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 >>

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 >>

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!    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 >>

Freezer-Friendly Holiday Recipe: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

freezer garlic mashed potatoes

A little-known trick to calm holiday cooking stress? Make-ahead dishes for the freezer. Cooked and stored ahead of time, freezer side dishes free up time for the holiday cook.

But can you get perfect creamy texture ... from frozen potatoes? Potatoes look watery before freezing, but the water will be absorbed as they bake.

While it is possible to substitute russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes yield a more flavorful dish.

Christmas Calm: 10 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

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.    Read More >>

House & Holidays Plan Week 9: Public Space Week

October 27 - November 2, 2019

Halloween is coming ... and November lies ahead! Along with the trick-or-treaters comes a new pace to the season. Thanksgiving is on the horizon, so it's time to turn our attention to the public space in our home: the living room or great room.

In holiday prep, we'll prepare for Halloween celebrations. We'll complete Christmas cards and buy holiday stamps, and start saving mailing boxes so that we can recycle them to send gifts.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown: Reality Check Week

November 3 - November 9, 2019

Warning! Holiday reality check ahead!

It's week two of the Christmas Countdown, and time to consider the darker side of the holiday season. Though we may not be conscious of them, hidden holiday forces work to over-run our budgets and distort our decision-making.

Not to worry! Coming face to face with the reality of outside pressures will make us stronger--and we'll be empowered to bring our celebrations within the circle of our own values. We'll do less ... and enjoy it more!

Ready? Let's get organized!    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 >>

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.    Read More >>

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