Organized Christmas

Seasonal Storage Tip: Make a Holiday Stragglers Box

   January 19, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Christmas has come and gone ... or has it?

Lights are stored, the tree is down, and holiday decor rests in boxes in the storage area, waiting for next year.

Then you turn the corner and spot an overlooked Santa, shining on top of the piano.

In the refrigerator, the holiday butter dish hides the last remnants of a stick of butter. Holiday linens, napkins and kitchen towels pop up in the laundry area this week, next week and the week after.

Organized Christmas? Easy Tips to Get Ready For Next Year

   January 18, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Christmas is here ... but you're not ready? The e-mails in my inbox tell the story: "I wish I'd found this site earlier!"

During this time of year, I hear from scores of readers who came looking for holiday help at the height of the celebration-and faced with the reality of Christmas chaos.

Stumbling over our site, they see that it's possible to be organized--and joyous--during the holidays. They just wish they'd found us in time!

So say you're starting now, to think about next year. What's the secret to a stress-free season? Plan ahead!

Post-Holiday Debriefing: Get Organized for Next Christmas

   January 18, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

It's over for another year!

Wild and woolly or sane and sedate, we've passed through the holiday season and into a new year. Breath caught, it's time to debrief.

You know debriefing, right? The astronauts do it, spies do it, pilots do it: a measured after-the fact evaluation of the mission or flight.

Smart holiday planners should do it, too--because taking time now to note what worked, what didn't will be a road map to a more organized Christmas next year.

Keeping New Year's Resolutions: New Year, New You!

   December 30, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

New Year's Eve ... a festive beginning to a new year. It's a good time to take stock and decide to move toward a happier, more organized life.

But too often, what looks so easy as the minute hand approaches midnight falls away in the cold light of January days.

For most of us, New Year's resolutions die a slow and quiet death. They're tossed aside, along with the party hats and noisemakers.

As January winds down, so does motivation, energy and desire for change.

Get Organized for the New Year: Post-Christmas Clean-Up!

   December 30, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Ready to start the New Year from a clean and clutter-free home? Try these post-Christmas clean-up tips from sister site, Organized Home.

These simple, do-it-now strategies can reduce clutter and conquer Christmas chaos. We like this one:

Sort Before You Stow

Once the New Year arrives, most families take down holiday decorations and store them for the following year--but too often, there's a sense of "sling it in there and worry about it later" when it comes to putting away Christmas ornaments, holiday linens and outdoor lighting.

This year, pay it forward: sort and declutter holiday decorations, linens and specialty cooking items as you store them. Cut the non-working, the tattered, and the tired from the herd as you put away holiday decorations. Has-been decor items can be recycled or donated; stained linens can be repurposed as cleaning cloths.

Streamline holiday decorating next year: sort before you stow!

Post-Christmas Clean-Up

Chill Chaser: Make A Winter Warmer Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper

   December 20, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

It's a cheery gift for a dreary day: a Winter Warmer Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper!

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

Paired with Snowman Soup, you'll bring warmth and fun to a wintry day!

How To Make Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Toppers

Printable Winter Warmer Popcorn Topper Template

Tiny Christmas Craft: Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

   December 20, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Simple, no-bake Graham Cracker Mini-Houses are a sweet holiday treat. Use them as place cards for holiday meals, or hang them as ornaments on the Christmas tree.

Decorations are applied while pieces are flat, then pieces are assembled with melted bark coating in a plastic squeeze bottle.

While an adult should trim the graham cracker sections, decorating and assembling is easy enough for kids.

Makes 10 - 20 houses, depending on breakage and number of crackers.

Puzzler Puzzle Mat: Make-It-Now Gift

   December 19, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Every parent knows the story: jigsaw puzzles are fun to work, but tough to work around. What's the solution to tying up table tops or floor space with a puzzle in progress?

Its a Puzzler! This one-seam easy-sew puzzle mat allows puzzles to be worked at will, then rolled up and stowed away between play sessions. It's crafted from a short length of craft felt and a recycled gift wrap roller.

Make them in multiples for the holidays. The Puzzler puzzle mat is perfect for teacher gifts. Paired with a new jigsaw puzzle, the Puzzler Puzzle Mat makes a special family gift.

Blizzard Bites In A Jar

   December 18, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Crunchy and sweet, this no-bake snack mix in a jar is easy to make and fun to give.

To make Blizzard Bites, you'll layer crunchy cereal, pretzels and peanuts with tangy dried cranberries and candied pineapple in a Mason jar or canning jar, then add meltable white-chocolate chips.

To make Blizzard Bites snack mix, recipients melt white chocolate chips and coat the snack mixture with a sweet holiday topping. It's simple ... and sweet!

A great gift for teachers, Secret Santa exchanges or 12 Days of Christmas activities. Make it easy with free printable gift tags!

Candy Cane Soup: Tutorial for Hot Chocolate In A Cone

   December 17, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Ready to give a Christmas spin to a seasonal favorite, Snowman Soup?

Try Candy Cane Soup, layered hot chocolate in a cone!

A larger gift than single-packet Snowman Soup, Candy Cane Soup layers three or four servings of hot chocolate mix, fixings and a candy cane packaged in cone-shaped treat bags or disposable cake decorating bags.

Package this family-sized stocking stuffer in gift bags, add to movie gift baskets, or pair with a plate of Christmas cookies for an easy seasonal gift.

Choose your favorite printable gift tag to makes your handmade holiday gift sparkle!

Tips for Holiday Season Travel

   December 17, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Will you visit family or take a Christmas holiday?

Between tight security, cramped airports and busy highways, holiday-season travel can be a big source of Christmas stress.

Whether you're flying or driving, being prepared means you'll be better able to roll with the inevitable punches.

Try these tips to keep the “happy” in holiday travel:

Candy Cane Bath Salts In A Jar

   December 16, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Looking for an easy, inexpensive holiday gift? Pretty layered bath salts make a perfect gift for teens, co-workers or teachers. Sparked with the holiday scent of peppermint, Candy Cane Bath Salts are a seasonal treat.

Makes 12 gift jars at a cost approximately $1.50 per jar.

Free printable Candy Cane Bath Salts can be used as a hanging tag, or trimmed to fit beneath the outer ring of a Mason jar lid.

Child's Journal in a Jar: Printable Journaling Prompts

   December 12, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Spark young writers with a clever non-food gift in a jar: a Child's Journal in a Jar!

This set of colorful journaling prompts asks simple, kid-friendly questions. Cut, folded and tucked into a mason jar, you'll create a Journal in a Jar to turn journaling sessions into fun!

We've made it easy to craft your Child's Journal Jar. These free printable prompts include colorful legends and graphics to make a pretty gift.

Add a free printable gift tag to your Journal in a Jar for a professional touch. Perfect for teacher gifts, stocking stuffers or Secret Santa!

Make-Ahead Holiday Gift: Melt-and-Pour Soap

   December 12, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

You've seen them everywhere from crafts fairs to bath boutiques: pretty handmade gift soaps. Clear and colorful or rich with natural additives for beautiful skin, they're a welcome holiday gift.

Best of all, they're easy to make using melt-and-pour soap. Heated in the microwave, clear or opaque glycerin soap base is combined with colorants and fragrances, then poured into molds to harden. When cool, soaps pop right out of the molds, ready to use.

Follow the soap-making tips and soap starter projects linked below to help you master this squeaky-clean craft.

Haystacks: No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

   December 12, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Each year, our family would wait eagerly for my grandparents' box of Christmas treats. This recipe was my grandfather's contribution: Haystacks. But we called these easy, unbaked chocolate-oatmeal cookies "Gramps Goodies"!

Chocolate bundles of crunchy rolled oats, crisp coconut and plump pecans, these traditional Christmas favorites are easy to make ... and this candy freezes well if properly packaged.

Reindeer Poop: A Silly Stocking Stuffer To Make

   December 11, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice, so what does he leave for naughty little girls and boys? Reindeer Poop!

A silly stocking stuffer (of dubious taste!), Reindeer Poop is easy to make with this simple recipe, Reindeer Poop poem, and free printable Reindeer Poop gift tags.

Mix up a batch today to get a seasonal giggle from coworkers or family members.

Candy Cane Reindeer

   December 11, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

He's sweet, sassy, and easy enough for children to make: a Candy Cane Reindeer!

Our little Candy Cane Reindeer makes a great craft project for school, scouts, church groups or Secret Santa gifts.

Using candy canes, chenille stems and google eyes from the craft store, Candy Cane Reindeer make great stocking stuffers--or add them to holiday gift wrap for a sweet touch!

M&M Cookies In A Jar

   December 10, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Child-friendly, fun craft gift, M&M Cookies in a Jar is perfect for teacher gifts, Secret Santa or stocking stuffers! For a holiday touch, use M&M-brand chocolate candies in seasonal colors.

Our free printable gift tag carries out the M&M-brand theme! Bold and bright, this two-sided tag comes in three lively colors. Print and fold to create this colorful gift-in-a-jar.

Welcome Home ... for the Holidays!

   December 10, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

The approach of the holidays! There's nothing quite like it to turn our hearts toward home.

Literally. The first week in December could be termed "Housing Dissatisfaction Week." It's a little-known seasonal indicator of the coming of winter--and it afflicts many of us as we plan Christmas celebrations.

Look around. What do you see? Dirty carpets. Furniture that's seen better days. Mismatched china, cluttered kitchens, drab and bedraggled window coverings.

Adult Journal in a Jar: Make-Ahead Gift to Print

   December 9, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Looking for an easy make-ahead holiday gift? It's a journal in a jar!

Jumpstart journal writers with a quart-sized canning jar filled with folded strips of paper. Each one contains a single thought provoking journal prompt. Paired with a pretty blank book, a Journal Jar makes a great gift.

We've made it easy to craft your Journal Jar. Free printable journal prompts have colorful legends and graphics to make a pretty gift. Add a free printable gift tag for a professional touch.

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