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Holiday Season Countdown! November 06, 2006 1:32 AM

1. Make a Christmas holiday planner notebook

The first step is to designate a Christmas holiday planner: a simple 3-ring notebook stocked with forms and information.

During the first week of the Countdown, you'll print most of the holiday organizer notebook forms, but many people prefer to get a head start. Visit the Countdown forms area of this site.

Begin with the Countdown calendar. It outlines the themes for each week of the Countdown. Add printable monthly planning calendars to your notebook. They'll form the backbone of your family's holiday planning.

Next, become familiar with each week's forms and assignments. Learn more about how the Countdown's six weekly themes will help you organize holiday gift-buying, cleaning, cooking, holiday cards and decorating.

We'll print the remainder of the forms as the Countdown progresses, but many folks like to complete this step ahead of time. Go right ahead!

Thinking about gifts? The Countdown notebook makes a great gift for friends and family members, so we've made it easy to give: next year's dated forms are free for the printing. Print extras for gifts--and next year, get ready for Christmas together!

2. Read daily reminder messages

Each day during the Countdown, we'll post a daily message with assignments, essays, links, recipes, and craft ideas on the OrganizedChristmas.Com home page. You'll read an inspiring message, and find links to the day's assignments, printable forms, craft and recipe ideas.

To read daily messages on the Web, you may want to make the Today page your start page. We've made it easy with a special link at the bottom right of our home page.

4. Join the fun!

You won't be counting down alone! Our interactive Web site makes it easy to make friends on the message boards, share recipes and favorite Web links for gift and craft ideas. You may also share gift ideas, recipes and questions on the Christmas Countdown message board.

Ready? The 2006 Countdown begins on Sunday, October 22 ... for a simpler, more joyous holiday season.

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 November 12, 2006 3:23 AM

Christmas Countdown Week One: Get Organized!
by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Planning for Christmas with the Christmas CountdownWelcome to Get Organized Week! The first week of the Countdown is a time for planning and calendars and lists, for setting our values and our course. As we break down holiday preparations into small, simple steps, we'll sketch out the outline of the holiday season to come.

This week, we begin to build a Christmas holiday planner or notebook, assess the state of the house, and enjoy the Halloween festivities. Ready? Let's get organized for a stress-free Christmas season!

To Do This Week:

Make the promise! Spend 15 minutes each day this week to get organized for Christmas.

Set up your Christmas holiday planner in a notebook or three-ring binder.

If you're using a clear pocket binder, print the cover and spine pages. Insert in pockets of your clear-view binder

Add blank lined pages for any notes and records.

Make or designate a holiday planning calendar. For your Christmas holiday planner, print the Countdown plan calendar. Want more flexible calendar forms? Add monthly planning calendars as needed.

Begin at the beginning: review your family's holiday values. Print and record your findings on the holiday values page.

Gift-buying looms! Start a master gift list. Print the master gift list form and use it to record purchases and home-made gift items.

Begin a Christmas card list. Locate addresses, and consider making a computerized Christmas card address list for maximum time savings. Or, print a Christmas card list for your holiday organizer notebook

Print a home spruce-up worksheet and complete the holiday home spruce-up exercise. Plan and schedule any pre-holiday home improvement projects.

Will your family travel this holiday season? Make travel plans and reservations this week.

Will you host houseguests this year? Make arrangements for any overnight guests.

Make an appointment for family photo sessions for holiday giving or photo Christmas cards.

Schedule carpet cleaning now! As the holidays approach, business picks up. Call now for your choice of appointment times.


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