Christmas organizing tips
•Take a good look at the calendar, marking off parties, school concerts, exams and hockey games.
• Try to get gift shopping out of the way early. Set up a wrapping station in a spare room or home office and keep a list of what you've bought so you don't overdo it.
• Draw up a Christmas card list. A few friends and family like to see a casual photo of the kids; everyone else gets a simple greeting card.
• Set aside a day for some family baking. Our youngest son, Craig, loves to make gingerbread houses so we always make at least one. We inevitably eat some of our creations as we go – the rest go into the freezer.
• Move a few accessories into storage to make room for Christmas decorations like a tabletop tree.
• Buy some beautiful ribbons to hang boxwood wreaths from the family room windows.
• String some clear mini-lights around the potted evergreens on the front porch.
• Buy traditional Advent calendars – the kids still love them.
• Finish the last-minute Christmas shopping you should have done last month.
• Unpack decorations and ornaments for the tree – many of ours are beautiful wooden pieces we've collected and been given over the years. They keep happy company with handmade creations from the kids.
• Buy a Fraser Fir and a smaller tabletop evergreen from the local Scout group. Enlist the kids to help decorate them.
• Stock up on the basics – fresh creamy white candles, wine, champagne and scotch.
• Fill the freezer with finger foods for impromptu gatherings.
• Decorate with simple glass bowls of fruit – they last longer than flowers.
• Load the cd player with some good holiday music.
• Order a fresh turkey.
• Fill a few silver bowls with chocolate treats. Keep refilling them as they quickly disappear!
• Light the fire and relax.
Smaller is better
Sometimes smaller is better, especially when decorating your whole home for the holidays seems too overwhelming. Try choosing just a corner and creating a seasonal vignette with nothing more than a tabletop tree and some beautifully wrapped packages. A large Fraser Fir usually dominates our family room, but this diminutive tree looks right at home in the living room. A small, peaceful corner like this will become a place of respite, where you'll want to spend a few moments each day and let the spirit of the season wash over you.