Christmas Organizing

Turkey Talk Hotlines: Call, Click or Tweet for Holiday Meal Help!

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Has the upcoming Thanksgiving meal created chaos in the holiday kitchen? This year, get help--online, by phone or through Twitter--with all your Thanksgiving turkey problems!

Whether you need to know about thawing times, stuffing recommendations, cooking methods or problem solving, try these resources for holiday cooking questions:

By Phone:

  • The Foster Farms Turkey Helpline is staffed 24 hours a day through November 30. Call with your questions at 800-255-7227.
  • Get turkey cooking tips and solutions from the Butterball Hot Line at 800-288-8372. Staffers answer the phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through December.
  • The Honeysuckle White Consumer Affairs Office offers turkey assistance weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST at 800-532-5756. Office will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • Find answers to food safety questions at the U.S.D.A. Meat and Poultry Hotline, open 8 a.m to 2 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day, 888-674-6854

Online:

  • Check Butterball.com's Holiday Planning Guide for a wide range of cooking helps. Includes portion planners, shopping lists, cooking guidelines and leftover suggestions.
  • Get everything you need to know about your holiday turkey at Honeysuckle White's Turkey Basics site. Tips, frequently asked questions and food safety pointers.
  • Bring a gleaming bird to the table with Foster Farms Turkey Tips. Includes advice for cooking methods, carving and serving the holiday turkey.

Via Social Networking:

Save on Thanksgiving Dinner? Beat The Holiday Grocery Game

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During the holiday season, department stores, catalog retailers and online sellers aren't the only businesses anxiously queuing up for a slice of the fourth-quarter pie, i.e. your holiday wallet. Been grocery shopping lately?

What a difference a few days makes! By November, Halloween's candy displays have given way to a maze of buy-me buy-me holiday foodstuffs.

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Give Thanks: Last Minute Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

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American families will gather this week to celebrate Thanksgiving. Spark your holiday with these last-minute gift and craft ideas!

With free printable gift tags and bag toppers, these Thanksgiving snack mix gifts are easy to make.

Share them with guests, bring them to the workplace, or use as table favors:

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You've Been Elf-ed! Start A Neighborhood Holiday Tradition

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Have you been Elf-ed? Join the fun with this Christmas version of the Halloween BOO game.

Sometimes called "You've Been Jingled", "You've Been Elf-ed!" is easy to play.

Sometime before Christmas, one neighbor starts the game, secretly leaving a basket of treats together with an Elf sign and Elf poem explaining how to play the game.

Ring the doorbell and run! It's the best part of You've Been Elf-ed!

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Blessings Mix Tutorial: Make Seasonal Gift Mix Treats

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Have you shared your blessings with a Blessings Mix?

Small bags of snack mix with a seasonal theme, each ingredient in Blessings Mix reminds us of our blessings.

Inexpensive and easy to make, holiday Blessings Mix gifts have graced dinner tables, classrooms and offices the world around.

Use them as table favors, workplace gifts or party treats at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or to celebrate American holidays such as Independence Day or Veterans Day--and bring home the values that underlie each occasion.

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Whose House for the Holidays?

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Judging from my e-mail, what's the single biggest holiday family conundrum? "Whose house for the holidays?" wins, hands down.

It's a universal dilemma for young parents. It's a universal dilemma for their own parents. Where will the "children" spend the holidays?

Shiny new parents of a baby or two yearn to create their own at-home holiday. Their own parents struggle to keep the family together, and preferably at their house.

My own chair sits smack dab in the middle. My children are grown, and I'm a grandmother of a young grandsons.

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Sew Simple Gift: Make a Hanging Potholder Dishtowel

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Craft a pretty kitchen towel for all seasons with this sew simple craft: a hanging potholder dishtowel. Designed to button around an oven handle or towel bar, it's a useful, festive gift.

Using coordinated kitchen linens for this project, you'll need only a potholder, a kitchen towel, a button and some basic sewing skills to create this colorful holiday gift.

With materials for each towel priced at just over $1.50 at the dollar store, you'll bless your budget. Better, each towel takes 15 minutes or less to craft, so it's perfect for busy schedules.

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Simplify Season's Greetings: Using Computers To Send Christmas Cards

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As an online old-timer, I can attest to this fact: few subjects stir as much controversy as computers and Christmas cards.

The questions come year after year. Should we use the computer to address the cards? Write a Christmas letter on inkjet letterhead?

What about pre-printed signatures? Is it okay to use e-mail to send holiday greetings?

What's the right-and-wrong of harnessing computer technology to make it easier to send Christmas cards and holiday letters?

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Frugal Feasts: Save Money on Holiday Meals

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"Frugal" holiday meals? Something of a conundrum, isn't it? The very nature of holiday meals is to express the value of abundance.

Finances, on the other hand, have definite limits--and never so much as during the holiday season.

Take heart! It's possible to serve bountiful--yet frugal--holiday meals with a bit of care and forethought.

Consider these tips to plan holiday menus without breaking the bank:

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Gift Closet Guide: Get Organized for Frugal Gifts and Giving!

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We should all have a friend like my friend Joyce. No matter what the occasion, she comes up with the perfect gift--even at short notice.

Her wrapped packages are lavish and lovely, her cards are sweet and well-chosen--and she does it on a budget and without last-minute dashes to the shopping mall. Her secret?

A gift closet.

It's a concept we love here at Organized Christmas: a dedicated space in the household to store gift items, gift wrap and cards. A gift closet holds a stockpile of gift items and everything needed to wrap and present them.

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House and Holidays Plan Week 12: Dining Space

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America celebrates Thanksgiving next week, gathering family and friends around the dining table. This week in the House and Holidays Plan, we’ll see to it that the celebration takes place in a clean and organized dining area.

Holiday prep focuses on preparing the kitchen for Thanksgiving—and the holiday meals to come. We’ll shop for bargains on freezer and pantry staples. Thinking ahead to December’s busy nights, we’ll stockpile freezer meals for use later in the season.

Finally, this is the week we plan holiday entertaining, so put on a festive mood as we follow the House and Holidays Plan.

Dining Space Week Assignments

Make a Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper for Thanksgiving

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Blessings are popping up all over for Thanksgiving? Celebrate them with this free printable Thanksgiving topper for Jiffy Pop® popcorn!

Add our free printable template to a package of Jiffy Pop® brand pop-in-pan popcorn for an easy "popcorn topper" craft gift.

Shared with family, friends or co-workers, it's an inexpensive way to share the blessings of the Thanksgiving season.

How To Make Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Toppers

Thanksgiving Jiffy Pop Popcorn Topper Template

Clutter-Free Gift Solution: Think Consumable!

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Gift-giving. Seldom do we engage in an activity that invokes so many conflicting values.

On the one hand, we hope our gift will entertain, educate, and amuse.

We dream of seeing our special gift proudly displayed in the home of the recipient.

We hunt and search and shop, trying to find just the right gift to stand for the relationship we're celebrating.

On the other hand, gift-buying brings us up against our limitations. While our emotions urge extravagance, our wallets counsel frugality.

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Cutting Costs? Try These Christmas Cheats For Frugal Gifts

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If the local newscast (egged on by local retail merchants) tells me one more time exactly how many "shopping days" are left until Christmas, I'll scream!

For busy home managers, there are never enough days to shop for/buy/craft/bake gifts for family and friends--and this year of all years, disposable income is in short supply for many of us.

Solution: Christmas Cheats. These spending short-cuts save time, money, energy and aggravation during the holiday season. With clever solutions for gift-giving, they're the frugal way to celebrate like Santa but spend like Scrooge.

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Layered Mix Success: Tips for Making Gifts in a Jar

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Interested in making layered baking mixes in a jar?

While pretty, these gift mix recipes can leave people asking lots of questions.

How do you get all the ingredients into the jar? How do you make sure the finished product tastes as good as it looks? How far ahead can you make these gifts?

You've got questions? We've got answers! Try these tips for successful Mason jar gifts.

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Print, Cut, Celebrate: Cupcake Pan Advent Calendar

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Count down the days to Christmas with this easy printable craft: a cupcake pan Advent calendar!

Using a 24-count mini-cupcake pan as a base, colorful magnets printed on inkjet magnet sheets hide a treat for each December day before Christmas.

Best, free printable magnet designs make it easy to create this holiday craft project. Choose your favorite design to create a quick family tradition!

Our photo tutorial will have you crafting your cupcake pan advent calendar in record time. Print, cut and celebrate!

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No More UFOs! Get-Em-Done Strategies for Handmade Holiday Gifts

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Scanning a list of handmade craft gifts is something like reading a cookbook: it makes you hungry!

Whether you wander the crafts store, settle in at the library's craft bookshelf, or flip through holiday magazines, visions of bright and beautiful gifts follow one after the other. Will this be the year you give hand-crafted gifts ... to everyone?

Give in to the impulse to overload on holiday crafts projects, and you're likely to find yourself drowning in UFOs: Un-Finished Objects.

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Magic Elf Tradition: Will Santa's Magic Elf Visit Your Home?

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What would happen if one of Santa's elves came to your house to visit?

He'd arrive sometime before the holidays began. Sent by Santa to check on good little girls and boys, he'd roam the house at night, popping up in the most unlikely places come morning.

Sometimes, elf mischief would take place--and he'd be caught red-handed! Finally, on Christmas Eve, he'd report to Santa and hitch a ride back to the North Pole ... until next year.

If you can imagine it, you can do it: meet Santa's Magic Elf!

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Set Up a Wrap and Mail Center

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Wrapping gifts for the holidays? Repeat after me: "This year, I won't be wrapping gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve!"

If there's a single most-underestimated holiday chore, it's gift wrapping.

Supplies lie scattered throughout the house, while space and privacy are hard to come by.

Translation: late-night Christmas Eve wrapping sessions, grumbling your way through the job.

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