Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Preparing for the Holidays!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

OLA: Preparing for the Holidays!

nice but bulky
Thanksgiving comes right after my birthday and then Christmas is not far behind.  As soon as the turkey is devoured, preparing for the Christmas holidays sets in. In the Philippines, where there is no Thanksgiving Day, we prepare much earlier, as soon as the –ber months roll by (beginning September).  Although it gives us a much shorter period to enjoy the decorations in the US, the hefty discounts during Thanksgiving give us a wonderful timely period for buying Christmas gifts. These are the two most important preparatory activities for the Holidays, decorating the home and sending gifts and cards.

Decorating an RV is not easy because we do not want to carry around with us bulky décor. So we had been content with an indoor Christmas tree, a capiz six-pointed star, a poinsettia plant, a pair of His and Hers stockings, some garland, and red ribbons. We arrange them on our dashboard so they can also double as an outdoor décor, shining through the front windshield. But now, since we are at Viewpoint for 6 months, we went for more! Besides, Bill had installed a wide dark screen to shield our living room from onslaught of the Phoenix sun, preventing the décor from shining through.

our BIG gift!
When we went to Costco to look for ideas, we found cheap huge red and green shiny ribbon material (2 feet wide!). So we bought 40 yards of it.  I thought, ‘Why not make the RV a huge Christmas gift? So Bill ran the huge ribbons around its front, vertically and horizontally, and I made a huge bow to mark the center. Then Bill placed the brightly lighted capiz star at the middle of the bow and lined the ribbon edges with the new energy efficient LED Christmas lights, to make the gift also visible at night! Voila, our RV is now a huge gift for the season as it has actually been for us these past 3 ½ years! Storage of the  ribbons will be no problem at all! And the rest of our décor still complete our Christmas dashboard.
online buying
more practical!
Online gift buying, on the other hand, has reached fever pitch!  Over 6% of retail sales are done online and 3rd quarter 2013 registered about $67B in total sales.  4th quarter sales are always higher than other quarters and the total value and % value are steadily increasing over the years. Bill and I did all of gift buying online! With our children and grandchildren all living in three countries (US, Canada, and UK) the idea of scavenging for bargains on Black Friday and then having to ship them after was just not appealing. Drop shipping them through online storefronts is definitely much more practical!

the solar power system being installed
                 at Brgy Daculan, home to 1,000 residents
Besides, all my children wanted their gifts to go to the Haiyan relief effort. So from their combined gifts we were able to send a solar-powered system to benefit a barangay in eastern Visayas,  the typhoon ravaged part of central Philippines. For those interested in donating such systems, please go to . As for my grandkids (ages 5 months, 7 ½, and 7) Toys R’ Us Canada and Target US were convenient online storefronts. The same is true with eBay for various items for my adult grandkids (16 and 21). Meanwhile, was helpful for Bill’s gift. And Froupon was idea for stocking stuffers, a tradition for Bill and me. They meet the budget of less than $10, usually have more than double the value, do not require shipping, and you can stuff many more of them in a single stocking!!!

Finally, sending Christmas greetings is so much easier nowadays. For the past 5 years, I have made customized Christmas cards using Microsoft Publisher using our photos and décor then send them through email and, in the last 3 years, also Facebook. We manage to reach many friends and family this way, maybe thousands now.

So our RV is all bedecked, my gifts are all bought, shipped, and some even already received, and greetings sent! What remain are the good-eats we will prepare for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And that will be the subject of another post!


  1. How lovely and how fun. Again thank you for including me in your Christmas cards. A wonderful surprise.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. Thank you so much Sandee...It was sad entrecard gave up. I wasn't able to keep all the links! Glad I kept some emails! Merry Christmas!

  2. Looks like you've got the Christmas spirit --- even in the desert!


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