Countdown to Christmas

Are you stressed yet?  We are 6 weeks away from Christmas.  It’s time to start prepping for the holiday!

ü  Holiday Checklists – Avoid sticky notes which tend to get lost and get organized by downloading these well thought out Christmas planners from Organized Home Christmas.  These 6 week organizing plans provide checklists that are particularly useful as you can size and print them to fit your Day planner.  Best of all, the planners are FREE!

ü  Holiday Treats Test Run - Once you decide what treats you plan to make as gifts for friends/hosts/etc. be sure to do a practice run before Thanksgiving.  
A few years ago, I planned on making a candy bark recipe from a famous Food Network chef.  Though the bark looked pretty, the end result was not very tasty.  Seriously frazzled at the last minute, I threw out the bad batch and switched to another recipe.  Avoid my mistake by making a practice batch this weekend.  Then, you will know if your holiday recipe is successful and you will have ample time to adjust.

ü  Personalized Gift Boxes & Tags
   Chefs Medallions – Order these beautiful stickers from Felix Doolittle to place on the tin or wrapping of your homemade goods.  My friend Angela N. tipped me off to these darling medallions.  Felix Doolittle is a online stationer with lovely paper products including gifts, stationery, calling cards, and return address labels.  You may even find them at your local stationery store, though it is quicker to order online.  $25.00 per 20 labels

   Personal EmbosserWilliam Sonoma carries a custom designed Embosser.  Engraved with your name, this allows you to use it year round as gift tags for homemade goodies.  I have one, and I use it regularly.  $39.95 per embosser

   Gift Tags & Labels – If you are short on time to order custom tags or you run out of the current batch, head to Staples to grab extra tags from the Martha Stewart Staples Collection.  Martha Stewart partnered with Avery Labels to help you create your quick labels, tags, or handwritten chalkboard labels. Prices range from $3.99-$14.99 depending on selection/quantity/size

   Pastry Boxes – These monogrammed French pastry boxes are exceptional in detail.  With swirls and monograms, the boxes will protect the baked goods while making a beautiful gift presentation. offers both regular boxes, and ones with cupcake dividers and candy trays. is the original supplier to the Williams Sonoma site, so going direct will be a bit more affordable!  Prices range from $23.00 for 10-14 boxes depending on size
ü  Gift Wrap - Most any holiday wrap will work whether you favor styles from Container Store, Target, Walmart, Michaels, Joann’s, etc. Alternate fun and affordable gift wrap sellers are at your local Holiday Crafts Fairs and specialty stores. 

In Dallas, the Chi-O Christmas Market always offers up a great selection of holiday wrap, ribbons and boxes.  I have been known to make an extra stop at PollyDuPont in Richardson because they have custom wrap in house (items purchased in-store only). 
I like to give each person in my family at least one beautifully wrapped gift at Christmas.  Sadly, I am not a skilled bow maker and Neiman Marcus gave up its beautiful holiday wrap years ago.  St.Michaels Exchange has a selection of 12 or so elegant and whimsical wraps.  They will wrap items purchased in-store or you can bring something you bought elsewhere.  In addition, SME will ship to any desired location. Be sure to drop your gifts for wrapping soon as the queue backs up approaching Christmas.

ü  Holiday Cards – Try to order your photo cards now—it will be significantly cheaper if you don’t have to place a rush on them closer to Christmas.  Select a pretty family photo, or a few fun ones from the past year.  My favorite sites for Holiday Cards are TinyPrints, Minted, and Shutterfly, and Peartree Greetings.  Be sure to look for discount codes as most all sites have promo rates during the holidays.

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