Organized Christmas

Seasonal Storage Tip: Make a Holiday Stragglers Box

   December 31, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Christmas has come and gone ... or has it?

Lights are stored, the tree is down, and holiday decor rests in boxes in the storage area, waiting for next year.

Then you turn the corner and spot an overlooked Santa, shining on top of the piano.

In the refrigerator, the holiday butter dish hides the last remnants of a stick of butter. Holiday linens, napkins and kitchen towels pop up in the laundry area this week, next week and the week after.

Keeping New Year's Resolutions: New Year, New You!

   December 30, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

New Year's Eve ... a festive beginning to a new year. It's a good time to take stock and decide to move toward a happier, more organized life.

But too often, what looks so easy as the minute hand approaches midnight falls away in the cold light of January days.

For most of us, New Year's resolutions die a slow and quiet death. They're tossed aside, along with the party hats and noisemakers.

As January winds down, so does motivation, energy and desire for change.

Get Organized for the New Year: Post-Christmas Clean-Up!

   December 27, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Ready to start the New Year from a clean and clutter-free home? Try these post-Christmas clean-up tips from sister site, Organized Home.

These simple, do-it-now strategies can reduce clutter and conquer Christmas chaos. We like this one:

Sort Before You Stow

Once the New Year arrives, most families take down holiday decorations and store them for the following year--but too often, there's a sense of "sling it in there and worry about it later" when it comes to putting away Christmas ornaments, holiday linens and outdoor lighting.

This year, pay it forward: sort and declutter holiday decorations, linens and specialty cooking items as you store them. Cut the non-working, the tattered, and the tired from the herd as you put away holiday decorations. Has-been decor items can be recycled or donated; stained linens can be repurposed as cleaning cloths.

Streamline holiday decorating next year: sort before you stow!

Post-Christmas Clean-Up

Post-Holiday Debriefing: Get Organized for Next Christmas

   December 26, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

It's over for another year!

Wild and woolly or sane and sedate, we've passed through the holiday season and into a new year. Breath caught, it's time to debrief.

You know debriefing, right? The astronauts do it, spies do it, pilots do it: a measured after-the fact evaluation of the mission or flight.

Smart holiday planners should do it, too--because taking time now to note what worked, what didn't will be a road map to a more organized Christmas next year.

Organized Christmas? Easy Tips to Get Ready For Next Year

   December 22, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Christmas is here ... but you're not ready? The e-mails in my inbox tell the story: "I wish I'd found this site earlier!"

During this time of year, I hear from scores of readers who came looking for holiday help at the height of the celebration-and faced with the reality of Christmas chaos.

Stumbling over our site, they see that it's possible to be organized--and joyous--during the holidays. They just wish they'd found us in time!

So say you're starting now, to think about next year. What's the secret to a stress-free season? Plan ahead!

Oatmeal Scotchies In A Jar

   December 22, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Family favorite for after-school snacks, this kid-pleaser cookie mix in a jar makes a delicious holiday gift.

Adapted from the recipe at Nestle's Very Best Baking site, Oatmeal Scotchies in a Jar features layers of oatmeal, brown sugar and butterscotch chips that look as good as they taste!

Includes free printable gift tags.

Dust Pan Cookies

   December 21, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

A sweet and simple gift celebrating friendship, Dust Pan Cookies are easy to make and give.

With a humorous poem and an unexpected presentation, this all-occasion gift is suitable for family, friends and neighbor gifts.

Free printable gift tags containing the Dust Pan Cookies poem makes it easy to share!

Brownies In A Jar

   December 20, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Gooey and sweet, these Brownies In A Jar from Hersheys.com make an easy holiday gift.

Clear layers show off the triple-chocolate ingredients in this fudgy treat. Add a pretty gift tag with the Brownies in a Jar recipe.

Brownies In A Jar makes a great Secret Santa or 12 Days of Christmas treat!

Gift In A Jar Recipes and Gift Tags for Holiday Giving

   December 19, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Looking for inexpensive Christmas gifts ... with a bit of sweet pizzazz? Check out these Mason jar gift recipes from C&H Sugar!

You'll find over ten easy jar gift recipes for cookies in a jar, homemade muffin mix, and even microwave cakes in a cup--perfect for teacher gifts, workplace Secret Santa, or gift baskets. Then make your gift sparkle with free printable gift tags for each recipe! Each tag contains a pretty holiday graphic, recipe instructions, and space for a personal message.

Get cooking ... with gifts in a jar!

Gift Jar Mix Recipes

Gingerbread House Craft: Chocolate Kiss Trees

   December 19, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Brighten dark corners with a holiday tree made from foil-wrapped Hershey's brand chocolate kiss candies. Add them to your gingerbread house for a pretty forest effect!

Pretty to look at and simple to make, chocolate kiss trees are an easy, kid-friendly holiday craft.

Toothpicks anchor shiny Hersheys-brand kisses to styrofoam cones, while bright-colored foil makes it easy to create stripes or patterns.

Puzzler Puzzle Mat: Make-It-Now Gift

   December 18, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Every parent knows the story: jigsaw puzzles are fun to work, but tough to work around. What's the solution to tying up table tops or floor space with a puzzle in progress?

Its a Puzzler! This one-seam easy-sew puzzle mat allows puzzles to be worked at will, then rolled up and stowed away between play sessions. It's crafted from a short length of craft felt and a recycled gift wrap roller.

Make them in multiples for the holidays. The Puzzler puzzle mat is perfect for teacher gifts. Paired with a new jigsaw puzzle, the Puzzler Puzzle Mat makes a special family gift.

House & Holidays Plan Week 17: Celebration Week

   December 18, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Time to celebrate! The height of the season is here, so draw close to family and friends in your clean and organized home.

With the holiday upon us, only minimum maintenance is needed in the house.

Holiday prep centers on those few chores needed to make a smooth move between Christmas and the New Year.

Season's greetings from the House & Holidays Plan!

Chill Chaser: Make A Winter Warmer Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper

   December 17, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

It's a cheery gift for a dreary day: a Winter Warmer Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper!

Add our free printable template to a package of Jiffy Pop® brand pop-in-pan popcorn for an inexpensive "popcorn topper" craft gift.

Paired with Snowman Soup, you'll bring warmth and fun to a wintry day!

How To Make Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Toppers

Printable Winter Warmer Popcorn Topper Template

Chocolate Coffee Spoons: Easy Holiday Gift to Make!

   December 16, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Chocolate-dipped coffee spoons are an easy homemade holiday gift. Make them simple and sweet or dazzle the tastebuds with custom flavors and colored chocolate melts!

Our basic recipe for chocolate coffee spoons outlines the method, but check out specialty recipes, too.

Whether they're white chocolate drizzled with holiday colors, or dressed up with crushed candy canes, chocolate coffee spoons are sure to please the coffee lover on your holiday gift list.

Peaches and Cream Bath Salts In A Jar

   December 15, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Looking for an easy (and inexpensive) holiday gift? Try Peaches & Cream Bath Salts in a Jar!

Pretty layered bath salts make a perfect gift for teens, co-workers or teachers. This inexpensive gift-in-a-jar offers the fresh scent of peaches and soothing salts in a pretty pastel package.

This recipe makes 12 gift jars at a cost approximately $1.50 per jar.

To make it easy to create a pretty gift, we've Included free printable gift tags! Sized to fit beneath a standard canning jar lid, our printable Bath Salts in a Jar tags can also be used as a hang tag.

Tips for Holiday Season Travel

   December 14, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Will you visit family or take a Christmas holiday?

Between tight security, cramped airports and busy highways, holiday-season travel can be a big source of Christmas stress.

Whether you're flying or driving, being prepared means you'll be better able to roll with the inevitable punches.

Try these tips to keep the “happy” in holiday travel:

Mason Jar Recipes: Holiday Ideas for Gifts In A Jar

   December 13, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Gifts in a jar! These frugal consumable gifts feature bath salts, cookie ingredients, holiday beverage mixes, baking mixes or bean soup fixings layered in a glass canning jar, or Mason jar.

Mason jar recipes make easy homemade Christmas gifts. Topped with a colorful fabric circle and a free printable gift tag, they're a welcome holiday treat.

We've got all you need to know to make gifts in a jar. Get started with our instructions, tips and mason jar recipes for holiday giving. Printable gift tags make it easy to craft a special holiday gift!

Tiny Christmas Craft: Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

   December 12, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Simple, no-bake Graham Cracker Mini-Houses are a sweet holiday treat. Use them as place cards for holiday meals, or hang them as ornaments on the Christmas tree.

Decorations are applied while pieces are flat, then pieces are assembled with melted bark coating in a plastic squeeze bottle.

While an adult should trim the graham cracker sections, decorating and assembling is easy enough for kids.

Makes 10 - 20 houses, depending on breakage and number of crackers.

Reindeer Chow Snack Mix

   December 11, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

Looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer? It's Reindeer Chow! Sweet and crunchy, this seasonal snack mix is a favorite with kids, not just reindeer!

A simple concoction of cereals, pretzels, peanuts and M&Ms-brand seasonal candies sparked with a white chocolate coating, Reindeer Chow is a fast, last-minute snack mix recipe for holiday giving.

Package Reindeer Chow in zipper food storage bags or cellophane snack bags for an easy classroom treat or Secret Santa gift. Add a free printable Reindeer Chow bag topper to make an easy holiday gift.

For a fun and festive family gift, fill a pet dish (from the Dollar Store!) with Reindeer Chow. Inexpensive self-adhesive "foamie" letters spell out the name of your favorite reindeer!

House & Holidays Plan Week 16: Nearly There Week

   December 11, 2016 by Cynthia Ewer

We're nearly there: it's Nearly There Week at the House & Holidays Plan! Christmas parties, cooking and a growing sense of excitement mark these days before Christmas.

Around the house, only minimum maintenance is needed this week.

The week's holiday prep checklist includes the last few chores to get ready for the big day.

Are you ready? Welcome to a clean and organized home for the holiday season!

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