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Christmas Countdown 2012: Start Planning for a Memorable Holiday Season Now!

In summary, Christmas is closer than you think and it's a great time to begin planning. Black Friday might be a good time to buy gifts, and Organized Christmas | Simplify Your Holidays and Celebrates the Season is a great website to help you have a stress-free Christmas.
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  • #51
Well, it can, chefa, if the person likes to cook and isn't on a restricted diet. Again, it's all about the recipient.
 
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  • #52
Today is November 12. There are only 43 days until Christmas!Right now the weather’s pretty good where I live. This is the perfect time to get some of those outside decorations in place. I’m not suggesting that you secure the giant blow-up Santa or manger scene in you yard. But, it will be much easier (and more pleasant) for you to put those lights up around the eaves or across your roof now than when it’s really cold and possibly snowy. You can wait until Thanksgiving weekend to do the really visible stuff and to turn those lights on.
 
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Today is November 14. There are only 41 days until Christmas!A "peanut" tip: it's easy to recycle Styrofoam packing materials if you dump them into a drawstring plastic garbage bag. Close the drawstring for storage. When you're ready to pack your own boxes, snip a wedge off a bottom corner of the bag. Pour your peanuts out the hole, then use a Twixit! Clip or Tie It to keep the corner closed.
 
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  • #54
Today is November 15. There are only 40 days until Christmas!Once you put your tree up you’ll probably have lots of fairly small things you’ll want to keep on hand—light fuses, extra bulbs, ornament hooks, etc. Get a small decorative gift box with a removable lid or decorate a box and lid separately so you can get inside easily. Put your tree supplies inside, then tuck the “present” under the tree. It will keep those things handy while getting rid of a bit of clutter. Make sure it will stand out among your packages, though. You don’t want to have to go searching through dozens of actual gifts to find it.
 
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Today is November 15. There are only 40 days until Christmas!

Once you put your tree up you’ll probably have lots of fairly small things you’ll want to keep on hand—light fuses, extra bulbs, ornament hooks, etc. Get a small decorative gift box with a removable lid or decorate a box and lid separately so you can get inside easily. Put your tree supplies inside, then tuck the “present” under the tree. It will keep those things handy while getting rid of a bit of clutter. Make sure it will stand out among your packages, though. You don’t want to have to go searching through dozens of actual gifts to find it.
 
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  • #56
Today is November 16. There are only 39 days until Christmas!

We're just one week from Black Friday. If you're a Black Friday shopper like me, you'll want to be prepared. Work on your list before you go. Many stores have already started letting you know some of what they'll be offering.

Don't just concentrate on gift shopping. I know that may be your main focus, but it's also a good day to pick up things that you've been wanting or needing for your home. Most of my gift shopping is done, so most of my list is things that are just for us. No reason not to take advantage of those sales for ourselves.

On Black Friday make sure you eat a healthy (but fast ;)) breakfast. I'll have something before I leave, but I know lots of people who stop for breakfast after their first couple of stores. Just don't load up on lots of simple carbs; you'll be sorry later when your energy bottoms out. Eating yummy stuff is part of the day, but don't completely fall off the wagon. Make wise choices and indulge sensibly.

Take along a healthy snack. When I'm power shopping I carry a small bag, backpack, or sling bag. I'll have a couple of Lara Bars or Cliff Bars in there just in case I start to lose energy or get too hungry. You know how it is—you get involved in those deals (or standing in line) and realize it's been far too long since you last ate. If you have something with you, you'll be less likely to reach for that tempting Cinnabon or candy bar.

Be safe. I shop alone, so I know I need to be very aware of the people around me. Make sure you lock your car. Pay attention to your surroundings. Make sure your most expensive purchases aren't readily visible to people who pass by your vehicle.

Have fun! I know I will.
 
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Today is November 17. There are only 38 days left until Christmas!Consider putting together a Christmas morning basket. The concept is simple: gather the tools and supplies you'll need to open Christmas gifts and put them in a basket, gift bag or gift box beneath the tree. Include items like scissors, box cutter, notepad and pen (for recording who got what from whom) camera or videocam, trash bags, zippered food storage bags (for bundling small pieces so they're not lost) and extra batteries. Yes, you can put those things in the box with the tree supplies, but I find it easier to keep them separate.
 
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Today is November 19. There are only 36 days left until Christmas!We’re coming into the home stretch. I’ve shared most of my get-ready-early ideas. If I come across another idea for getting things done ahead of time, I’ll definitely share it. The daily countdown officially stops at the end of November, though you know I won’t be able to resist posting right up to Christmas Eve. For me one of the most important things about Christmas is making sure to focus outward. What can I do to brighten another person’s day? I try to do that often, but I make it a special focus during the holiday season. So, most of my “official” posts from here on out will be ways to do something for someone else.Here’s something I’ve done for a number of years. Starting on Black Friday I make sure I always have mini candy canes in my purse or pocket when I enter a store. I hand them out to workers. If someone helps me find something I offer them a candy cane. When the cashier is done ringing up my purchase I offer him or her a candy cane. I also offer a candy cane to the person who bagged my purchase. Occasionally I’ll have someone decline my offer, but that’s okay. Most are very appreciative.
 
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Today is November 21. There are only 34 days until Christmas!First, let me wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! May you spend the day surrounded by those you love.Hold the door. Everyone’s rushing. Everyone’s focused on their own mission—finish the list. Make a genuine effort to hold the door for others over the next several weeks. Don’t expect a thank you, though. As I said, everyone’s focused on their own mission. Of course their bad behavior doesn’t let you off the hook. If someone holds the door for you be sure to make eye contact, smile, and say thank you. It just might make their day.
 
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heulflodyn said:
I couldn't find any!

They were available for purchase in September and early October.
 
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ah, that'll be why ... missed it. booo :-(
 
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Today is November 30. There are only 25 days left until Christmas!Want a tangible way to spread some cheer? Tip big for the next several weeks. This is a very busy time for people in a lot of service industries—restaurants, salons, etc. Unfortunately, this is the time of year they often deal with some of the nastiest customers. With the economy tight, it’s very likely that people will scale back their tips. Be amazingly different, and tip a little extra. Also, many of us take advantage of some fantastic deals this time of year. My lunch on Black Friday was actually free. But, when your meal is discounted, don’t discount your tip. Tip on the full, non-discounted amount of your meal. In fact, since you’re saving so much, tip a little extra. Those of you who know me might remember about my tip cards. I leave a little card with every tip thanking the server for their attention. Of course, if it accompanied a skimpy tip it probably wouldn’t have quite the same impact.
 
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Today is December 5. There are only 20 days until Christmas!Visit someone who can't get out. Do you have a neighbor who's housebound? Is there someone from church who barely makes it out once a week for services? Is there a nursing home nearby? People need people, and spending a little bit of time talking with someone who has few visitors could be one of the best gifts you give yourself this year.Better yet, share your holidays. Do you know someone who might be alone for Christmas? Invite them to share in your celebration. Years ago our son's friend moved in with us. He was just finishing high school. His parents were divorced, and he had been living with his dad. It's a long story, but he was given 24 hours to move out of his dad's house. It was October when he moved in with us and became part of our family. His family had never celebrated anything--birthdays, Christmas, anything. Ours was his first real Christmas celebration. For several years he spent at least part of Christmas day with us.* I can't tell you the joy that comes from inviting someone to become part of your family for the day.*He’s now married and celebrating Christmas with his wife and her family. They know they are always welcome here during the holidays, though. After all, he’s one of our kids, making her our kid-in-law. Still, he’s no longer alone on Christmas.
 
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raebates said:
Today is November 30. There are only 25 days left until Christmas!

Want a tangible way to spread some cheer? Tip big for the next several weeks. This is a very busy time for people in a lot of service industries—restaurants, salons, etc. Unfortunately, this is the time of year they often deal with some of the nastiest customers. With the economy tight, it’s very likely that people will scale back their tips. Be amazingly different, and tip a little extra.

Also, many of us take advantage of some fantastic deals this time of year. My lunch on Black Friday was actually free. But, when your meal is discounted, don’t discount your tip. Tip on the full, non-discounted amount of your meal. In fact, since you’re saving so much, tip a little extra.

Those of you who know me might remember about my tip cards. I leave a little card with every tip thanking the server for their attention. Of course, if it accompanied a skimpy tip it probably wouldn’t have quite the same impact.

A bit less tangible, but along the same lines: Express your gratitude for service received elsewhere, too. Store managers often get complaints when something is wrong, but it is much rarer to receive a compliment on a job well done. It often goes a really long way to just mention to the store manager that the person who helped you did a great job. Many companies will present the associate with a commendation card or something of that nature in front of peers, and we all know how important recognition is (that's why some of us are in this business to begin with)!
 
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Today is December 7. There are only 18 days until Christmas!Give yourself a silent night. Turn off everything--TV, computer, phones, etc. Take one evening (or even just a couple of hours) to remove yourself from the world. If there are other people at home you can play a game or just sit and talk. If you're alone you can read a book or take a nap. How does this fit into my goal of reaching out? You can't give what you don't have. By giving yourself a chance to rest and refresh yourself you'll have the energy and good will to pass along to others.
 
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Today is December 8. There are only 17 days left until Christmas!Be anonymous. Leave a gift on someone's doorstep, ring the bell, and run. There's an inexplicable joy in surprising someone when they don't know it's you.
 
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Today is December 11. There are only 14 days, that's 2 weeks until Christmas!Find a place to give. Volunteer to ring bells, serve a meal, or anything else that will help someone else. I’ve read about a family that gets up on Christmas morning and makes a huge batch of pancakes and coffee. They then take these along with cups, paper plates, plastic forks, and syrup down to where the homeless gather in their town. Before they ever open one gift or peek into one stocking they give to others.One easy way to give? Take a little time and give blood sometime in the next couple of weeks. It’s one of the best gifts you can give a stranger this year.
 
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Today is December 14. There are only 11 days left until Christmas!Smile and inquire about the person who is serving you. When the person taking your order or the cashier behind the counter says, "Welcome to _____________. How are you today?" Respond with, "I'm [good, great, wonderful, fantastic, blessed, or however you’re feeling], thanks. How are you?"I'm amazed at how often it really catches that person off guard. I've been rewarded with big smiles. I've had many people thank me for asking. I've had several others tell me that no one ever asks them that. Showing concern for others can be a wonderful way to spread Christmas cheer.
 
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Today is December 17. There are only 8 days until Christmas!One week from today we will be celebrating Christmas Eve. Our tradition is to allow our son to open 1 gift while we eat cookies and drink hot cocoa. Our baby boy (now 26) will not be home this year. When I shipped his gifts I included one marked boldly "Open Christmas Eve!" It's his favorite coffee beans so that he'll have his favorite coffee on Christmas morning. Whatever your traditions, do your best to let those traditions grow with your family.
 
<h2>What kind of Christmas do you want? </h2><p>It's important to start thinking about the type of Christmas you want to have now. Will it be a spiritual celebration, a small gathering, or a big party? Make sure to communicate your plans with friends and family so they can prepare as well.</p><h2>How do you want to do business?</h2><p>Consider your holiday business strategy now so you can give your customers a heads-up. Will you have a Black Friday sale, a Christmas open house, or an after-Christmas sale? Look at the calendar and plan accordingly to avoid any last-minute stress.</p><h2>Who are you buying gifts for?</h2><p>Make a list of everyone you plan on buying gifts for this holiday season. This will help you stay organized and on budget. If someone suggests not exchanging gifts, make sure to communicate that early on so you can make alternate plans.</p><h2>How do I know how many days are left?</h2><p>Follow @ChristmasCount on Twitter or check out "Organized Christmas" for helpful holiday planning resources and a countdown to Christmas. It's never too early to start getting into the holiday spirit and preparing for a memorable Christmas.</p>

Related to Christmas Countdown 2012: Start Planning for a Memorable Holiday Season Now!

What kind of Christmas do you want?

It's important to start thinking about the type of Christmas you want to have now. Will it be a spiritual celebration, a small gathering, or a big party? Make sure to communicate your plans with friends and family so they can prepare as well.

How do you want to do business?

Consider your holiday business strategy now so you can give your customers a heads-up. Will you have a Black Friday sale, a Christmas open house, or an after-Christmas sale? Look at the calendar and plan accordingly to avoid any last-minute stress.

Who are you buying gifts for?

Make a list of everyone you plan on buying gifts for this holiday season. This will help you stay organized and on budget. If someone suggests not exchanging gifts, make sure to communicate that early on so you can make alternate plans.

How do I know how many days are left?

Follow @ChristmasCount on Twitter or check out "Organized Christmas" for helpful holiday planning resources and a countdown to Christmas. It's never too early to start getting into the holiday spirit and preparing for a memorable Christmas.

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