Do Less, Enjoy More: Simplify Holiday Traditions
Simplify holiday traditions
Cynthia Ewer November 28, 2021

"Tradition" is a powerful force that sometimes pulls an unsuspecting family along in its wake. Do your holiday traditions serve your family, your values and your spiritual beliefs--or are you running a tired and joyless circle during the holiday season in the name of tradition?

To cut stress during the season, it's time to give your family's holiday traditions a stiff scrutiny.  Today, think back to traditions from season's past, with an eye to trimming them.

Christmas Countdown Day 36: Celebrate Week
Celebrate week assignments
Cynthia Ewer November 28, 2021

We're in the home stretch! It's Celebrate Week at the Christmas Countdown, a time to tidy up our preparations and shift gears into full holiday mode.oday! 

This week, we'll complete and mail Christmas cards, finalize gift-buying and gift-making, and plan any holiday gatherings. 

We'll finish holiday decorating, inside and out. We'll focus on family, bringing all family members into the holiday preparations. We'll consider the children, and find ways to teach children about giving, not just about getting.

Save on Decor: Frugal Holiday Decorating Tips
Frugal ideas for holiday decorating
Cynthia Ewer November 22, 2021

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.

Holiday Survival Kit: Six Last-Minute Additions to the Shopping List
Add these last-minute items
Cynthia Ewer November 17, 2021

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!

Organized Pantry: Beginner's Guide to Pantry Pride
organize the pantry
Cynthia Ewer November 13, 2021

A working pantry? It's the secret weapon of a well-organized kitchen. 

A planned reserve of foodstuffs and sundries used in the home, a pantry saves time, money and stress in the kitchen. Tap the pantry for unexpected meals and reduce trips to the supermarket.  Stock it with frugal finds to lower grocery costs. Set aside a supply of food and sundries for a rainy day and protect your family against weather emergencies or financial dislocation. 

Properly managed, the pantry is an integral part of an organized home. Polish your pantry pride with our best hints and tips.

No More UFOs! Get-Em-Done Strategies for Handmade Holiday Gifts
organize holiday gifts and crafts
Visitor (not verified) November 10, 2021

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 browse online, 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. Try these ideas to keep your holiday crafting within bounds--and budget and timeframe, too.

It's A Wrap: Set Up A Gift Wrap And Mail Center
Gift wrap and mailing checklist
Cynthia Ewer November 9, 2021

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.

Gifting Guidelines: Understand the Unwritten Rules of Gift-Giving
Understand the rules underneath holiday giving
Cynthia Ewer November 8, 2021

Christmas is coming! Do you understand the unwritten rules of gift-giving?

Each of us carries within ourselves a set of rules about gift-giving. Seldom acknowledged and rarely discussed, these rules determine what we give, how much we give, and to whom we give. Despite living only in our minds and expectations, the unwritten rules of gift-giving govern everything from the office Secret Santa exchange to the family's morning under the Christmas tree.

Gift Closet Guide: Get Organized for Christmas Giving
Gift closet for an organized Christmas
Cynthia Ewer November 4, 2021

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.

Christmas Chaos? Make A Plan For Holiday Housework
Make a plan for housework at the holidays
Cynthia Ewer November 3, 2021

For many families, the Christmas season causes more than usual chaos on the home front. 

Do you shove stacks of mail and magazines into dark closets to hide them from drop-in visitors? Does your dinnertime schedule fall off the rails when faced with multiple evening rehearsals? Does Mount Washmore raise itself to new heights in the laundry room, only to be scaled in panic an hour before the Nativity play?