Bundle up! Cool Autumn days are here- warm sweaters, cozy blankets and oh yes! Let the Festivities Begin! …Was that a groan? So much to do- so little time… Ask me if I’m a natural born multitasker?
‘Well Darlin’ I fried two chickens at once, four frying pans- too much work and the grease splatters weren’t worth it.’
The Southern drawl isn’t equipped to use the word multitask effectively, on the other hand- Bundle brings forth fond images: Bundles of Joy wrapped in Receiving Blankets, a Bundle of Clean Clothes right off the clothesline, Bacon wrapped Green Bean Bundles for Sunday Supper, a Bundle of Kindling or a mother’s voice…‘Bundle up now, you’ll catch a chill.’ When Holiday tasks are bundled up, it’s a joy not a chore…
Here at Camellia’s Cottage, for Fall and Winter Holidays, we try to think like party planners, which elevates the preparations to something joyful. A color scheme, a menu, a theme… Then there’s three things we bundled up to kick off the Season-
- The Family Christmas Vacation was booked and bundled back in July
- The Permanent Lists have been updated- Guest Lists, Traditional Food Lists, Gift Lists and Mailing Lists
- Packaging, Stationary supplies and Ribbon orders were placed early… Yes, you read that right! My favorite Holiday Bundles are Paper Goods and Supplies!
I know from experience that Setting the Scene for the Holidays begins with finding a common thread that runs all through the Season– this is a sure fire formula for Holidays Bundled with Joy.
We use a neutral color palette for Camellia’s Cottage- White, Gray and Black. Natural Sisal Rugs, Cool Marble and Warm Barn Board are accents throughout. Whatever the season, Green is the common thread, the ultimate neutral in nature- think Pumpkin Patches, Sultry Magnolia Leaves and Soft Southern Pine. On my Supply List- Each year, I add a new shade of Green Satin Ribbon; for holiday magic -a new shade of Red too, since both work all year. I add Cello Bags in several sizes; White, Clear Cellophane and Natural Wrap are also used year round. Wonderful mail order sources bring ribbon and supplies right to the Cottage Door! Nice Stationary is the epitome of Southern Grace and Good Manners! There’s nothing like putting pen to paper for handwritten notes, though we’re finding new and beautiful ways to express our holiday wishes!
This season, Camellia’s Cottage is excited to be working in cooperation with Paperless Post®- the premiere retailer of online stationary… including the Southern Must Have- Thank You Notes! Why, Paperless Post has designs by world famous designers- Oscar de la Renta, Kate Spade and Jonathon Adler- talk about an all star line up! All of our stationary needs are bundled up in one place!
Paperless Post® includes options to download my own designs, photographs and to personalize the wording. There are options to order Paper Designs, too. I found an array of ideas for Fall and Winter Holidays. I won’t get stuck with unused cards, with Paperless Post® – order a few or a whole slew.
For an Annual Eggnog Party, not held at the Cottage-the hostesses are updating the festivities using online Save the Date and Invitations- here’s what we’ve done so far:
- The theme is Traditional
- The favors have been chosen (a Famous Eggnog Recipe tied to Cellophane packages of Shortbread),
- The program is being planned (Christmas Carols, an Inspirational Reading and more!)
- Holiday food will be divided up among the hostesses (I’ll make Mimi’s Pimento Cheese, I’m told the Dessert Table will be loaded!) and-
- Our Local Animal Shelter is the charity we’ll support.
- Tartan Plaid will be just right for our theme, the common thread that pulls it all together. Think donations in a big basket lined with a cozy plaid blanket, beribboned Scottish Shortbread favors, who knows? We might even see a Kilt or two- doubtful! But we can always scheme!
With the help of Paperless Post, we’re working up a Traditional Tartan Plaid by Oscar de la Renta. His square design for personalized Save the Date – To notify out of town guests . The Plaid Rectangular Online invitations to the Heads of each Clan will say- ‘Join us for an Evening of Comfort and Joy’ . Check out how Paperless Post works- it’s fast, fun and bundled up! Paperless Post® has an online RSVP tool which tracks and stores responses ‘Let us know how many in your Clan will be there’ Online Cards are convenient, save time, money and best of all- Oscar de la Renta’s Plaid Holiday Design will make our annual event extra special!
The most difficult Holiday Tasks are easier when they’re Bundled Up! Here’s some tips:
- Don’t go it alone- Online resources abound- Paperless Post® is a delight- easy to use, with helpful cheery staff- I can highly recommend them for making Holidays easier. All of the Holiday Stationary for Camellia’s Cottage has been bundled up with a few joyful clicks and downloads. A very high stress chore was easy as pie and best of all? Checked off the To Do List!
- If you’re hosting a Holiday Party, enlist the help of others– divide and conquer! Decide early who’ll bring side dishes and desserts, who’ll polish the silver, who’ll participate in the festivities and who will track the RSVP list!
- Double up- Pick out a cookie dough that can be made in several flavors or shapes, store in the freezer until ready to use. I chose Shortbread-plain, pecan and orange. Shortbread actually improves after it’s baked! Most cookie dough can be held in the freezer for two months, it’s as easy to make four batches as it is for one- well, almost.
- Fall Outdoor Clean Up? Make it do double duty- I’ve bundled up sticks for Firestarters and Kindling. In dry storage, the bundles will be mossed up and beribboned, with instructions to toss a few sticks on outdoor fire pits or indoor fireplaces! Hint: Men love to get kindling!
- Bundle in bulk! When I’m grocery shopping, I add a few holiday necessities to my buggy each trip, this spreads out the cost of Holiday Cooking and Baking. Make sure you have parchment paper, foil and freezer bags too.
- Do double duty in the kitchen– While the Sausage is frying and the Biscuits are baking- take another package of sausage, grated cheese and a bit of self rising flour- stir into a mix, chill- scooped into little balls, frozen on trays, then bagged with directions for baking on the freezer bag. You’re ready with pickup food any time!
- On a nippy night, while a big pot of Vegetable Soup is bubbling on the stove, instead of one pan of Cornbread- make two! One to enjoy hot from the oven and one for the freezer, to be used for Thanksgiving’s Cornbread Dressing! Repeat.
- Layer it on!- Cozy Throws for sofas and chairs are an invitation to bundle up. Tie Ribbon on everyday Throw Pillows like Holiday Packages, remove after the Holidays for easy clean up. Simple and beautiful.
- This year, when I made my Fall Wreath- I covered a plain grapevine wreath with gray and eerie Spanish Moss and Dried Hydrangeas, creepy faux bugs and little peeping eyes were added for Halloween! Quickly removed, a ring of Shiny Magnolia Leaves- curled to show their brown undersides, will be layered right on top for an elegant beribboned Thanksgiving Wreath; then embellished more for the Christmas Holidays! Talk about bundled for joy! That’s triple duty for very little effort- just layering on as the season progresses keeps life beautifully simple.
- Bundled up Gifts-Bundle Candles, especially white tapers- tie with pretty satin ribbon- great gifts for inevitable power outages or candlelit dinners. Rolled Cloth Napkins look especially nice tied with Ribbon. A plain Linen Hand Towel embellished with old lace- bundled up with a pretty soap, an easy and nice hostess gift! I must admit, my Holiday Labor of Love is making Pecan encrusted Toffee and Sugary Puff Pastry Palmiers. Packaged in cellophane bags and tied with pretty ribbon- who can resist?
Everyone is busy, avoid Holidays fraught with multitasking nightmares…Bundle up! Begin now. Find ways to incorporate Holiday preparations into daily living. Don’t go it alone. Partner up, like we did, with Paperless Post® Enjoy the ease of online invitations and the process of themed Party Planning. Find a common thread, like pretty Ribbon or Tartan Plaid for Holiday décor. Now, about those gifts…I’m looking at personalized Thank You notes! No self respecting Southern Lady would be caught dead without them!
Love y’all, Camellia
A huge Thank You! to Paperless Post® for your cooperation and help. *Images for Cards and Invitations were used with permission from Paperless Post®
* All other photographs are obviously mine, as well as the images of my own personal designs- the pumpkins and purses can be downloaded to online form with Paperless Post!