Holidays

Unique Gift Ideas for Your 2018 Christmas Gift List

I must come clean. I’ve already begun Christmas shopping. I know it’s not even Halloween yet. I’ve already made a 2018 Christmas gift list on my Wunderlist app to keep track of the gifts I need to buy and the gifts I’ve already purchased. The gift I got was for someone who is easy to shop for, that’s why I was able to find just the right thing when I was hardly looking.

But this made me think about all the people I need to buy gifts for who are incredibly hard to shop for. We all have a few of those relatives on our list. It also got me thinking about all the spouses, partners, non-shoppers and anyone else who struggles to come up with that something special for that someone special in their lives. The way I see it, when it comes to holidays we all need all the help we can get.

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A Tale of a Frightful House

cluttered house

On Halloween night…

Creepy skeletons, fuzzy black spiders and foam gravestones in your front-yard graveyard spooked the young trick-or-treaters aplenty, but only you knew that the truly frightful and terrifying was inside your house, hidden and unseen – because no visitors had been welcomed inside for a long time. Only on Halloween did anyone approach your porch.

Inside the house, no one opened closets for fear of what might come tumbling out. Everywhere were dusty piles of stuff

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Five Holiday Prep Tasks You Can Do Now

get ready for the holiday

I am talking not about buying a jack-o-lantern and decorating for Halloween. Because I know that most of you have already done that. I am talking about time-saving holiday preparation for the BIG holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Clear the Space

Say you are a crafty person, and your dining table is currently being used for ‘non-dining’ purposes. This is the time to finish whatever project lay in pieces on the dining table. We’re always busy. Put some specific times on your calendar and prioritize finishing the project. Devote time to clearing the space for the holiday celebration.
Sound completely overwhelming? I get that.

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5 Ways to Make a Rainy February Productive

Plan and be productive

February – the month of the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, football jerseys and candy hearts. Around here, it’s also the month when we start wishing for the puddles to dry and spring to arrive. While it is still cold and gray outside, you CAN be productive and get lots done inside. Grab your favorite coffee drink, and let’s get cracking!

Put Away Holiday Decor

If you haven’t done so yet, pack up the rest of the holiday décor and put it away until next year. Return your inflatable Santa to it’s box in the garage, and recycle the sad, dry Christmas wreath. If the gloomy February weather is sapping your energy, you might need an energetic, cheerful organizer to boost your productivity and get the last of that holiday décor put away. We are a phone call away.

Reduce your Partner’s Burden this Valentine’s Day

For Valentine’s Day, think about doing something simple yet thoughtful.

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New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

New Year's Resolution

 

On New Year’s Eve, a friend asked me whether I set New Year’s resolutions. In the past I have, but like many people, I didn’t really stick to my resolutions. I think this is because January 1st is an arbitrary day to begin doing something new or something I should have been doing all along. Just because it’s January doesn’t mean that my schedule is any different. There is no magic fairy that comes and gently clears my calendar with one soft breath, leaving time for me to work on my resolutions. On the contrary, January is time to catch up on work I delayed when taking time off during the holidays.

My friend said that instead of setting resolutions she’s unlikely to keep, she chooses a specific word – one that evokes what she’s striving for during that year. In 2017, her word was – nonjudgmental. Good choice, I thought!

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10 Quick Ways to Make Your Kitchen Holiday Ready

Holiday Kitchen

During the holidays we use our kitchen more than any other time of the year. We will bake cookies. We will host family and friends for dinner. Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve give us plenty of opportunities to use all our dishes, kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, appliances, and panty items. This makes it a perfect time to make decisions about what kitchen items are still relevant, needed and useful.

  1. Check your pantry supplies. Use website stilltasty.com to determine whether your spices or other pantry staples need to be replaced. Make a list of staples you need to replace.
  2. Will you use fine china for special dinners this holiday season? Many don’t.
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5 Steps to Make Your Guest Bedroom Ready for Thanksgiving Guests

A guest bedroom

There are two more weeks until Thanksgiving, and I am C-A-L-M. We are getting ready early this year. We know who is coming over for dinner. I have ordered my turkey. I know what the menu will be and who is bringing what dish. I’ve even made a shopping list. Bring it on! I admit it, I was feeling in control. Then, last night, one of the kiddos was feeling congested and he wanted the humidifier in his room. Piece of cake, I knew exactly where to look!

A few minutes later, as I am digging around in the guest bedroom closet, unsuccessfully trying to locate the humidifier, a terrible thought occurred to me. Guests will need to sleep in this very room and it looks like a tornado swept through here long ago! My smug holiday mood evaporated pretty quickly.

The door to the guest room is always closed, and for good reason! The bed hasn’t had sheets on it

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Get Help for the Holidays: Outsource, Delegate, Simplify!

Holidays

The taste of Halloween candy is still fresh on your lips, but you’ve already begun feeling the stress of the upcoming holidays. The next two months will be a whirlwind of shopping, planning, hosting, traveling, and celebrating, all on top of your already frenetic life. This should be a joyful time of year, but with all that is on your to-do list, it feels overwhelming. Instead of hiding under your covers until January, tackle the holidays with this three-prong strategy: Outsource, Delegate and Simplify.

You deserve help – who says you need to tackle the entire holiday season by yourself?

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Create a Calm Home For This Valentine’s Day

Create calm in your home this Valentine's Day by decluttering.

Did you know that each year 180 million cards are exchanged, and 198 million roses are used on Valentine’s Day? With over 13 billion dollars spent each year, Valentine’s Day is a big deal to many people.

Simple Gestures to Create a Lovely Valentine’s Day

Although the most common gifts are flowers, candy and cards, there are countless great ways to make your Valentine’s Day truly special. A small thing like making the bed can be a lovely gesture of caring for your Valentine. You can honor your loved one by taking just a little time to declutter the common spaces in your bedroom and bathroom. Hang up clothes

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The Case for Handwritten Thank You Notes

Thank You Notes are an Important Tradition

The holidays are about traditions. Some holiday traditions are generic and some are unique to the family, some are old and some new. At some point, the job of passing on these traditions shifts from the grandparents, to parents of young children. It’s not discussed, it just happens that way. Family traditions need repetition in order to carry on, much like good habits need repetition to stick. In our half Jewish family, we do a great job with the traditions surrounding Christmas, but we are lousy about lighting the menorah at Hanukkah. This year we only remembered the first day, shame on us. Actually, shame on my husband and me, because we need to be the ones to carry out these traditions so that they become ingrained in our children’s experience of the holidays. It’s that whole lead by example thing. Something else the kids won’t continue, if we don’t,

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