Reality Check

Make Christmas A Family Affair

Bring the family onboard

Who knows why? How did it happen? Women--wives and mothers--have come to bear the brunt of holiday preparation.

It's enough to make Barry Manilow sing! Women plan the meals, list the gifts and shop until we drop. We cook, we clean, we decorate--and we wrap and wrap and wrap.

Our hands cramp from addressing Christmas cards. We go short on sleep to run the sewing machine late into the night. We rise before dawn to anoint the holiday bird and entrust it to the oven.

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!

Whose House for the Holidays?

Whose House for the Holidays?

Judging from my e-mail, what's the single biggest holiday family conundrum? "Whose house for the holidays?" wins, hands down.

It's a universal dilemma for young parents. It's a universal dilemma for their own parents. Where will the "children" spend the holidays?

Shiny new parents of a baby or two yearn to create their own at-home holiday. Their own parents struggle to keep the family together, and preferably at their house.

My own chair sits smack dab in the middle. My children are grown, and I'm a grandmother of a young grandsons.

One Right Way to Celebrate? Wrong!

celebrate Christmas

We don't know where we get it, we don't know where it comes from, but lots of us will stumble over this holiday illusion: "There is one right way to celebrate the holiday season!"

This one's sneaky. It comes to us through images, songs and Christmas cards. It rears up between newly married couples, as they try to blend his way and her way and make their own way in the face of competing in-laws.

You'll see it working in tear-in-eye TV commercials: a happy multi-generational family (all in attractive, color-coordinated sweaters) gathers round a flickering fire.

The Secret Life of Christmas Magazines

christmas magazine

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!

Christmas Creep: The Selling of the Holiday Season

christmas creep

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"?

Christmas Calm: Ten Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

Cut holiday stress

Sure, you love the holiday season--but just not so much of it! This year, you're hoping to cut the crazy out of Christmas: to trim the celebration back to one that is sustainable and calm.

Question is, just how do you do less--and enjoy it more--during the Christmas holiday season?

If you're aiming to simplify Christmas, take time to ponder ways to cut stress, save money and tame over-the-top traditions. Setting simplicity strategies in place early will keep you from being swept up in holiday madness.

Get armed! Try these ten simple strategies to calm holiday chaos and rein in the seasonal overkill this year.

Too Early to Think Christmas? Starting Now Makes Sense!

planning for Christmas

Ah, September! The month brings brisk mornings, fall colors, back-to-school ... and deck the halls?

In a word, yes. Summer's end is the perfect time to think ahead to the holiday season; start Christmas planning now, and you'll reap abundant benefits come December.

Here at Organized Christmas we hear a deafening chorus of objection: "But it's too early to think about Christmas! I can't get ready until I feel the holiday spirit!"

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