November, for me, signals the leap from Fall into Winter. The major fall cleaning is done in anticipation of the Holiday season and the change in the weather. The grocery lists are beginning to change to reflect what is in season. We are spending more time at home and less going out in the evenings because of the early dark. We are asleep earlier, too - our lights are usually out by 9:00 p.m and we are tucked in with the cats underneath the down comforter.
Vintage home makers throughout the centuries have used early November to plan and prepare for the upcoming holidays in several ways, and we have done the same in our home. Do you need to be thinking about any of these things in November?
1. Take down any Halloween decorations - I am notorious for leaving decorations up long past their due date. Luckily most of our Halloween decorations double for fall decorations so only a few things need to be put away until next year.
2. Stock the cupboards with things for fall foods and holiday treats - November is really the time when you start feeling the cold and change to winter here in Colorado and what we want to eat changes too. We've already had our first snow day and I was very glad that we had almond milk, regular milk, sugar, and really wonderful cocoa powder in our cupboards to pair up with a breakfast of Gluten Free pancakes while we were snowed in. A swedish blogger alerted me to the concept of dark chocolate covered gingerbread cookies so I put the ingredients for that on the next grocery list.
3. Take out, mend, and prepare any winter clothing that hasn't already come out for fall and put away anything you won't use for the next few months - I own a lot of clothing, enough that some of it has to go into storage in the opposite season. When I lived in Wisconsin I could put it all away for the winter in October and bring it out in April with out ever worrying about it but here in Colorado where it can be 19 degrees at 6:00 a.m. and 60 degrees at 3:00 p.m. I need to keep most of it out but I've already put away things that are absolutely not necessary like outside only swimsuits, sheer summer shirts, and my shorts. In addition to this I pulled out everything that has been waiting for true cold weather, gave it a quick once over, and sewed on all those buttons that were about to fall off.
4. Start thinking (if you haven't already) about holiday presents - This one is pretty quick. Make a list of everyone you have to give gifts to and pick out something that they'd like. If you are making any of them write down what you'll need to make the gift and how much time it might take. If you want to go above and beyond you could put a dollar amount next to each, total it up and see how much you'll need to spend on gifts this year so you can budget for them...which brings me to my next point.
5. Add some line items to the budget for holiday travel and entertaining expenses -Make sure that you've accounted for holiday parties out, holiday dinner parties, traveling costs, gifts, and anything else you need to think about.
Hopefully these five things help you stay on track and enjoy the holiday season more richly!