Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Countdown to an Organized Christmas - Day 36 - Celebrate Week

Article and Photo Courtesy of Organized Christmas

We're in the home stretch! It's Celebrate! Week at the Christmas Countdown, a time to tidy up our preparations and shift gears into full holiday mode.

Take stock today! Find and tie up those loose ends.

This week, we'll complete and mail Christmas cards, finalize gift-buying and gift-making, and plan any holiday parties.

We'll finish holiday decorating, inside and out. We'll focus on family, bringing all family members into the holiday preparations. We'll consider the children, and find ways to teach children about giving, not just about getting.

Most of all, we'll rejoice. While the holiday season means many things to many families, for all, it's a season of joy and celebration.

You're nearly ready ... to celebrate an organized Christmas!

To Do This Week

Celebrate Week Assignments (additional print outs available) 

To Do Today

Begin a family Advent observance. Use an Advent wreath, calendar or daily family activity to underscore your spiritual values, and research new traditions to bring meaning to the season.

Write and address final one-fifth of Christmas Card List this week. Mail all cards by December 10.

Complete the final one-fourth of your Gifts To Make list this week. If the gifts have not been completed, put them away for next year. Add any needed replacements to the Master gift List.

Purchase gifts for the final one-fifth of the Master Gift List, together with any gift substitutes for uncompleted "to make" gifts. Wrap gifts as they are purchased.

Keep a running total of gift expenditures and watch the budget!

Buy fresh trees, wreaths and garlands, and complete holiday decorating.

To Read Today

Mom, let go those holiday burdens and bring the family on-board. Families that work together, celebrate together:

Make Christmas A Family Affair

Who knows why? How did it happen? Women--wives and mothers--have come to bear the brunt of holiday preparation.

It's enough to make Barry Manilow sing! Women plan the meals, list the gifts and shop until we drop. We cook, we clean, we decorate--and we wrap and wrap and wrap.

Our hands cramp from addressing Christmas cards. We go short on sleep to run the sewing machine late into the night. We rise before dawn to anoint the holiday bird and entrust it to the oven.

Too often, we stew and mutter in our devastated kitchens as we clean up after yet another holiday meal to the sounds of football festivity in the next room.

There's something primitive and atavistic about this state of affairs. You'll find it in even the most modern, share-the-work, dual-career families. Whatever the arrangement of day-to-day life, in too many families the approaching holidays fall squarely on Mom's shoulders.

And that's too bad. Holiday preparation, when done in an unhurried manner, can be as much fun as the feast! Children and husbands need a sense of Christmas inclusion as much as Mom needs some helping hands.

Too often, Dad feels like nothing more than a bill-paying machine, shelling out big bucks for gifts, food, and decor over which he has little say. Young children need a sense of giving to accompany the gifts they receive. Teenagers may not show it on their "cool" exteriors, but will burst inside with pride when Tom Turkey is accompanied by a stuffing from their hands this year.

Open the door. Open the door to a family Christmas. Bring husbands, children, teenagers into the planning process, into the work, into the chores. Set a planning meeting for the entire family, and delegate, delegate, delegate.

No, those purple-iced cookies made with store-bought dough won't be as elegant as Mom's creations, but you'll never see happier bakers than the children who made them.

Give teens "adult" chores: baking desserts, writing Christmas cards, buying gifts for family members. They won't disappoint you.

Let husbands do more than stock the bar or haul the boxes, and they'll feel brought into the mainstream from out on the margins.

Plan a family cleaning day to vanquish those cleaning chores, and celebrate with the pizza man and a good holiday video.

Many hands make light work, and light hearts! Make this Christmas a family affair!

Today's Recipe

magic reindeer food

As you prepare for Christmas, don't forget Santa's reindeer! Share some seasonal magic--and create a new holiday tradition--with Magic Reindeer Food.

A sweet stocking stuffer, Magic Reindeer Food is sprinkled on the lawn to attract Santa's sleigh. It's a fun, fast tradition, and perfect for classroom gifts or Secret Santa exchanges. Make it in multiples with free printable gift tags including the Magic Reindeer Food poem.

Many families leave cookies and milk for Santa, but what about his reindeer?

Sprinkled on the lawn on Christmas Eve, Magic Reindeer Food leaves a glittering path--and a sweet snack--for Rudolph and friends.

An inexpensive stocking stuffer, Magic Reindeer Food makes a great classroom or Secret Santa gift.

Package this simple recipe in zipper food storage bags, and add a free printable gift tag containing the Magic Reindeer Food poem to make Magic Reindeer Food easy to make--and to give.

Magic Reindeer Food Recipe
In a small zipper food storage bag or empty shaker container, mix:

1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup red or green sugar crystals (as used for cake decorating)
[Note: many Internet recipes for Magic Reindeer Food call for craft glitter, which can harm birds or wildlife if ingested. For safety, substitute colored sugar crystals and be kind to animals!]

Add a printable gift tag or bag topper, or hand-print a tag using the Magic Reindeer Food poem below.

Magic Reindeer Food Poem
Be sure to take this magic food and sprinkle on the lawn,
On Christmas, Santa's reindeer travel miles before the dawn.
The smell of oats and glitter path will guide them on their way
And you'll wake up to Santa's gifts next morn on Christmas Day!

Print Magic Reindeer Food Gift Labels and Poem

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