Handle With Care: The Secret Life of Christmas Magazines

Beware of Christmas Magazines

They're here! Surrounding supermarket check stands, elbowing aside House Beautiful at the bookstore, popping up in fabric stores--even lurking quietly in your mailbox: Christmas magazines!

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Christmas magazines. I buy Christmas magazines. I read Christmas magazines!

As a source for recipes, ideas, decorating schemes, gifts, crafts and all-round Christmas cheer, there's nothing like a good Christmas magazine. Don't even think of trying to pry my collection of Better Homes and Gardens' "Holiday Cookies" out of my clutches!

Candy Overload? Repurpose, Recycle and Reduce the Trick-or-Treat Haul!

repurpose Halloween candy

Halloween has come and gone ... and now its the morning of November 1st! For parents, that's the time when the excitement of Trick-or-Treat night gives way to post-Halloween reality: what to do with all that Halloween candy?

Whether they're worried about tooth decay and nutrition, or simply want to avoid the stress of a week of candy-fueled behavior from the little ones, smart parents put strategies in place to handle the Trick-or-Treat haul.

Here are some of our favorite ideas to repurpose, recycle and reduce the amount of Halloween candy in your organized home.

Create a Holiday Housework Plan

holiday housework plan

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?

Forewarned is forearmed! A simple housework plan--and family cooperation--will keep things humming at home, holiday or not!

Christmas Creep: The Selling of the Holiday Season

The Selling of the Holiday Season

Are you suffering from "Christmas creep"? If you've been shopping lately, you know the symptoms!

Do you cower under trailing tinsel at the supermarket check-stand, trapped between two glossy ranks of Christmas magazines--in September? Do your teeth clench when you must push aside boxes of holiday gift wrap and Christmas ornaments to find school supplies and Halloween treats at your local drugstore? Does your mailbox groan under a daily dose of mail order catalogs, each admonishing you to "order early for Christmas delivery"?

Before The Season: Focus On Holiday Values

Focus Holiday Values

What do you really want for Christmas? Our ideas may differ in the details, but most of us want much the same thing: a seasonal celebration focused on faith, family and friends.

We want the excitement of the season without the disruption that too often comes with it. We want to draw closer to those around us, not to be thrust apart by hectic schedules. We want to enjoy as well as to prepare, and to keep the Christmas season in a manner that is joyous and spiritually centered.

Problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in the seasonal whirlwind! Tradition, the media, family expectations and the economy lean on our decision-making, each with a different agenda. Unconscious forces can distort our celebration for reasons that have nothing to do with what we truly want from the holiday.

Holiday House Fever? Cure It With A Home Spruce Up Exercise

Holiday Home Spruce Up Exercise

This weekend's furniture ads are hard to avoid when you browse the Sunday paper--and they're symptoms of a serious holiday disorder: Holiday House Fever!

Look around the house. Does your temperature rise when you see stained carpets, smudged switch plates and faded window coverings? Gotcha!

With Christmas on the horizon, it's tempting to dive right in to a long list of home improvements. Stop! Wait! Biting off more than you can chew on the home front is a sure-fire recipe for holiday stress.

Easy Craft Gift: Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Toppers

Jiffy Pop Popcorn Topper

It's a craft gift that's hot, fresh and easy to make: customized "popcorn topper" labels for pop-in-pan popcorn.

Better known as Jiffy Pop®, this perennial kids' treat is even more fun when spiffed up with a cheerful message and given as a gift for holidays, seasons or special occasions.

Free printable templates make it easy to make and give Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Toppers for holiday gifts throughout the year.

Use them for teacher gifts, secret sister exchanges or home teaching presents--and they're simple enough for children to make.

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