Holiday Crafts and Fun

Candy Overload? Repurpose, Recycle and Reduce the Trick-or-Treat Haul!

Organized Christmas -

   November 1, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Create a Holiday Housework Plan

Organized Christmas -

   November 1, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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!

Christmas Countdown Day 11: Holiday Housework Plan!

Organized Christmas -

   November 1, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Christmas Creep: The Selling of the Holiday Season

Organized Christmas -

   October 31, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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

Organized Christmas -

   October 31, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Before The Season: Focus On Holiday Values

Organized Christmas -

   October 30, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

What do you really want for Christmas? Our ideas may differ in the details, but most of us want much the same thing: a seasonal celebration focused on faith, family and friends.

We want the excitement of the season without the disruption that too often comes with it. We want to draw closer to those around us, not to be thrust apart by hectic schedules. We want to enjoy as well as to prepare, and to keep the Christmas season in a manner that is joyous and spiritually centered.

Problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in the seasonal whirlwind! Tradition, the media, family expectations and the economy lean on our decision-making, each with a different agenda. Unconscious forces can distort our celebration for reasons that have nothing to do with what we truly want from the holiday.

Christmas Countdown Day 9: Set a Holiday Budget!

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   October 30, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Time for a reality check ... because holiday debt is nobody's idea of a Christmas gift!

Christmas Countdown Day 8: Reality Check Week!

Organized Christmas -

   October 29, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Time for a Reality Check! During Reality Check Week, we take aim at holiday illusions that stand between us and the Christmas of our dreams. What are the ideas, preconceptions, and habits that drain the joy from your family's holidays?

House & Holidays Plan Week 9: Public Space Week

Organized Christmas -

   October 29, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Holiday House Fever? Cure It With A Home Spruce Up Exercise

Organized Christmas -

   October 28, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Christmas Countdown Day 7: Holiday Home Spruce-Up

Organized Christmas -

   October 28, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Easy Craft Gift: Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Toppers

Organized Christmas -

   October 27, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

It's a craft gift that's hot, fresh and easy to make: customized "popcorn topper" labels for pop-in-pan popcorn.

Better known as Jiffy Pop®, this perennial kids' treat is even more fun when spiffed up with a cheerful message and given as a gift for holidays, seasons or special occasions.

Free printable templates make it easy to make and give Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Toppers for holiday gifts throughout the year.

Use them for teacher gifts, secret sister exchanges or home teaching presents--and they're simple enough for children to make.

Make a Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper for Halloween

Organized Christmas -

   October 27, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

It's ghoulish-good fun: a printable Halloween topper for Jiffy Pop® popcorn!

Add our free printable template to a package of Jiffy Pop® brand pop-in-pan popcorn for an inexpensive "popcorn topper" craft gift just right for the spooks and goblins on your gift list.

Paired with Witches Brew Halloween mix, it's perfect for Halloween BOO-ing, co-workers or classmate gifts.

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

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   October 27, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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?

What's the right-and-wrong of harnessing computer technology to make it easier to send Christmas cards and holiday letters?

Christmas Countdown Day 6: Start A Christmas Card List!

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   October 27, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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.

Christmas Countdown Day 5: Start a Master Gift List!

Organized Christmas -

   October 26, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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!

A recent poll at our site showed that gift-buying topped our list as the "biggest holiday organization challenge". Whether it's anxiety over choosing the right gift, worries about staying within budget, or simple resentment of the time required to find, buy, wrap and deliver holiday gifts, the downside of holiday giving is enough to bring out the Scrooge in any of us.

How to speed the chore--and keep the joy in the giving? Today, we'll begin a Master Gift List: a decision-making platform for holiday gifts and giving.

Christmas Countdown Day 4: Connect With Holiday Values!

Organized Christmas -

   October 25, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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!

Halloween Treat: Haunted Gingerbread House

Organized Christmas -

   October 24, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

Gingerbread houses aren't just for Christmas anymore! Use our easy-build methods to create a Halloween Gingerbread House to brighten your autumn home or workplace.

Using melted bark coating or candy melts makes this craft simple enough for kids.

A black cat peeps from piles of pumpkins. Orange and black gumdrops light the path on Halloween night. Spiders creep and bats flap.

Don't miss our friendly ghosts!

Christmas Countdown Day 3: Set Up a Holiday Calendar!

Organized Christmas -

   October 24, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

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!

Get Organized: Create A Christmas Planning Center

Organized Christmas -

   October 23, 2017 by Cynthia Ewer

When planning for the holiday season, why try to wing it, on the fly?

Making lists on the go often finds them scattered in your wake, never to be found again.

To stay centered as you plan the holidays and get into the seasonal swing in comfort, find a place in your home to create an activity center devoted to Christmas planning.

A dedicated spot to make gift lists lists and track menus keeps holiday planning on track.

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