There are so many already aired holiday ads, and the stores have had their winter holiday aisles up since just after Labor Day. Retailers certainly won’t let us forget that the holidays are almost upon us. Our email inboxes are already full of coupons for holiday cards and ideas for holiday meals. So, have you made your appointment for your family holiday photo yet? Are YOU ready for the holidays?
Without putting the horse before the cart, here is a checklist of items you can do now so that you are not overwhelmed as the holiday season arrives.
- Get out your holiday recipes. Check your pantry to make sure you have what you need so you don’t have to run to the store in the midst of holiday food prep.
- Plan your Thanksgiving meal. Order your turkey, if that’s what’s on the menu. Your butcher will thank you for not waiting until the last minute.
- Also plan your holiday baking. You can easily make breads and cookies now and freeze them for future use.
- Buy containers for freezer meals, holiday gifts and baked goods. The stores are full of holiday themed disposable ware.
- Take stock of your china, holiday tablecloths, serving pieces and stemware. If you need additional items you have plenty of time to look for sales.
- Review your address book. Update any changes and count how many holiday cards you need to order. It’s also not too early to start writing your holiday letter.
- Make your gift list and plan your budget. Look through your wrapping supplies and see if you need extra tissue paper, ribbons and bows.
- Make travel arrangements if you will be visiting family out of town. Service your car so that it is ready for the trek to Grandma’s house.
- If you are hosting family, check your supply of extra linens, towels and throw blankets. Schedule carpet cleaning, window washing and a professional house cleaning so that your home is sparkling.
- And finally, don’t forget to plan for a haircut, and a mani/pedi so that you start the holiday season relaxed and looking great.
For those of us who are not having Labor Day weekend parties but have instead planned camping trips here are a few tips to make the holiday as enjoyable as possible. Labor Day is such a busy camping time that it’s crucial to make reservations at the campground of your choice in advance. Waiting until the last minute is likely to leave you scrambling to find a spot for the weekend.
Please check the weather. Your local television station will have up-to-date forecasts. Pack clothing and camping gear depending on the weather. If it’s predicted to be cold, pack warm clothing, long-sleeves and pants. If the weather is going to be hot, opt for shorts and tank tops. But, keep in mind that you’ll need to pack at least one warm outfit for each person, because nights can be cool during Labor Day weekend. It’s also imperative to pack bug spray, wet wipes, toilet paper and a first aid kit.
Plan your menu. Do you have a camping stove or will you be cooking directly over the fire? This is an important difference. If you are cooking over an open fire, pre make many of your meals as possible, wrap them in foil and reheat. Burritos are an especially easy option in this situation. If you have a stove, the world is your oyster. Don’t forget to pack paper towels and dish soap for easy cleanups. A huge container of water for cleaning, drinking and brushing your teeth is also a necessity.
Since you will be “unplugging” from the real world you’ll want to bring a deck of cards, a football or a Frisbee for entertainment.
And most importantly, bring marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate. It’s never a good camping trip without making smores.
Baking Cookies: You could bake the cookies the night before so there’s less hassle the day of the party. Another option is to have everyone bring his or her own special batch of cookies so you have a variety of holiday cookies.
Decorating Stations: Have everyone pick a few cookies and set up stations so people can get up and move around to mingle with everyone. Set up an icing station with multiple icing colors in containers, a sprinkles space, and an area for miscellaneous cookie decorations.
Include the Kids: Set a table up just for the kids with all of the essential decorating tools in the middle so everyone can enjoy. If you keep the cookie decorations in one place it helps with the clean up, too. Put down a plastic tablecloth or one that you won’t mind getting a little dirty, just in case.
Adults Only: If you would prefer a more grown up approach to the cookie decorating party, just add a drink station for adults only.
Cookie decorating is fun for everyone! To make the party a little more interesting, have a prize for the best-decorated cookie at the end of the night. It’s always nice to see your friends and families’ creative talents on a delicious cookie that can be devoured in a few bites! We hope you’re enjoying this time of the year!
‘Tis the season to get ahead on your holiday decorating. It’s officially December and if you haven’t already started the home decorating process, here are just a few quick tips that may help you this year!
Make lists: Figure out what tasks you need to complete. Ask the kids what they want to do and make a to-do list for them. This will help you spread the joy and have everyone do a little something for the house.
Set Deadlines: Make each task in your list have a deadline. It’ll make the holiday decorating process a little less daunting, and it always feels good to complete something!
Plan ahead: Remember when you’re taking out all of the decorations for this holiday season, that you’ll need to put them back. Make it easy on yourself and make a note of where the decorations all go. After the season, remember what a pain it was taking everything out of their boxes and take the time to package them up the way you want.
Organize Decorations: Put them into piles according to which room they will go in and get the kids to help put them up! It’s great for you and makes it a family affair, which can eventually become a fun family tradition.
It’s a great time of the year so have fun with your decorating this year!
Imagining a new room or remodel is part of the fun. While choosing finishes and materials can be overwhelming at times, looking at samples can be one of the most enjoyable things about the design process. Walking into one of our stores is like walking into a candy store for a kid. There are so many beautiful options and infinite combination possibilities await.
If you are redoing a house, a room or just adding new flooring for the holidays, getting samples is a must. Having some idea of what you are looking for before you go to the store is also a must. Pull together ideas online on a Pinterest board, magazines, or create your own workbook here. Knowing what direction you want to go in will save you time and sometimes money on your project.
Setting a budget and accounting for overages should be done before you begin to look at materials. Most home projects will go over budget—so account for overages in your initial calculations. This is another reason samples are important. Being able to take home a carpet, wood floor, tile or even upholstery sample can save you time and money in the end. It allows you to visualize your room better. Making the wrong decision in material, size, or color can be an expensive error. If you want to decorate or remodel your home for holidays, we’ve got an amazing holiday offer going on now until December 9th, 2012! Here is more detailed information for your Holiday Home Makeover.
If you are working on multiple surfaces, pull all your samples together so you can see how the different materials work together or don’t work together. Paint, flooring, upholstery and tile samples can give you a sense of the overall design in a small format. You can also try out our Virtual Room Designer to help envision your room with all of these elements.
We can help get your house ready for the upcoming busy season so you can truly enjoy celebrating with loved ones! Even if you’re not planning on entertaining the whole gang this year, now, is still a great time to cross a few home maintenance items off of that list.
We’ve got a huge selection of in-stock materials and fantastic deals on the latest styles. Take a look at some of these fabulous deals:
- Up to 35% off NAFCO Permastone
- Only $.99 per sq. ft. on select Porcelain tiles
- 20% off Mohawk DuPont Sorona and Wear Dated carpet with purchase of Mohawk Smart Pad
- Get anywhere from 10%-20% off the entire line of Quickstep Laminate
- Our entire line of Dal-Tile products are 10% off
- Find a variety of Mohawk Hardwood up to 15% off
- Have a family meeting and decide where you will spend Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. Start checking travel sites to find the best prices on airfare and hotels.
- Make sure your family calendar is up to date. Most teachers are organized enough to tell you in advance when they need treats for Halloween parties, when the holiday concert has been scheduled and when the holiday vacation starts. Plan now for childcare during winter break.
- Make sure you know what your children want to be for Halloween. This will avoid the last minute scramble to the costume store.
- Think about holiday cards. If you want to send a family photo have it taken now instead of waiting until the last minute.
- Start planning your holiday budget so that you can stay on track. If you are on a budget, suggest a Secret Santa gift exchange with family, friends and colleagues.
- Start planning your Thanksgiving meal – if you are cooking. By planning ahead of time you can take advantage of sales in your local grocery stores.
- Pull out holiday decor and assess what to use or toss and replace. Shop sales to find new decorations.
- Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, but you can find sales all the way to the big day. If you can find time during the weekday to shop do so – stores are less busy.
- Start wrapping gifts as soon as you buy them. You’ll keep little eyes from seeing gifts early.
- Make double batches of cookie dough. Now you have extra for holiday parties and school cookie exchanges.
- Think about sending your holiday cards on-line.
- Assess your holiday wardrobe. Plan outfits now so you won’t scramble later. Take clothes to the dry cleaner and have shoes repaired.
- Ship gifts. Skip the post office and schedule an at-home UPS pickup.
- Instead of throwing a holiday party, have a girls night out instead. Get mani-pedis, drink some bubbles and giggle with your best friends.
Finally, remember the holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy your family. If you don’t bake all the cookies on your list, or your house isn’t Martha Stewart worthy – don’t worry.
Garages were created for cars, but people park a lot of other stuff there as well. Garden shovels, sports gear, pet supplies and anything else you don’t know where else to put. The catchall can quickly turn into a dumping ground, which is why organization is essential in any garage.
1. Climb the Walls
The first step toward creating a clutter-free garage is getting as many items as possible off the floor. Wall-mounted track systems are a big asset.
2. Systematize Storage
Think logically about what goes where on the track system. For example, in the summer, a beach chair will get more use than a snow shovel, so it hangs up front.
3. Revive Dead Space
Rather than ignore the narrow strip of wall between the garage doors, turn into a mini auto-care station. Two wall-mounted wire baskets contain assorted engine fluids, as well as a sponge, a squeegee, and other car-cleaning essentials. One of the metal receptacles is for trash from road trips, while the other will hold rock salt for icy mornings come winter.
Don’t forget to perk up the workshop part of the garage as well. This is the time to be sure it is equipped with sufficient electrical outlets for power tools and good lighting for doing projects:
1. Seeing Clearly
Add a new overhead cage fixture to illuminate the work area. Use an industrial lamp with an adjustable arm to deliver targeted task lighting.
2. Multiplying the Options
A wall-mounted track system adds three tiers of shelving for paint supplies. Folding sawhorses on the two bottom hooks open easily when duty calls.
3. Hanging Up Hand Tools
Peg-Board is practically synonymous with organizing.
4. Moving Around
A portable metal toolbox can be used at the workbench or rolled over to the automobiles when mechanical repairs are needed.
And viola – Dad now has a clean, organized and efficient garage. He’ll love it!