December 2017 Wrap Up

December 2017 was all about getting back to some form of normality after November's trip home, and it also saw us celebrate our first ever Christmas and New Year in the United States. Hello, snow!

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I'll make a small commission. They're for books from Amazon, and they're clearly marked. Thanks for feeding my inner bookworm. For more info, read my disclosure.)


December 2017 wrap-up post for

On The Site –- December 2017

{As usual, pinks are links, and click the pics to be taken to the post.}

With the festivities in full swing, it was a reasonably quiet month on the site. All the same, I kickstarted December 2017 by churning out the most time-consuming post I've ever published. I disguised it as a gift guide but really it was just an excuse for me to swoon over stationery. As if I needed one! πŸ˜‰

With the mess that photoshoot created, and with the inevitable influx of more stuff, things started to get a little chaotic around the house. I turned my thoughts to a Christmas cleaning routine that would help me whip things into shape. The beauty of it is that the 10 steps can be adjusted to either a deep clean or a quick zip-round, depending on how much time and energy you have available to you. (In this house, both are pretty lacking around this time of year.)

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Stationery Lovers | Looking for gift ideas for the stationery addict in your life? Try these top picks | Planner addict | Planner nerd | planners
Christmas Cleaning Routine | 10 simple steps to get your home ready for the holidays

Then, whether or not you believe January 1st is an arbitrary date, I came up with a list of 9 things to do before the new year. Even if you're arriving a little late to the party, take a peek anyway and I bet you can still benefit. Each of these is designed for you to tie up loose ends, strengthen relationships, improve your health, and ensure your safety, so start anytime.

Things To Do Before The New Year | 9 Things To Do Before 2018

Afterwards I took a bit of a break to celebrate the festive season and spend time with my family. 

On YouTube –- December 2017

I'll admit that, since I've gone minimalist, Christmas just hasn't held the same magic for me. I do still appreciate the season, but with all the presents and decorations around the place, I can't help but long for clear floors and countertops again.

With that in mind, I thought it was only fitting to include a clutter-free gift guide. I've listed some of the best gifts you can give that won't just take up space in someone's home. No more feeling guilty that your gift basket will end up gathering dust. I bet there's at least one thing on this list that you'd never thought of, but that would make a great gift for someone you love.

After that, I shared some steps to prep your home for guests. It's not specifically Christmas-themed so, whatever time of year you've got guests coming, you'll be ready.

I also shared the video version of my 9 things to do before 2018. I had loads of fun recording this one, and it reminded me to include a bit more humour in my videos. One of the driving forces behind my business is that personal development shouldn't be stuffy and boring. I like to liven things up a little when I can. πŸ™‚

Then I uploaded a surprise video on the Saturday before Christmas, just to keep you on your toes. πŸ˜‰ It was my #StopStartContinue video, to help you set goals that actually fit your lifestyle.

And finally, sticking with the New Year theme, I shared some resolutions that are actually meaningful and will enrich your life in some way, as well as touching the lives of those around you. It's time to break away from the generic goals and, instead, stick with things that will truly make a difference. Best thing? They're all pretty easy to achieve.

So, what can you expect from the channel in 2018? Well, more videos, for a start! I'm hoping to put up two a week – my regular one on Thursdays and an additional one on Saturdays. I can't wait to share more tips and advice this coming year, and to hang out with all of you in the comments.

If you want to get in on all the action, hit that subscribe button below. πŸ™‚

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Social Media Stats -- December 2017

  • twitter
    Twitter: β€‹1,075 followers.

HowToGYST HQ (AKA Home) –- December 2017

Apart from the fact that it was our first Christmas in the States, it was also our first time cutting down our own tree. I had my doubts about the whole affair but Sam talked me into it and it turned out to be a great day. Hurray for family bonding time!

December 2017 wrap-up post for – cutting down Christmas tree with Scout and Sam, Corsi Tree Farm

Sadly, our tree barely made it through the holiday season (Sam blames the tropical temperatures I like to set the central heating to) and by December 27th we'd already hauled it out to the street to be taken away. But let's just say it didn't go peacefully, and Sam has sworn blind that, next year, we're getting an artificial tree. I'll believe it when I see it. πŸ˜‰

December 2017 wrap-up post for – ring of needles from Christmas tree on floor

Of course, no December would be complete without a visit to the big man himself. Scout had no recollection of having met him the previous year so it was all very "new" to her. I brought her to the local Christmas festival and, as well as seeing Santa, we played games, ate muffins and candy canes, watched an ice sculptor at work, rode a horse-drawn carriage (twice), and saw them switch on the Christmas lights. It was a lovely way to spend the day.

December 2017 wrap-up post for – Christmas Festival at Anderson Towne Centre, Scout sitting in Santa's sleigh, with Santa and elves

A few days before Christmas, Scout asked me for a box. When I asked why, she said she wanted to give some of her toys to other boys and girls. A chip off the ol' block, that one, and a sweetheart to boot.

December 2017 wrap-up post for – Scout in red Christmas dress

The big day itself turned out to be a white one, and Scout was very excited by it all. Even though we do occasionally get snow in Ireland, it's been a few years so she's never actually seen it in real life. She ran outside with her tongue out shouting, "I've never tasted snow before!" 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I want to live my life – barreling towards adventure with a carefree spirit and a curious soul.

December 2017 wrap-up post for – Scout playing in the snow

My focus for the latter part of December 2017 was getting the house back on track (the last few decorations were packed up and put away on New Year's Eve) and planning for the coming year. I'm ready for you, 2018 (but please go easy on me).

What I Read In December 2017

(Contains Amazon affiliate links which means that if you buy through my link, I'll earn a small commission on the sale... and use it to buy more books. Hurray! For more info, read my disclosure.)

I did it! I hit my reading goal for the year! My target was 50 and I just about squeezed past it with 51. πŸ™‚

  • book
    "On Writing" by Stephen King. The first third of the book was not what I was expecting. Instead, it turned out to be an autobiographical account of "the making of a writer", i.e. King's childhood and younger years, and his eventual evolution into a successful, published author. While it was unexpected, it was still interesting, and the remainder of the book focused on why I'd picked it up in the first place – practical tips for better writing. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking to improve their skills, regardless of whether you're a fan of King or not. (If not, maybe skip the first third and head straight for the sound advice.)
  • book
    "INFJoe" by... well, INFJoe (real name Aaron Caycedo-Kimura). It's a brief synopsis of what it's like to be an introvert, largely in illustrated format, making it a very quick read.
  • book
    "Introvert Doodles" by Maureen "Marzi" Wilson. Another illustrated book. Truthfully, having followed the @introvertdoodles Instagram account for so long, I felt I'd already seen the vast majority of the book's content. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it and remain a fan of fellow introvert, Marzi.
  • book
    "You Do You" by Sarah Knight. You all know I love me some Sarah Knight. This is her third book and, unlike its predecessors, I felt this one was a lot more anecdotal than prescriptive. That's not to say there aren't some gems in here (who doesn't want to learn the 5 ways not to be a psychopath), so if you feel your confidence and self-worth needs a bit of a boost, and you don't mind your advice sprinkled liberally with swearing (and I'm guessing you don't or you wouldn't be here), pick it up. If she doesn't sort you out, she'll at least make you laugh along the way.

It's been an incredible year. I'll have a wrap-up post for you tomorrow for the entire year of 2017 but, suffice it to say, I never thought I'd be where I am right now!

2018 is sure to bring lots more exciting things, some of which I'm already planning for, and I bet there'll be a few surprises along the way too.

In the meantime, I wish you a very happy, peaceful, and safe New Year.

2018's about to be the best year yet!

I have to know, though, do you prefer a real or artificial Christmas tree?

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  1. Artificial. So artificial, it is in fact a picture of a tree on my special Xmas mug that I take out only for Xmas. Setup and clean up is a breeze πŸ˜‰

  2. Artificial, because it saves tons of $, cleanup is easier and there is less chance of fire. You know, you have to water them too. It saves a tree a year, literally. With artificial, I can avoid all the fuss and muss and use my rotating tree stand too, which is awesome.

    • Preaching to the choir, sister. But whenever I point out all the benefits to my husband, he simply comes back with the lack of real tree smell. >.<

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