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christmas holiday tips to streamline the countdown to santa

Sure, turkey leftovers may still be lingering in your fridge.

But there's no escaping the reality just about everywhere else in your home and beyond: It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Ready or not.

Icicle lights have popped up on neighbors' rooftops seemingly overnight. Seasonal jingles and sentiments are suddenly everywhere.

Family and friends are calling, wanting to know who's going where this year - and bringing what. It's enough to make even the most festive of souls feel Grinch-like.

These Christmas holiday tips can help streamline the countdown to Santa.

Christmas Holiday Tips for Week One: Thanksgiving to Dec. 1

  • Make your home festive. Add a few holiday throw pillows; affix a strand or three of white lights up and down the interior banister; get down that box of decorations and you're on your way.
  • Rearrange the living room to make space for the Christmas tree. Then make plans for the family to pick out the tree and decorate it. Together. Consider a celebratory dinner following the Christmas creation.
  • Plan to finish up most of your Christmas shopping this week so you'll have time to enjoy the holidays without having to rush around - or pay last-minute gift prices.
  • Print out and scan your Christmas card list. Make adds, changes, deletions as needed. And if you don't have those addresses on a computer labeling program, this is the year to set aside the time to do it.

Week Two: Dec. 2 - 9

  • Take the kids' holiday pictures if you'll be including a photo with your family card this year. Have them developed. Make your own copies onto photo paper using your home printer. Trim with pinking shears or create an unusual trim of your own.
  • Send cards. Create a place to display the cards you receive.
  • Wrap creatively for a memorable, personal gift. Consider using the kids' artwork for wrap; or make your own from inexpensive butcher-type paper. Buy a few large holiday stamps, some red, green, gold and silver paint, and allow the kids to stamp-on their own decorations. Let dry overnight.
  • Finalize holiday travel plans.
  • If the gathering's at your home, make sure your guest bedroom is entertaining ready. If the guest room is your office or your child's room, plan now which area you'll clear out to make room for guests' clothes. 
  • Create a welcoming guest basket of creature comforts: clove or other scented seasonal soap, toothpaste and tooth brush, bath salts or bubbles, a travel alarm clock, and any other necessities your guests may need.

Week Three: Dec. 10 - 17

  • Make your holiday baking list. Check it twice. Then head to the stores.
  • Menu planning - for Christmas Eve.

Week Four: Dec. 18 - 25

  • Plan breakfast menu for Christmas.
  • Wrap stocking gifts.

Have a wonderful holiday season! 

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› Christmas Holiday Tips