12 Days to Christmas! Under-Tree Storage Box

The tree is trimmed, lights glowing. Packing away the storage boxes is easy, but what do you do with all those little bulbs and fuses? They wander the house, constantly underfoot--until you need one.

Keep holiday decor supplies close at hand with this simple, sneaky solution: an under-tree storage box. Select a pretty holiday gift box with a removable lid. Put all fuses, replacement light bulbs and extra ornament hooks inside the box, add a gift bow and slide it beneath the tree.

Next time you need to replace a light bulb or add a new ornament to the tree, grab the box. It'll hold--and hide--all the holiday supplies you need.

Control Christmas Clutter With An Under-Tree Storage Box

13 Days to Christmas! Hold A Gift-Wrap Party

Whether you're a devoted wrap-a-holic or giftwrap-averse, here's a holiday event for you: a wrap party!

The premise is simple. Gather your friends, a few cookies, some eggnog and a few holiday CDs. Get together to wrap, wrap, wrap your gifts in good company. Sharing a few laughs with friends makes the chore fly.

Bonus benefit: encourage guests to swap left-over gift wrap supplies at party's end. Everyone will leave with fresh new wrapping designs for the last few gifts to land under the tree--and a good time, too.

14 Days to Christmas! Update The Address Book

Christmas cards and holiday letters are spilling from the mailbox these days, so take note! Their arrival means it's time to update the address book.

Check cards and envelopes for address changes; update address books or contacts apps for those who have moved or changed telephone numbers.

Too busy? No problem! Toss envelopes into a file folder; when life slows down in January, it'll be easy to check return addresses against address book entries and update as needed.

15 Days to Christmas! Eat From The Freezer!

It's time! If you've stockpiled a few freezer meals to use during the holiday season, pencil them into the menu plan during the next two weeks.

What? You say you missed out on this step? Check the supermarket's freezer section. A stash of family-sized entrees like lasagne or Florentine chicken can chill dinner-hour stress during the holidays. No more "dine and dash" at the pizza place or fast-food joint!

Free Printable Freezer Inventory

16 Days to Christmas! Print Holiday Labels

Printable address labels are wonderful things, and never more so than during the holiday season.

Sure, they'll see to it that your Christmas cards get to the right address, but try these other uses for self-adhesive address labels during the holiday season:

  • Label baked goods for a professional touch. Seasonal clip art makes it pretty!
  • Home-printed gift tags for Christmas gifts will stay put in transit.
  • Party name tags or dinner party place cards are easy to create with labels.
  • Identify all those cords behind the Christmas tree: wrap a label around the cord, stick the ends together and mark which lights are which for easy reference.

    17 Days to Christmas: Plan Low-Cost Celebrations With Kids

    Celebrating with kids? It doesn't need to cost money.

    Putting "celebration" at the center of the season--and taking the focus off of gifts and giving--can be the key to happy holidays that don't break the bank.

    Better, when it comes to kids and Christmas, cheap is good! Simple, inexpensive family activities can be as meaningful as pricey Nutcracker tickets--and no need for scratchy dresses or dress-up suits.

    Try these no-cost, low-cost ways to celebrate the holiday season with kids:

    Low Cost, No Cost Ways to Celebrate With Kids

    Invite A Magic Elf To Visit Your Home

    18 Days to Christmas! Wrap As You Go

    It's the holiday chore nobody wants: wrapping gifts at midnight, Christmas Eve. To head off last-minute wrapping, wrap gifts as you go.

    Wrapping in small doses, you'll do a better job and enjoy it, too. To track whose gift is which, use small stickey notes to identify gifts. (Deter snoops with a numbering system tied to the master gift list!)

    Another way to ease gift-wrap chores is holding a gift-wrap party with friends. Pour hot cider, put out a plate of holiday cookies and stack Christmas music in the CD player as you chat and wrap together.

    A clutter-busting bonus? Swap leftover gift wrap at the end of the event; a friend's tired roll end becomes your family's fresh new pattern.

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