A Perfect Christmas?

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!

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

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!

Save Time With Holiday Baking: Make It A Specialty!

baking 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?

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

Holiday Survival Kit

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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