Say Goodbye to the Holidays, Hello to 2022

The first thing to do as you attempt to get #organized in the new year is to get the #holidays out of sight as quickly and as neatly as possible, says A Clear Path. If you have gifts that you won’t use or didn’t give, return or #donate them immediately. Take down any holiday decorations and store them in labeled bins and boxes. Resist the urge to peruse the post-holiday clearance sales unless there is something you truly need. And finally, enter #decluttering deadlines such as an upcoming ClothingDonations.org #donation #pickup on your 2022 calendar.

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

So goes the old Frank Loesser hit. Never intended to be a holiday anthem, the song tells the tale of a suitor looking far ahead on the calendar as a testament an plea for enduring love. As we prepare for the new year, though, the question looms.

With a new variant driving COVID case numbers up, one acceptable answer is “nothing” — or at least nothing far from the confines of your own home. Gathering in large groups has again become a risky proposition, so a quiet night in might be the safest option.

If you do celebrate, keep parties small to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. A Zoom, Skype or FaceTime session is always a good option if you wish to see faraway friends and relatives faces unmasked.

Small gatherings are safest, with only the people you know have taken the appropriate precautions invited. Epidemiologists told The New York Times that those who are at low risk for serious illness and have received a booster shot can celebrate with less worry.

For planners who still want to ring in the new year in style, Reader’s Digest offers 20 themed party ideas that can keep things interesting for small groups of almost any age — game nights, pajama parties and so on.

Weather permitting, the safest way for groups made up of members of different households to celebrate is outdoors. A socially distanced bonfire, beach walk or campout might make a memorable way to ring in 2022.

Another option exists for those worn out by 2021: Get comfortable, order some food, binge-watch a show and relax. You may even choose to go to bed well ahead of the ball drop in Times Square.

Or you could begin a #clutter-free new year one day early by taking down all of those #holiday #decorations and storing the ones you’ll want to use next year. Set aside the extras and contact ClothingDonations.org for a free #donation #pickup.

Consider it an early start to your #spring cleaning and part of your #resolution to be more #organized in the new year. Happy New Year from the Vietnam Veterans of America and ClothingDonations.org!

Make or Thrift Last-Minute Gifts

What’s more #sustainable than a #gift you make yourself? Food items are ideal — your homemade cookies and candies will be consumed without creating lots of #clutter or landfill waste. If you have a knack for sewing, woodworking or another craft, use it (quickly) to create a one-of-a-kind gift. You can also find lightly used household items (glassware, tchotchkes, gifts, games, etc.) to give at the #secondhand stores supplied by ClothingDonations.org. You’ll be helping #veterans and shopping local — while checking those last-minute gifts off your list. #SustainableShopping #LastMinuteGifts

Give Subscriptions to Keep on Giving

If you’re stuck for a #gift idea and want to give something the recipient will enjoy all year long, there’s now a subscription serivce to suit everyone’s tastes. The Strategist suggests a number of bespoke boxes for foodies, wine aficionados and coffee addicts; the beauty-obsessed and fashionistas; avid readers, gamers and outdoorspersons; and doting pet and plant parents. Prices vary, but gift boxes offer multiple months of discovery and delight. Just remind your giftees to #recycle or #reuse the carboard boxes that arrive on their porches every month. #SustainableShopping #LastMinuteGifts

Celebrate Wreaths Across America Day With VVA

Saturday, Dec. 18, is now officially Wreaths Across America Day thanks to the passage of a Senate resolution introduced by Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King. It’s the first national recognition of a movement that has been active for three decades, placing wreaths on the graves of veterans nationwide during the holiday season.

“We have Veterans Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, but our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedoms,” Wreaths Across America (WAA) says. “In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.”

Wreaths Across America began 30 years ago when Maine wreathmaker Morrill Worcester delivered 5,000 wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia as a gesture of thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting their country. This year, a convoy of Gold Star families, veterans and well-wishers will transport 12 truckloads of wreaths to the national cemetery, making stops at multiple events along the way.

“For those who have had the opportunity to participate in the escort of wreaths over the years, it is truly an experience of a lifetime,” says Karen Worcester, WAA’s executive director. “This year, we’re hoping that supporters will once again join us in lining the roadways safely and welcome the mission into their communities.”

If you can’t make it to Arlington or a location along the convoy route, consider joining one of the more than 3,100 Wreaths Across America events to be held across the country on Dec. 18. Vietnam Veterans of America chapters help stage many local WAA functions each year as part of their civic fundraising efforts.

“Wreaths Across America is a powerful demonstration of respect and appreciation for our veterans — both those that we’ve lost and those still with us,” Sens. Collins and King said in a joint statement. “We are so proud that this heartfelt expression of gratitude originated in our great state and has become an enduring symbol of our nation’s gratitude for veterans’ valor and sacrifice.”

Visit Wreaths Across America to find out more, sponsor a wreath or get involved at the local level. Visit VVA on the web to find out about nearby chapter initiatives and #donate. And consider #donating to ClothingDonations.org this holiday season. The nation’s #veterans and veteran families appreciate the recognition and support. Happy Holidays!