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It’s Never Too Early to Prep for the New Year

By Ilene Marcus October 28, 2022 Lifestyle

It is official it is almost next year.

On a most perfect New England fall day as my car’s heated seats warmed my soul, I slowed down at a sharp bend in the road. At that moment, bright orange leaves, framed in gold clouds took my breath away. I was finally enjoying my life. A perfect day for a hot chai latte, to sip and ponder and be grateful for what I have.

During the pandemic, I started making chai lattes at home and that meant keeping stock of my favorite food, whipped cream. Having to crack into a new bottle, I checked my whipped cream supply. Examining each bottle for its expiration date, to make sure I was using the one set to expire first.

And there I found a truth I wasn’t ready for. All three cans expired in 2023. I don’t know what disturbed me more, that my stock was depleted or that I had to face that it is almost next year!

I should have seen the signs. At my local dollar store, the sales cycle has accelerated to the point that there are always at least two holidays with items for sale.

In August, it was Back to School and Halloween as if they were one holiday. No waiting time, no seasons, and then a quick change over to Halloween and Thanksgiving. And now in mid-October the trifecta is complete: decorations, keepsakes, hostess items for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. No doubt, New Year’s cannot be far behind.

It seems that the days and weeks and seasons are like a roll of toilet paper, they go faster at the end. And me, going a little slower somedays. I offer a few pre-season tips on how to make landing in the new year just a bit softer.

Choose Your Fall Decorations Wisely

I find that if I choose decorations that can be relevant and have meaning for more than one holiday, it’s so much less work. I put them up in late August and they carry me through to December.

I always include two or three items, very holiday-centric pieces that have been around for years. These are the special things that my daughter expects to see and will be pasted down through the generations.

I have to remember that downsizing even the decorations she loves, is a gift to her. I will leave a few treasured items, not boxes and boxes she will inherit and have to sift through. Curating my items now leaves room for her to start new traditions with her partner and children.

So what do I choose that works in many seasons:

Anything that says Grateful, Blessed, Family First, and Enjoy, transcends seasons and religion.

I turn some specific holiday items into everyday decorating. For example, My Broom Parking Sign, originally a Halloween favorite, is really appropriate and so cute when hung in my broom closet or the pantry all year round.

My standby kitchen towels read: The Witch is in! The witch is a symbol of magical powers and this works for all seasons. I mean, how does my family think, at 61 years old, I can make dinner for 14 and look effortless? That’s some big momma magic.

And at Christmas and Hanukah, how do I find perfect gifts for each person, wrapped with rich ribbon and paper? It doesn’t happen by elves. It needs a Witch’s brew to make it all happen.

Start Cracking on Last Year’s Resolutions Now

Although we have gotten much smarter about the demands we put on ourselves, there still is the mundane administrative side of life. Get that passport renewed, refresh your insurance, schedule those doctor’s appointments. Make a call a day, and you will have it all set up in no time.

Choose a bucket list item and start cracking on it now. Call the travel agent, get a new design for your closet or sign up for that poetry class you have been dragging your feet on. Whatever it is, start moving towards it, and when the new year rolls around, you will be off to a great start.

Clean a Drawer

I saw a meme on social media last week that said, “We spend 2/3 of our life acquiring stuff and the last 1/3 giving it away.” I can tell you from personal experience pain doesn’t come from having all that stuff. Pain comes from unfinished business. And a lot of that stuff is unfinished business.

Start with one drawer. One shelf. One bin. And next time you are feeling in the doldrums, or just a tad bit bored, do another. It goes quicker than you think and even cleaning out one drawer to me is major accomplishment.

What’s Next

Choose a few items to do now to springboard you into the New Year to start on your strongest foundation. Indulge in your favorite hot beverage and know that while the whipped cream expiration date is just around the corner, you are ready.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you noticed that the new year is around the corner? What made you notice this fact? How do you feel about it? How far along are you on your resolutions list?

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I’m trying to figure out if she was happy the whipped cream was good till sometime in 2023 or sad?

Ilene Marcus

Both! Happy to have whipped cream – can’t believe the year went by so fast.

Sarah Hendricks

I did a major decluttering about 2 months ago. I got rid of a lot of things and haven’t missed any of them. The folks at Value Village know me by name now since I was there almost every day unloading. My son recently brought down my fall decor from the attic. I was appalled at how much stuff I had. I have 5 bins of outdoor Halloween decor, but not the energy to display all that. I separated the Halloween decor from the fall/thanksgiving decor and it’s still sitting on my coffee table awaiting me to get around to actually setting them where they belong as decor…and it’s just 3 days to Halloween and then they’re supposed to be back in the box to be stored away until next year. So, what’s the point in keeping all that? I feel a new declutter coming on! I have some decor items that will carry me through September, October and November…I’m sure paring thins down to that will just take ONE box and perhaps I can set it up as soon as it comes down from the attic next year instead of leaving it sit undisplayed.

Ilene Marcus

I’m so jealous – major decluttering so good for the soul!


When I downsized, I decided to decorate for the season, not holidays in particular. In some cases I have early & later winter and early and late summer. I got rid of the traditional holiday decor, like Easter & Halloween & Thanksgiving. I do like the seasonal better!!! By going seasonal, I was able to buy higher quality items. Also, I think a lot can be done with light strips to enhance areas.

Ilene Marcus

Isn’t that the truth, quality over quantity.

Shaggy Maggie

Downsized in June. I’ve decided to decorate with small, pre-lit, electric trees…one in each room. (not the bath). In addition, fresh flowers; red/white. NOTHING else, but the holiday cards I may receive. My former decorations (carefully curated) went to younger family members. I did this last year, and I am enchanted with the ease as well as the cheerful lights.

Ilene Marcus

Twinkling Lights make everything better!


The Author

Ilene Marcus, MSW, MPA, is the author of Managing Annoying People and runs Aligned Workplace, speaking and training Leaders and Founders to attract and retain great employees. An emerging literary writer, her goal is to make you smile just a bit more. Please visit her website at

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