Welcome to 101 Days to Christmas! This daily Web message is designed to help you prepare for the coming holiday season, one day at a time.

This year of all years, the holiday season will see substantial changes for many families.  Will we evolve our celebration to match our circumstances?  How will we reach for holiday joy in a world that faces serious challenges? 

I'm Cynthia Ewer, and I believe in the value of celebration, even during the darkest days.  That's why I've put aside my retirement to return this feature to the Web:  to help families find joy in the holidays. 

As we have since 2012, we'll spend the next 101 days breaking down Christmas planning into short, simple daily assignments.  Working one Christmas planning tip at a time, we'll get ready for the holiday season gradually, easily and as part of our seasonal fall celebration.

Working day by day, we'll get organized, set a holiday budget, and focus on gifts and giving. We'll tackle holiday cooking, get inspired to decorate, and round up favorite family traditions.

Along the way, we'll share recipes, decor inspirations and holiday celebration ideas for a fun, festive holiday season.  After the season, we'll observe the 12 Days of Christmas, then pack away the holiday for another year.

And we're getting an early start!  Why start planning for Christmas now? Here are six reasons why starting early makes sense:

Too Early to Think Christmas? Starting Now Makes Sense!