Fredericksburg Families

Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Taming Christmas chaos

I was born four days after Christmas, and my parents often tell the story of how my dad was in the attic putting away decorations when my mom went into labor. He got stuck in the attic, which delayed them so much that I was born about 20 minutes after they got to the hospital.

To me, the most incredible part of the story is that my parents were putting their decorations away just four days after Christmas. But since then, they’ve always tried to get the trimmings down, so that my birthday can take center stage. I haven’t been quite as good as putting the decor away so quickly. But this year, I found myself eyeing the tree on Christmas day, wondering if it was too early to untrim the tannenbaum.

Everyone pretty much behaved themselves this year and didn’t gift us with too much stuff. Still, I found myself very overwhelmed with the Christmas mess. A friend wisely told me that nearly everyone in America has a messy living room on Dec. 25, so I should calm down. Instead, I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets, getting rid of all those gadgets I haven’t used in years. How is a pancake spatula different from a regular turner?

And I’m slowly trying to corral the chaos in the rest of the house. I’ve loved the tips shared on the Organized Home blog. I had actually already started this one: Your goal: to fill every seasonal mailing box with items suitable for donation to Goodwill or a similar recycler for used household items, and deliver them to charity before year’s end.

I’m now compiling a list of local charities which are collecting some of the more unusual items you might need to get rid of. For example, I have an office full of art and craft supplies that I need to get rid of–so we can finally turn it into a nursery for our 5-month-old daughter.

Over the next few days, I’m going to share some of these places for you to donate your goods. And next week, they should appear as a complete list in The Free Lance-Star.

Today’s group is Hospice Support Care Inc. in Fredericksburg. This group’s child bereavement group could use art supplies, Wii controllers and E-rated Wii games. Hospice Support Care is also in need of office supplies and a vacuum cleaner in working condition. Call the office to arrange a time to drop off items: 540/361-7071.

And as I do pack up the Christmas clutter, I’m using these tips from (click on the link for more tips):

Choose clear plastic bins You don’t have to pony up for all the specialty storage containers available — just invest in some good-size, all-purpose containers that give you a peek into the contents.

Put things in order Store the decorations you’ll need right after Thanksgiving in one bin, and label it “Open Me First.” Include outdoor lights and seasonal storybooks and music.

Use what you have Leftover wine boxes are perfectly sectioned with cardboard dividers to protect larger ornaments — layer tissue paper, newspaper, or bubble wrap in between — and egg cartons are ideal for the tiny ones. Coil your lights, extension cords, and garlands around the cardboard cylinders that come with wrapping paper.

What are your best tips for organizing after the holidays?


  • Dennis Hartford

    What?  You mean that you are suppose to take down Christmas decs??

  • Allison Moore Gatrone

    I hope you aren’t taking them down now…you still have till Epiphany to celebrate Christmas!