57 Days to Christmas! Set Up a Wrap and Mail Center

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.

Set Up A Holiday Wrap And Mail Center!

Add this gift wrap and mail checklist to your Christmas planner:

Gift Wrap and Mail Checklist

63 Days to Christmas! Check Family Photo Outfits

Any parent of multiple children (and lots of one-child families!) knows that dressing for family holiday photos is easier said than done.

Who hasn't been there, frantically scrubbing at stains and tugging down sleeves while the photographer taps his foot? Worse, last-minute clothing issues don't lead to happy faces for the family photo.

This week, check the condition and fit of any outfits to be worn in family photo sessions. If garments need to be added or replaced, add them to the seasonal shopping list. Save time and tears!

68 Days to Christmas! Tackle Fall Cleaning

Chill breezes blow, signaling that it's time to prepare the house for the coming of winter. Fall cleaning ahead!

Take time now to tackle seasonal cleaning chores around the house. An Autumn session of deep-cleaning carries the family into the holiday season from a clean house; exterior decorating goes more smoothly if fall yard-clean up chores are completed early.

Try this Fall Cleaning chore checklist from sister site Organized Home to guide fall cleaning:

Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist

70 Days to Christmas! Plan Home Spruce-Up Projects

It's not just "visions of sugarplums" that dance through our heads when we think of the holiday season. Many of us also succumb to Holiday House Fever: an intense desire to begin major home decor projects in the weeks before Christmas.

Anybody who's ever decorated a Christmas tree before a half-painted wall knows the risk: our dreams overpower our time, energies and resources.

Result: damp carpets, naked windows, wet paint and lots of stress.

Today, we'll bring sanity to the question of holiday home spruce-ups. The Holiday Home Spruce-Up exercise in realistic planning will anchor our dreams and help us identify realistic, doable goals.

Ready? It's a cure for Holiday House Fever:

Holiday Home Spruce-Up

71 Days to Christmas! Clean Out the Coat Closet

Brisk weather is on the way; time to clear out the coat closets!

Whether it's making space for family cold-weather gear or preparing for seasonal visitors, now's the time to clear out the coat closet. Does your outerwear storage space work for you?

Not that a designated "closet" is always the right solution! Many families prefer to keep coats, umbrellas, gloves and galoshes in open storage areas. Hang coats on pegs, tuck boots under a low bench, and consider an over-the-door shoe rack to corral little mittens, hats and scarves.

Check closet space from a guest's perspective, too. Are extra hangers available--and appropriate for heavy outer garments? Is there enough room to add a bulky parka without crushing a woman's wool coat?

Clear it out and be ready ... for Christmas!