Best, order free flat-rate mailing boxes directly from the United States Postal Service ... and did I mention that the boxes are free? This year, USPS offers holiday-themed boxes, a sweet touch for a happy time. Order now and put the postal service to work ... for you!
To send season's greetings--and not lose track of family, friends or your sanity--it's time to begin a Christmas card list. Whether you'll send Christmas cards, holiday letters, or transmit season's greetings by e-mail, starting early saves last-minute holiday stress.
Whether you print a Christmas card list or generate your list via computer power, start checking your list now. Tracking cards sent and received will bring a breath of blessed calm during the height of the holiday season.
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!
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.
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 computer, and check the condition of the family film library. Rent or replace lost or damaged items, and add any new contenders to the online queue or shopping list.
Track family favorites with our free printable Holiday Favorites form. It'll organize holiday books, holiday movies and holiday music ... and a wish list!
"Secret Santa" gift exchanges can be a great way to cut holiday stress. Sometimes known as White Elephant Gift Exchanges or a Yankee Swap, a Secret Santa gift exchange allows families, social groups or co-workers draw names from a hat, and give an anonymous gift, rather than purchasing and giving multiple items to the whole group.
Start thinking now about organizing Secret Santa exchanges--and to jumpstart the process, try these online Secret Santa resources. They're free, and make it easy to set up and organize a Secret Santa exchange: