21 Days to Christmas! Cut Holiday Stress

Sure, you love the holiday season--but just not so much of it! Isn't there some way to have a simpler--but more meaningful--Christmas celebration?

If you're aiming to simplify your holidays, take time now to ponder ways to cut stress, save money and tame over-the-top traditions. Setting simplicity strategies in place now will keep you from being swept up in next month's holiday madness.

Get armed! Try these ten simple strategies to calm holiday chaos this year.

Christmas Calm: Ten Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

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 Advent Observances

The liturgical season of Advent begins on Sunday, December 3. 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.

27 Days to Christmas! Schedule Self-Care

If my mail as editor of Organized Christmas is any guide, there are a lot of tired holiday planners come December 26! Between holiday prep and the excitement of the Christmas season, self-care can go missing for many of us.

Fight back! Plan personal pampering sessions now, and add them to the holiday calendar.

"If Mama's not happy, nobody's happy"; your mood affects the whole family. If you find the season stressful, plan now for some personal pampering sessions during the coming weeks. A massage, a retreat, or even a gathering with girlfriends can be a welcome break during the season.

Better: look for ways to lighten the holiday load while you relax. Example: plan a gift-wrap party with friends. Setting aside an afternoon for cookies and coffee while you wrap gifts together converts a chore into fellowship and fun.