Whose House for the Holidays?

organized christmas

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 teenaged grandsons.    Read More >>

You've Been Elf-ed! Start A Neighborhood Holiday Tradition

We've Been Elfed

Have you been Elf-ed? Join the fun with this Christmas version of the Halloween BOO game.

Sometimes called "You've Been Jingled", "You've Been Elf-ed!" is easy to play.

Sometime before Christmas, one neighbor starts the game, secretly leaving a basket of treats together with an Elf sign and Elf poem explaining how to play the game.

Ring the doorbell and run! It's the best part of You've Been Elf-ed!    Read More >>

In Praise of Simple Gifts

Simple gifts for Christmas giving

Gift. Say the word and many levels of meaning go through our minds! When preparing for the Christmas holidays, "gift" can be a loaded term, one that provokes equal parts of anxiety and joy.

In our consumer society, the idea of "gift" is no longer simple, no longer free. The forces of consumption have taken the pure and simple concept of "gift" and layered that concept with staggering traps.    Read More >>

Blessings Mix Tutorial: Make Seasonal Gift Mix Treats

Blessings Mix Tutorial

Have you shared your blessings with a Blessings Mix?

Small bags of snack mix with a seasonal theme, each ingredient in Blessings Mix reminds us of our blessings.

Inexpensive and easy to make, holiday Blessings Mix gifts have graced dinner tables, classrooms and offices the world around.

Use them as table favors, workplace gifts or party treats at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or to celebrate American holidays such as Independence Day or Veterans Day--and bring home the values that underlie each occasion.    Read More >>

Handle With Care: The Secret Life 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!    Read More >>

Turkey Poop: Silly Thanksgiving Gag Gift

Turkey Poop printable tag

Looking for a silly treat for Thanksgiving? it's Turkey Poop!

Just right for a gag gift--or even Thanksgiving Day place cards--Turkey Poop is easy to make.

Place a handful of Milk Duds-brand candy, chocolate-covered raisins, or brown jelly beans in a small zipper food storage bag or seasonal cellophane gift bag.

Label with the Turkey Poop poem below or a free printable Turkey Poop gift tag or bag topper:    Read More >>

Christmas Creep: The Selling of the Holiday Season

Organized Christmas

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"?    Read More >>

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.    Read More >>

Simplify Season's Greetings: Using Computers To Send Christmas Cards

As an online old-timer, I can attest to this fact: few subjects stir as much controversy as computers and Christmas cards. The questions come year after year.

Should we use the computer to address the cards? Write a Christmas letter on inkjet letterhead?

What about pre-printed signatures? Is it okay to use e-mail to send holiday greetings ... or text holiday emoji?    Read More >>

One Right Way to Celebrate Christmas? Wrong!

Organized 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.    Read More >>

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