55 Days to Christmas! It's Time to Stay Safe on Halloween


If you're headed out for Trick-or-Treat (or Halloween parties) this evening, stay safe! Keep a careful lookout for all those little ghosts, goblins and princesses as they go door-to-door in your neighborhood.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Safety Tips

56 Days to Christmas: It's Time To Recycle Mailing Boxes


With the holiday mailing season on the horizon, give Mother Earth a Christmas gift, too: reuse mailing containers and supplies. Recycling packing materials makes holiday sense—and cents!

As catalog orders are delivered, stockpile mailing boxes and use them for your own gift mailings. Be sure to remove or cover older mailing labels; a permanent black marking pen makes it easy to obliterate shipping bar codes.

At the warehouse store, keep an eye out for sturdy boxes suitable for mailing, and repurpose them after you’ve used them to tote purchases home.

A "peanut" tip: it's easy to recycle styrofoam packing materials if you dump them into a drawstring plastic garbage bag. Close the drawstring for storage. When you're ready to pack your own boxes, snip wedge off a bottom corner of the bag. Pour your peanuts out the hole, then clip the corner closed with a potato chip bag clip. Neat solution!

57 Days to Christmas! It's Time to Set Up a Wrap and Mail Center


Repeat after me: "This year, I won't be wrapping gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve!"

If there's a single most-underestimated holiday chore, it's gift wrapping. Supplies lie scattered throughout the house, while space and privacy are hard to come by. Translation: late-night Christmas Eve wrapping sessions.

Not this year! We're going to lick the wrapping problem at the outset, by setting up a wrap and mail activity center. With workspace, tools and supplies at hand, it’s easy to wrap as you go—and enjoy the task, without grump, grumble or hurry.

Set Up A Holiday Wrap And Mail Center!

Add this gift wrap and mail checklist to your Christmas planner:

Gift Wrap and Mail Checklist

58 Days to Christmas! It's Time to Force Christmas Bulbs


Blooming bulbs make a fresh, fragrant holiday gift--and a welcome reminder of springtime, as winter closes in.

Forcing bulbs for Christmas blooms is easy and inexpensive, but it does take time.

If fresh amaryillis is on your gift list, the time is now! These bulbs will be at their best eight weeks after forcing, so start them today.

Need some tips? Try this site for information about forcing bulbs for winter blooms:

Forcing Amaryillis For Christmas

59 Days to Christmas! It's Time to Inventory Holiday Video


Christmas movie night has become a cherished tradition in many families. Cuddling down together with popcorn and hot chocolate provides a needed stress break in a hectic season--and it's just plain fun, too. What's your family's favorite holiday film?

Head for the videos and/or DVDs, and check the condition of the family film library. Rent or replace lost or damaged items, and add any new contenders to the shopping list.

New! Track family favorites with our free printable Holiday Favorites form. It'll organize holiday books, holiday movies and holiday music ... and a wish list!