22 Days to Christmas! Order Poultry For Christmas Dinner

What main dish will take center stage at Christmas dinner this year? Whether it's a gleaming turkey, succulent goose, tender ham or standing rib roast, it's time to place your holiday order.

Ordering ahead means you'll get the size and quality you're looking for--while procrastinators must choose from what's left behind at the meat counter. Make the call!

23 Days to Christmas! Christmas Card Round Robin

Christmas card chores can feel overwhelming if done in a big gulp by a single hand. Spread the joy with a Christmas card round robin!

Draft all family members for the job, and divide cards among them. Each member starts with a different section of the list, writing a brief greeting. When finished, hand the card along the table to the next person, who adds his or her own greeting.

Christmas music and special snacks make the effort special, and sharing makes it fun. Season's greetings!

24 Days to Christmas! Check Your Progress

Can it really be December 1st? With the turn of a calendar page, the season is upon us--and for most of us, our time is our scarcest holiday resource.

The beginning of December is the perfect time to check your progress! Sit down with the family calendar and evaluate where you are with holiday preparations.

How is gift-buying progressing? Are you nearly there ... or barely there? Make time to complete gift buying in the coming days.

How is holiday baking coming along? Will you need to pare down the list or oursource the goodies?

What about crafts projects or handmade gifts? If they're not completed, it's time to tuck the UFOs away for another year.

Does the schedule include time for family and self-care? Block out a few afternoons or evenings for renewal--you'll head off last-minute frazzles and family meltdowns.

Ready or not, here it comes: the holiday season! Are you ready?

26 Days to Christmas! Plan Christmas Dinner

What's for dinner ... on Christmas Day? Christmas Eve? New Year's Day?

The only one who should wing it when it comes to holiday meals? The turkey. Smart cooks know that a written menu plan calms chaos in the kitchen, and never more so than before a big holiday feast. A written menu plan makes it easy to spot bottlenecks at oven and cookstove, sorts serving dishes, and organizes potluck contributions.

Today, make out a simple menu plan for each holiday meal remaining in the season. It'll be your road map in the holiday kitchen:

Printable Holiday Menu Planner

27 Days to Christmas! Schedule Child Care

December blows in with a flurry of holiday invitations. If you're a parent of young children, don't miss out: arrange for child care early. Babysitters' schedules fill up early, too, so book your favorite caregivers soon.

Alternatives to traditional in-home babysitting include swapping child care with another family, or encouraging neighborhood sitters to host "sleep-over"parties for children from several families.

Look into holiday sleepovers, too: many churches, dance studios and youth organiziations host holiday weekend events designed to entertain children and give Mom and Dad an evening out.

28 Days to Christmas! Plan Advent Observances

The liturgical season of Advent begins on Sunday, November 27. Will your family observe this time of preparation? Time to plan Advent observances!

For many families, the holidays present a challenge of values. How do you focus on the season's meaning when the celebration provides so many distractions?

Too often, the excitement seems to boil down to a round of gifts and goodies, with little thought to the deeper values underlying the fun.

One way to keep the reason in the season: Advent observances. Whether it's a customs like an Advent wreath, daily Scripture readings, or attendance at worship, plan Advent activities now. Entered in your calendar, they'll help your family keep the focus while enjoying the celebration.