Christmas Countdown Day 1: Get Organized!

Christmas Countdown

Are you ready to get organized for Christmas? Will it surprise you if I say, "Me, either!"?

Welcome to the Christmas Countdown! I'm Cynthia Ewer, author of this six-week Christmas organizing plan--and like most of us, I come careening in to Day 1 of the Countdown firmly in denial about the passage of time.

Today's reading assignment pretty much sums up how I'm feeling: it can't possibly be time to start preparing for the holidays!

But time waits for no man ... or woman! The Countdown is here, and it's time to get ready for an organized Christmas.

Ready or not, what I can tell you is this: the Countdown works.

For the past 18 years, it's taken my household from chaos to calm as the holidays approach. Even during those years with unexpected challenges or family issues, the step-by-step preparations that make up the Countdown have brought our household to the start of the season prepared and ready to celebrate.

I'm not alone! Over the years, thousands of readers have followed the Countdown's path to calm and meaningful holidays. They've seen holiday stress levels plummet and have enjoyed the season in ways they never imagined. Each year's Countdown has seen us all find joy--and find it more deeply--during the Christmas season.

Our goal? A serene, simple and joyous holiday season for ourselves, our family and our community.

Over the next six weeks, we'll break down holiday prep into simple, easy-to-complete checklists. We'll focus our holiday values to do less and enjoy it more. We'll streamline the chore side of holiday preparations. Most of all, we'll create a joyous and meaningful holiday season for our families, friends and neighbors.

In that spirit, then, all are welcome as we simplify, organize and prepare for the season ahead. Whether your family observes Christmas or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Ramadan, Yule or Winter Solstice, or a purely secular holiday, you are welcome here.

Ready? Just as we have since 1998, let's count down ... to an organized Christmas!

--Cynthia Ewer
Editor, Organized Christmas

To Do This Week

Welcome to Get Organized Week!

The first week of the Countdown gets us geared up and organized as we begin planning for the holiday season. We'll assess our family's holiday values, begin a Christmas planner to hold our lists and notes, and start our lists for holiday gifts, shopping and home improvements. We'll give thought to holiday traditions, giving, travel and celebrations. In this first week of the Countdown, we lay the framework for the weeks to come.

Find links to Get Organized Week assignments, printables and articles here:

Get Organized Week Checklist

To Do Today

Make the promise!

Beginning today, spend a few minutes each day on holiday planning. Each moment you spend now will reap enormous benefits during the rush and hustle of the holiday season.

Make the promise! Invest the time and energy now, for a simpler, more organized holiday celebration.

Decide how you'll follow the Countdown

On the Web, our daily message index is the place to be! Each day, we'll post the day's message to make it easy to track assignments; bookmark that page to follow the Countdown on the Web.

To track the Countdown through social networking, follow us on on Twitter or Facebook, or via our RSS feed.

Finally, thanks to the miracle that is Google, you can subscribe to the Countdown RSS feed through e-mail. Use the subscription form at the side of the page to ask Google to email Countdown updates straight to your email inbox!

Designate a Christmas holiday planning center in your home.

Every activity deserves a "center"--a dedicated space with tools, workspace and surroundings that support the job. Jumpstart your holiday planning by selecting and setting aside an area in your home where you'll go to plan your holiday celebration.

Make your space comfortable and appealing, because having a happy place to plan is the first step toward happy holidays!

To Read Today

Get a sinking feeling at the thought of the approaching holidays? You're not alone! How to get over the hump?

Ready ... or Not? Welcome to the Christmas Countdown

Planning for the holiday season is a lot more fun if you've gathered tools, supplies and inspiration into a single workspace area:

Get Organized! Create a Christmas Planning Center

Today's Recipe

Just in time for your favorite trickster, it's Pumpkin Poop!

This silly Halloween treat is just right for classroom gifts, office treats or including in a You've Been Booed BOO basket. Free printable gift tags and bag toppers make it easy to share this simple Halloween craft gift.

Boo! It's Pumpkin Poop!

To Print Today

Christmas Countdown Calendar

Get Organized Week Checklist

Get Organized Week Checklist
Christmas Countdown Calendar

Holiday Plans: