Countdown Daily Messages

Christmas Countdown Day 12: Magazine Reality Check!

Christmas Magazines:  Handle With Care

When I visit the supermarket during the holiday season (which starts earlier and earlier each year), I don't hum along with the Muzak carols. The old tune "Secret Agent Man" runs through my head as I survey the front-line agents of Christmas Excess: Christmas magazines. They sneak into the racks in September, and by November, they're everywhere. Oh, the glowing turkeys and lavish gift wraps! Who can resist the cheery covers, the promised joys?    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 11: Holiday Housework Plan!

Keep Up With Housework At Christmas

Where did the holiday stocking pinch your household last year?

Chances are, a large percentage of seasonal stress arose out of disrupted household routines. Think back to the times that household routines fell apart on you. What was the state of your house?

Frantic clean-up sessions before guests arrive. Late afternoon trips to the supermarket to find something, anything to cook for dinner--and fast! The desperate search for clean sheets to bed down surprise houseguests. Six dozen cookies stalled for want of a stick of butter.

Fight back! The busy Christmas season is no time to play housework catch-up. Keeping on top of household routines--shopping, cleaning, meal preparation--provides a welcome ballast to the seasonal swing.

Time to draft a Holiday Housework Plan: a bare-minimum checklist of household chores, posted publicly to encourage family cooperation.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 10: Schedule Self-Care for Healthy Holidays

What's the secret to cutting holiday stress? Stay healthy!

On December 26th, ask any wife and mother how she's feeling. If she's honest, she'll probably say, "Tired!" Along with the excitement and bustle of the holidays comes another factor: stress and fatigue.

Parties, events, and too many late nights cooking, making and wrapping can take a toll on even the healthiest. Add seasonal stressors like rich foods, alcohol, family gatherings and winter travel, and you've got a recipe for post-Christmas depression.

Solution? Before the height of the season, reinforce good health habits and schedule self-care for healthy holidays ... and beyond.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 9: Set a Holiday Budget!

Christmas Budget

Do you know the cost of Christmas?

It's safe to say that most of us do not--and so we find ourselves blind-sided by the Financial Ghost of Christmas Past well into the new year.

When cash runs dry, we turn to plastic. Result? Credit card statements crowd the mailbox and burden the budget long after the tree and tinsel have been sent packing.

A head-in-the-snowdrift approach to holiday spending may feel good at the outset, but it's a sure recipe for financial disaster.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 8: Reality Check Week!

Reality Check

Halloween is here, November on the horizon--and the holidays won't be far behind! Furniture ads weigh down the Sunday paper, and in the shops, retailers are busy sweeping the remnants of harvest merchandise away before the tide of red-spangled Christmas promotions.

It's the quiet week before the rising tide of holiday season to come.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 7: Holiday Home Spruce-Up

There's nothing like the approach of the holiday season to make our hearts turn toward home--and home improvement projects!

Simply thinking about the holidays ahead can sharpen our vision when it comes to the condition of the house. Suddenly, we notice ... everything!

It's only natural to want to celebrate Christmas in the home of our dreams. Problem is, our eyes can be bigger than our calendars (and wallets and time and energies) when it comes to preparing the house for the holidays.

How do we keep the pre-Christmas fix-up list within the realm of reason at this time of year?

Answer: we get grounded with a Holiday Home Spruce-Up exercise.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 6: Start A Christmas Card List!

Start A Christmas Card List

Will you send holiday greetings to friends and family this year?

Lovely as the tradition can be, it takes more time than you think to select, address and send holiday cards or Christmas letters--and a haphazard approach to season’s greetings is a recipe for Christmas-card chaos.

Remind yourself of last year. Was the job of writing and addressing holiday greetings meaningful--or manic?

Between procrastination and failure to plan, too many of us find ourselves scrawling signatures late into the night, in a frantic dash to beat the postman to the mailbox. Next day, our eyes blur as we sort the incoming mail: did we remember to send a card to Aunt Kaye?

Not this year! Take charge of sending holiday cards and letters with a Christmas card list. Properly pruned, it'll let you home in on holiday greetings without the chaos.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 5: Start a Master Gift List!

Master Gift List

Ready to "Think Christmas"? For most of us, those thoughts are likely turn to gifts and giving!

Who doesn't love the holiday custom of giving and receiving gifts? But holiday gift-giving also comes with a sting in the tail. Much as we love the custom, we also find it stressful!    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 4: Connect With Holiday Values!

holiday values exercise

What do you really want for Christmas?

For most of us, our dreams center around family, faith and friends: a celebration of our deepest joys.

Yet too often, those dreams go by the wayside as the holidays take on a life of their own. What can cause this distortion of what we truly want?

The season brings many pressures to bear on our celebration. Holiday commercials raise their voice to an unavoidable shriek during this time of year. Lavish television programs showcase food and décor standards out of all reality. A trip to the mall can bring a quick end to a wish for a homemade holiday; all that glitz can be seductive!    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 3: Set Up a Holiday Calendar!

Christmas Countdown Calendar

What's the number-one way to cut Christmas stress? Keep a careful eye on the calendar!

No doubt about it, December days can be busy. Keeping track of commitments, events and activities keeps the season real. If you know where the family must go, it's easier to get there--and to say "No!" to too many obligations.

Does a family calendar guide your holiday plans? It should ... if the goal is an organized Christmas!

To Do Today

Set up a family holiday calendar    Read More >>

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