84 Days to Christmas! Start a Seasonal Shopping List

Warning: holiday inventories ahead! Do you know where your shopping list is?

A seasonal shopping list is the closest thing to a personal shopper, so start a seasonal shopping list today. Use it to corral all the little "gotta-buy" items that will cross your path in the weeks ahead.

You’ll subdivide the list according to your own needs, including everything from a running grocery shopping list to reminders for gift wrap, seasonal or crafts supplies. Color-coding entries can make it easier to focus on crafts or food or clothing sections; do what works for you!

Tucked into the Christmas planner, the shopping list is a faithful friend. Use it to capture fleeting “must-buy” moments and spare your brain.

Did you find a UFO crafts project that needs only a bit of ribbon to complete? Write “ribbon – green plaid” on the list. Will the children’s school hold a holiday food drive? Note “extra cranberry sauce” under the grocery section.

Second step: check the list before you leave the house—or take it with you. It’ll jog your memory and help you make good use of small bits of time. Waiting for a child to finish a tutorial session? Make a quick turn into the crafts store down the street for that self-same ribbon, and cross the project off the UFO list.

Get organized for the holiday season ... with a seasonal shopping list!

Print a Seasonal Shopping List

85 Days to Christmas! Begin Halloween Planning

The calendar turns: October's here and it's time! Begin planning Halloween costumes and seasonal celebrations now.

Plan Halloween Costumes

If family members (young or young-at-heart) will dress in costume for Halloween, harvest festivals or book character parties, it's time to put on the thinking caps.

Decide on Halloween costumes early to be sure you can complete sewing jobs or find just the right accessories in good time for the celebration.

Prepare for Seasonal Celebrations

Grab the family calendar, and note any upcoming events or celebrations.

Whether it's preparing treats for classroom parties, volunteering for a neighborhood festival, or organizing family fun like "BOO-ing" the neighbors, note commitments now. Add needed materials to a shopping list, and get organized ... for October fun!

Start the Halloween BOO in Your Neighborhood

86 Days to Christmas! Smart Scheduling Tips

Thinking about the holidays from a few weeks away, there’s a luxurious feeling of “plenty of time”, but as December draws near, the season’s pace quickens exponentially. Where did the time go?

Take major action against the seasonal time crunch with a pre-season scheduling session. The goal: to arrange for all those little appointments that slip the mind so easily.

Will you need to schedule carpet cleaning, dog grooming, furnace maintenance? Review the coming months and call now to arrange needed services.

Note the appointments on the family calendar, sit back and relax!

Calendar Power: Smart Scheduling for Stress-Free Holidays

87 Days to Christmas! Get Ready for Houseguests

Will your family host houseguests during the holidays this year?

Overnight visitors can be a lot of fun--but hosting houseguests can also be stressful. Will you have sheets, blankets, towels or bedspace to welcome visitors?

Check with family, friends and calendars now to prepare for holiday overnighters. With plenty of time to prepare, your family will be warm and gracious hosts.

Assemble A Pamper Basket

To get a reputation as the "hostess with the mostest", assemble a pamper basket for houseguests--a courtesy doubly appreciated in this day of air travel restrictions.

Throughout the year, collect sample sizes of toiletries and personal care supplies. Clearance sales and dollar stores are a great source for bath puffs and loofahs, scented soaps and bath oil, toothbrushes and travel kits. Returning from a trip? Unopened travel bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel find a good home in the pamper basket.

Stored in a basket, box or drawer in the guest room, the "pamper basket" supplies houseguests with any personal care item they may have forgotten or been forced to relinquish at security checkpoints.

An organized-home bonus: check the pamper basket whenever the household suddenly runs out of toothpaste or hand lotion. The travel-sized version will tide you over until shopping day!

88 Days to Christmas! Plan Holiday Travel

First step to getting organized for Christmas with a holiday calendar? Decide where your family will spend the holiday season.

Will you visit family for Thanksgiving or take a Christmas holiday? Make travel plans now!

Booking airplane flights, hotels and rental cars early helps keep costs down, while advance planning ensures that you'll have your choice of seat assignments, routes and carriers.

Plan early for the smoothest trip--and try these tips to keep the “happy” in holiday travel:

Tips For Holiday Season Travel

89 Days to Christmas! Shop For Frugal Stocking Stuffers

"Stocking stuffers" are a favorite holiday tradition in many families--but wait until December to acquire them, and you'll pay full price!

To fill stockings like Santa (but spend like Scrooge!) start now to collect on-sale gifts suitable for stocking stuffers.

Great stuffer materials are all around you, if you only look: cereal box giveaways, mail-in prizes and free samples all find a welcome home as stocking stuffers.

While we're gearing up to collect stocking stuffers early, don't miss September's best source for good, cheap stocking gifts: back-to-school clearance sales.

Last month's collection of markers, crayons and stickers are now residing on clearance tables in discount, crafts and office supply stores.

Look sharp--and "think stuffers"--to fill holiday stockings frugally!

Print A Stocking Stuffers Tracker

90 Days to Christmas! Organize Holiday Crafts

When it comes to the holiday season, ask any wife and mother what she needs most, and she'll tell you, "More time!" Yet this same busy lady will fill her Christmas gift list with elaborate hand-crafted gifts, requiring substantial outlays of cash, time and skill.

Result? She careens into mid-December either (1) working nightly until 1 a.m. to finish the lot or (2) substituting hurry-up last minute purchases for the unfinished gifts.

Handmade is great ... if you don't bite off more than you can chew (or sew, stamp or knit)! To reduce holiday crafting stress, get organized--and get realistic--when it comes to holiday crafts. Try these tips for a reality check for handmade Christmas goals:

No More UFOs: Get-Em-Done Strategies for Holiday Crafts