Gifts & Giving

16 Days to Christmas! Print Holiday Labels

Printable address labels are wonderful things, and never more so than during the holiday season.

Sure, they'll see to it that your Christmas cards get to the right address, but try these other uses for self-adhesive address labels during the holiday season:

  • Label baked goods for a professional touch. Seasonal clip art makes it pretty!
  • Home-printed gift tags for Christmas gifts will stay put in transit.
  • Party name tags or dinner party place cards are easy to create with labels.
  • Identify all those cords behind the Christmas tree: wrap a label around the cord, stick the ends together and mark which lights are which for easy reference.

    18 Days to Christmas! Wrap As You Go

    It's the holiday chore nobody wants: wrapping gifts at midnight, Christmas Eve. To head off last-minute wrapping, wrap gifts as you go.

    Wrapping in small doses, you'll do a better job and enjoy it, too. To track whose gift is which, use small stickey notes to identify gifts. (Deter snoops with a numbering system tied to the master gift list!)

    Another way to ease gift-wrap chores is holding a gift-wrap party with friends. Pour hot cider, put out a plate of holiday cookies and stack Christmas music in the CD player as you chat and wrap together.

    A clutter-busting bonus? Swap leftover gift wrap at the end of the event; a friend's tired roll end becomes your family's fresh new pattern.

    58 Days to Christmas! Force Christmas Bulbs

    Blooming bulbs make a fresh, fragrant holiday gift--and a welcome reminder of springtime, as winter closes in.

    Forcing bulbs for Christmas blooms is easy and inexpensive, but it does take time.

    If fresh amaryillis is on your gift list, the time is now! These bulbs will be at their best eight weeks after forcing, so start them today.

    Need some tips? Try this site for information about forcing bulbs for winter blooms:

    Forcing Amaryillis For Christmas

    62 Days to Christmas! Plan Secret Santa Exchanges!

    "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:

    Secret Santa


    77 Days to Christmas! Plan For Holiday Bazaars

    For a super source of holiday decor items, gifts and baked goods, shop local Christmas bazaars. Often benefitting worthy causes or organizations, these informal gatherings offer food, fun and a welcome leg up on the gift list.

    To find bazaars in your area, look to local newspapers or community web sites; many provide seasonal listings of holiday bazaars and harvest fairs.

    Add 'em to your calendar, check 'em out ... for a good time and a quick start to holiday shopping.

    83 Days to Christmas! Get Ready for Catalog and Online Shopping

    They're heerrree ... online bargains and holiday catalogs!

    Planning for Christmas, shopping from home has many advantages over the holiday mall scene. No long lines. No sore feet. No staggering to the car, weighed down by parcels and shopping bags. Shopping becomes a pleasure, conducted from a favorite chair. Phone in your selections, sit back, and wait for the UPS man. Ahhhhh!

    Still, it's possible to have too much of a good thing! The catalog tide sweeps in at the end of August, engulfing mailboxes and tabletops with untidy stacks and piles--and disorganized catalog shopping exacts a high price for convenience.

    How to shop smart and save? Try these three tips to organize catalog shopping:

    Three Tips for Smart Catalog Shopping

    To track catalog and Internet purchases, add an order tracker page to your Christmas planner:

    Catalog/Internet Order Tracker

    91 Days to Christmas! Planning Handmade Gifts

    Have you taken the "handmade holidays" pledge?

    Handmade Christmas gifts add meaning and connection to holiday giving--while reducing commercialism, encouraging green giving and reducing packaging and clutter.

    Going handmade does take some doing, however. You'll want to start early to complete handmade gifts in good time.

    The simplest way to keep track of gifts-in-progress? Make and keep a Gifts To Make inventory list.

    Whether you use our free printable form, or record projects on a simple notebook page, tracking projects means you're more likely to complete them.

    Reviewed weekly, it'll remind you of planned homemade gifts.

    Handmade is hot, so get crafting--and get organized!

    Print a Gifts-to-Make List