think I would pick it up, both out of curiosity and the pure desperation to actual feel/be organised one year!
So I suppose I should start off by explaining that though this book is aimed more at Americans and their traditions, a lot of the traditions and trappings of Christmas would easily transfer over for a UK Christmas equivalent.
Kathi begins by explaining there are two types of extremists. 
Type One - The first type has a selection of ugly Christmas jumpers to choose from, is first in line at Target (so in the UK the friend would probably be queuing outside Primark)  on 26th December for the bargains, she also has three types of Christmas dishes, formal, semi-formal, and casual. Also her husband has submitted footage for The Best Christmas Display to TLC. (again the UK equivalent would possibly be the "local news").
Type Two - This second extremist type will want to hide in a corner where "Christmas" should have been, rocking back and forth (and UK equivalent possibly fingers in ears humming random non-Christmas songs), waiting for 1st January to arrive.
Kathi goes on to explain that the actual problem is not Christmas, it is our expectations for Christmas and all we think should go with it! The expectations of Christmas are, (in no particular order) shopping, hosting, wrapping, cooking, designing, mailing, entertaining,and baking. (I would personally add visiting relatives to that list of expectations too!). Individually these things may not cause you any worry at all, but place them on a list along with a time limit and monetary limit and the pressure begins to mount! Increasing pressure inevitably leads to a decrease in pleasure and energy!
After telling the reader all this the following line is in the book. . . "Worry no more Kathi Lipp is here to help us!"
Kathi herself admits to running around frantically sourcing the "perfect gift" as well as spending far more money than she could reasonably afford. Both things I think most of us will have done at some point! Personally I remember when my daughter was very young and Teletubbies were the "in thing" to have, I went all over to get her, her very own Po, Tinky Winky, Dipsy and finally queued outside a Toys R Us store at 7am one very cold winter morning to purchase the remaining Teletubby La-La! who ended up being her favourite. I still say today it was well worth it to see the joy on my daughters face on Christmas morning as she lined them all up. Then when bedtime came she insisted on taking all four to bed with her too!
Kathi admits to staying up many a late night baking cookies for the "cookie exchange" (I know this is a more American tradition but I have heard many UK mum's say they bake cookies for their children's class, so I guess that is a similar pressure.
Kathi goes on to explain about she once broke down in tears on Christmas Eve when she ran out of clear tape for her gift wrapping!
It was after a few disasters and/or near disasters that Kathi sat down and decided which traditions she wanted to continue with and which ones her and her family no longer wanted to do. So for example Kathi kept things like viewing the neighbourhood Christmas Lights after drinking a Starbucks hot chocolate, but she ditched the cookie exchange! Kathi goes on to advise you put aside the expectations of what you should or shouldn't have. I totally agree with her that for most people Christmas is a time for faith, family, friends and the addition of fun and food too!
Kathi wishes to help us all have a clutter free Christmas and she repeats this message over and over during the book.
I guess we all have some traditions are old, that we are a little fed up of and we can really do without them, though I'd also say there are traditions that we should hold onto. One of Kathi's idea is to make a list of all the traditions that you do faithfully every year and go through the list deciding on which ones you would like to keep and which can be dumped forever! or even just temporarily stopped for a year or two.
Kathi gives pointers to everyone dependant on the time frame you have to organise everything in. For example if you pick the book up in the suggested month of October, there is more time to do things slowly, and obviously if you don't pick up the book until the end of November or even the beginning of December you will have a lot more to do and a shorter time to do it all in. I guess the most important point to keep  in mind is to prioritise the things that are important to YOU, not what everyone else thinks is important.
I could go on and on about all the different things Kathi brings to the readers attention and how to choose what you really want to do etc but this book is one you need to read for yourselves and choose the parts of it that are most relatable to you.
So Did I enjoy the book? Yes, it was informative, and had some fantastic suggestions. I will say that some of the traditions mentioned in the book are aimed more at an American audience but others can be relevant to UK readers too. Would I recommend the book? Yes, if you need help sort out what to do and in what order as well as coordinate the Christmas rituals that are really important to you and get rid of the ones that have you yawning, dreading them and just literally "going through the motions". Would I want to read another book of organisation by this author? I would certainly take an interest in learning more about any book written by Kathi Lipp. Would I be interested in reading other organisational books? Well I'm not sure about you guys but I have plenty of areas of life that can always do with a helping hand and I am always willing to look at things from a different angle, or view point, So I guess the answer to this question has to be Yes!

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