66 Days to Christmas! Buy Holiday Stamps

Holiday stamps will be available soon from the United States Postal Service. Buy stamps early, and you'll have your choice of seasonal designs.

Better still, buy stamps online from USPS.com. Holiday stamps are now available for pre-order! For a $1.00 service fee, stamps will be delivered to your mailbox. Standing in line at the Post Office is one holiday tradition that deserves to fall by the wayside.

While you're at the USPS.com site, consider ordering free mailing supplies. Flat rate envelopes and boxes can be delivered to your door, and they're ideal for shipping Christmas baked goods and small gifts. Oh, and did we mention that they're free?


67 Days to Christmas! Plan Halloween Treats

Halloween ahead! Will your family host trick-or-treaters, participate in a harvest festival or play the Halloween BOO game in your neighborhood?

Whatever your family's harvest traditions, check stocks of seasonal treats early. Halloween candy sales are going on now, so be sure you're ready for the doorbell on Halloween night!

Will you be baking treats or handing out Pumpkin Poop to coworkers? Check the pantry to be sure you have everything you need for Halloween treats.

68 Days to Christmas! Tackle Fall Cleaning

Chill breezes blow, signaling that it's time to prepare the house for the coming of winter. Fall cleaning ahead!

Take time now to tackle seasonal cleaning chores around the house. An Autumn session of deep-cleaning carries the family into the holiday season from a clean house; exterior decorating goes more smoothly if fall yard-clean up chores are completed early.

Try this Fall Cleaning chore checklist from sister site Organized Home to guide fall cleaning:

Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist

69 Days to Christmas! Decorate for Halloween!

If you haven't done so already, it's time to decorate for Halloween! Jack O'Lanterns and black cats set the stage for a spooky good time as little goblins take to the streets on the big night.

To keep seasonal decorating changes simple, use solid-color or generic fall decor for the bulk of the decorations. Tuck a few Halloween-specific items into the mix this week.

After the big night has come and gone, they're easy to remove and replace with Thanksgiving decorations. Keep decorating simple to keep the focus on the good times!

70 Days to Christmas! Plan Home Spruce-Up Projects

It's not just "visions of sugarplums" that dance through our heads when we think of the holiday season. Many of us also succumb to Holiday House Fever: an intense desire to begin major home decor projects in the weeks before Christmas.

Anybody who's ever decorated a Christmas tree before a half-painted wall knows the risk: our dreams overpower our time, energies and resources.

Result: damp carpets, naked windows, wet paint and lots of stress.

Today, we'll bring sanity to the question of holiday home spruce-ups. The Holiday Home Spruce-Up exercise in realistic planning will anchor our dreams and help us identify realistic, doable goals.

Ready? It's a cure for Holiday House Fever:

Holiday Home Spruce-Up

71 Days to Christmas! Clean Out the Coat Closet

Brisk weather is on the way; time to clear out the coat closets!

Whether it's making space for family cold-weather gear or preparing for seasonal visitors, now's the time to clear out the coat closet. Does your outerwear storage space work for you?

Not that a designated "closet" is always the right solution! Many families prefer to keep coats, umbrellas, gloves and galoshes in open storage areas. Hang coats on pegs, tuck boots under a low bench, and consider an over-the-door shoe rack to corral little mittens, hats and scarves.

Check closet space from a guest's perspective, too. Are extra hangers available--and appropriate for heavy outer garments? Is there enough room to add a bulky parka without crushing a woman's wool coat?

Clear it out and be ready ... for Christmas!