Organized Christmas

Snowman Soup: Recipe For Warming Winter Gift

Warm the hearts of good little boys and girls with a packet of Snowman Soup!

Take a single-serving package of hot chocolate mix, chocolate candy kiss, marshmallows and candy cane, package in a mug or holiday-themed goody bag, then add a free printable gift tag or bag topper for a cheery winter gift.

Easy enough for children to make, Snowman Soup is perfect for stocking stuffers, office gifts, Secret Santa presents or 12 Days of Christmas gifts.

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Make Christmas A Family Affair

Who knows why? How did it happen? Women--wives and mothers--have come to bear the brunt of holiday preparation.

It's enough to make Barry Manilow sing! Women plan the meals, list the gifts and shop until we drop. We cook, we clean, we decorate--and we wrap and wrap and wrap.

Our hands cramp from addressing Christmas cards. We go short on sleep to run the sewing machine late into the night. We rise before dawn to anoint the holiday bird and entrust it to the oven.

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House and Holidays Plan Week 14: Decor Storage

December arrives this week and with it, the fullness of the holiday season. This week in the House and Holidays Plan, decorations shine bright as we prepare a welcome home for the holiday season.

As we remove decorations from storage, we’ll focus on the storage space they call home the other eleven months of the year.

In holiday prep, the season moves toward full swing with the coming of Advent. It’s time to plan holiday traditions, complete gift shopping, mail send-away gifts and work on holiday decorating.

Decor Storage Week Assignments

Control Christmas Tree Clutter with an Under-Tree Storage Box

Christmas is a time of cheer ... and clutter! You'll find Christmas clutter lining each box and storage bin as you pull out holiday decorations.

An ornament box spills over with hanging hooks and zip ties. The tiny red-tipped light bulbs you need to make light strands blink. Special tools and assembly sheets for your "nevergreen" artificial tree. The dandy gun-shaped light tester, complete with instructions and replacement bulbs. Left to their own devices, they scatter around the house, never to be found when you need them--but popping up to haunt you right into the new year.

How to bring order to Christmas clutter? An under-tree storage box.

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Magic Reindeer Food: Printable Stocking Stuffer

Many families leave cookies and milk for Santa, but what about his reindeer?

Sprinkled on the lawn on Christmas Eve, Magic Reindeer Food leaves a glittering path--and a sweet snack--for Rudolph and friends.

An inexpensive stocking stuffer, Magic Reindeer Food makes a great classroom or Secret Santa gift.

Package this simple recipe in zipper food storage bags, and add a free printable gift tag containing the Magic Reindeer Food poem to make Magic Reindeer Food easy to make--and to give.

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Seven Tips for Sparkling Christmas Letters

Christmas is coming, holiday cards and letters fill the mailbox--and it's time to write your family's annual Christmas letter.

Want your letter to stand out from the crowd? Looking for ways to spice up the same-old, same-old Christmas greeting?

Try these seven tips for a sparkling holiday letter.

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Save on Decor: Frugal Holiday Decorating Tips

Nothing says "Christmas!" like a beautifully decorated home. Fragrant greens, twinkling lights, holiday centerpieces all set the stage for a merry holiday season.

But at what cost?

If you believe catalog vendors, department stores and florists, be prepared to lay down a bundle to create that holiday home. Each year sees a set of new colors, new images, new trends, all designed to part you from your holiday dollars.

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Blizzard Bites In A Jar

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!

November Rudolph Club Meeting

Welcome to the Rudolph Club: your once-a-month meeting to simplify your holidays and get organized for Christmas!

At Organized Christmas, we know that the holiday season can be fast and furious. Solution? Take a day once each month throughout the year to plan and prepare for a more-organized holiday season.

On the 25th of each month, we'll bring simple assignments and easy tips to try now for a simpler, more joyous season. Over the year, you'll tackle planning and preparations to make the season lighter, brighter and less stressful come December.

November's meeting sets the stage for one final holiday prep chore: writing holiday letters.

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Easy Holiday Gift: Chocolate Coffee Spoons

A simple gift for the coffee lover in your life, Chocolate Coffee Spoons will give a sweet taste of mocha to the morning brew.

Wrap these chocolate-dipped spoons in holiday cellophane, add a pretty ribbon and stand several on-end in a new coffee mug for a quick, homemade gift ... that's sure to please.

Bundle them with a packet of Snowman Soup for an easy stocking stuffer!

Try these recipe variations:

Freezer Garlic Mashed Potatoes

A little-known trick to calm holiday cooking stress? Make-ahead dishes for the freezer. Cooked and stored ahead of time, freezer side dishes free up time for the holiday cook.

But can you get perfect creamy texture ... from frozen potatoes? Potatoes look watery before freezing, but the water will be absorbed as they bake.

While it is possible to substitute russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes yield a more flavorful dish. A Ewer family favorite!

Christmas Organizing Secret: Try A Tear File!

Christmas magazines and catalogs are fabulous resources for seasonal decorating, gift ideas, and Christmas recipes—but en masse, they can become too much of a good thing.

When the piles avalanche from every side table, finding an article or a recipe that caught your eye a few weeks ago can be an impossible job.

How do you keep all that good information without being crushed by stacks or drowning in paper? Answer: a set of tear files.

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A Perfect Christmas?

"Oh, to have a perfect Christmas!"

This potent illusion grabs us by the throat sometime in September. It lifts only on the afternoon of December 25, in concert with the 3 p.m. Christmas post-gift letdown.

It's a fancy subscribed to by many well-meaning holiday planners. It sells one heck of a lot of Christmas magazines.

To my dismay, it may even have motivated you to join the Christmas Countdown!

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House and Holidays Plan Week 13: Entry Space

This week, America is thankful! Celebrated with family and friends, Thanksgiving Day marks the opening of the holiday season. It’s a week for food, family and fun.

In the Houseworks Holiday Plan, we’ll clean, declutter and prepare the entryway for holiday guests. Holiday prep centers on the Thanksgiving celebration: we’ll plan and prepare Thanksgiving dinner, shop for holiday gifts at the Black Friday sales, and begin to decorate for the holiday season.

It’s time to open the door to the holiday season!

Entry Space Week Assignments

Holiday Grand Plan Week 13: Dining Room

Deadline week! Week Thirteen, Dining Room Week, sees us move into the holiday season, and it's time for a reality check.

Thanksgiving Day falls on Thursday for our American friends and ushers in the holiday season, so this week's cleaning and organizing focus is the dining room. Holiday prep chores center on Thanksgiving and turn to planning the celebration ahead.

Ready? Let's get organized with Dining Room Week in the Holiday Grand Plan!

Dining Room Week at the Holiday Grand Plan

Mason Jar Recipes: Holiday Ideas for Gifts In A Jar

Gifts in a jar! These frugal consumable gifts feature bath salts, cookie ingredients, holiday beverage mixes, baking mixes or bean soup fixings layered in a glass canning jar, or Mason jar.

Mason jar recipes make easy homemade Christmas gifts. Topped with a colorful fabric circle and a free printable gift tag, they're a welcome holiday treat.

We've got all you need to know to make gifts in a jar. Get started with our instructions, tips and mason jar recipes for holiday giving. Printable gift tags make it easy to craft a special holiday gift!

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Save Time With Holiday Baking: Make It A Specialty!

Food and the holidays go hand-in-hand! Holiday cooking magazines are among the first signs of an approaching holiday season.

Sumptuous desserts, winsome cookies, glowing turkeys warm our images of Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.

But oh! My aching feet! Even those of us who lead a Little Debbie life from January to November succumb to holiday baking madness. Cookies. Breads. Pies. Candy. It wouldn't be the holidays without them--but isn't there any way around the baking chores?

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Holiday Survival Kit: Six Last-Minutes Additions For Your Shopping List

The holidays are here, with wall-to-wall shoppers at the supermarket. Who wants to have to join them?

Instead, assemble a holiday survival kit. Before you shop for the holiday meal, check supplies of these often-forgotten items for your holiday gathering.

Pencil these items into your regular shopping list--and save a last-minute trip. They'll keep the fun in the festivities!

  • Automatic Dishwasher Detergent. Hosting a holiday gathering means lots (and lots and LOTS) of dirty dishes. If you use an automatic dishwasher, be sure it's stocked and ready to roll!
  • Club Soda. It's the non-caloric drink of choice with a squeeze of lime ... but an extra bottle can be a cleaning lifesaver when applied to the inevitable spilled food. Use it to blot fresh wine, gravy or pie stains for tablecloth or carpet first aid.
  • Paper Towels. Unfamiliar cooking routines, helpers washing their hands and little-kid clean-ups can burn through a roll of paper towels in record time. Keep a backup waiting!
  • Toilet Paper. If it's "just us chickens", a missing roll is no big problem. Not so when you've got a house full. Avoid red faces with a fresh supply!
  • Camera Batteries. Don't make the family wait to dive into the feast (while the cameraman raids the childrens' toys for fresh batteries). Stock up or charge rechargeables now.
  • Sandwich Bread. What's the number-one reason for a Black Friday trip to the supermarket? "We're out of bread!" Grab a loaf today, and be ready for turkey sandwiches (and no cooking!) on Friday.

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