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Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Welcome to My Five Favorites today!  Pam from Simple Details, Lisa from Shine Your Light, Kris from Driven by Decor and I are all so excited to share our best holiday prep tips with you.  I know I need all of the help I can get to tame the holiday crazy, and I suspect you might too.

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Today we're welcoming the lovely Amy and Christy from 11 Magnolia Lane as our guest hosts. These ladies are two of my favorites, I've had the joy of meeting them in person and they're just as lovely and easy to talk to face to face!  They are always so willing and gracious to help me out when I have a practical or blogging question, and have the best organizing and homemaking tips so I'm looking forward to seeing what they have to share with us today.  (Check out their Etsy shop too- I've ordered the vinyl monograms before and they're great.  In fact, that reminds me, I need to order another round. One would be perfect for my new striped step stool!)

Prepare Your Christmas Cards Early

I know from personal experience, when the holiday to-do list becomes unbearable, sending Christmas Cards is often the first thing to go.  There is absolutely no reason that task can't be done early!  Whether you use a printing service like Minted, Shutterfly, print family photos at a local photo lab, or simply sign pre-made cards with holiday greetings, finish that task now.  When they're ready to go, take an evening or two while you're watching tv and go ahead and address them as well.  They'll be ready to mail when the calendar turns to December!  And if I take my own advice on this one, it will be a miracle.  ;)

Make Crafts/Ornaments Before the Holidays Hit

I often fall into the trap of waiting to craft new seasonal projects until I'm actually decorating for the season.  Then, I have a decorating mess and a craft mess going on all at the same time, and it takes twice as long to do everything!  Here's a few of my favorite home-made ornaments that could be made well in advance, and saved to decorate with or to give as gifts. 

Bake Early

Think about the treats you usually make for the holidays.  Can any of them be made ahead of time and frozen?  I'm usually guilty of scurrying around a day or two before Christmas trying to squeeze in baking, when the majority of what I'm making could have been done beforehand.  Again, I need to take my own advice on this one!

These Bon-Bons freeze beautifully, and are perfect to serve at parties or for packaging up to give to friends. 

Ditto with these Candied Cinnamon Sugar Almonds, and even better, they're made in the crock pot!  These keep for a long time, even just in an airtight container on the shelf rather than in the freezer.  

I try to make Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls every year for family and friends too, and they are also great candidates for make ahead and freeze goodies.

Shop Early/Organize Gift Lists

I try to pick up little gifts throughout the year when I find a bargain on something that I know someone on my list would love.  However, all of those things get stashed in a gift drawer or in my closet.  Early in the season I like to pull everything out, record what I have for who on a list, and separate gifts into bags by family.  Then, as I finish the rest of my shopping I keep that list handy to refer to what I already have, and what I still need to purchase.

It's not too early to think about neighbor and hostess gifts, either.  These Winter Potpourri Bags can be assembled a week or two in advance and even kept on hand for when you need to pull out a last minute gift.

Organize and Take Stock of Your Pantry and Plan A Menu

If you're a faithful reader you know that I'm also posting a weekly series called "Fall Into the Holidays" right now, where we're sharing project ideas for 4 rooms in your home.  I shared this last week, but beginning the holiday season with a clean, organized pantry is critical!  It's important to know what you already have and what you might need to add to your supply before the holiday cooking begins.  Menu planning can also be done a good deal in advance, which helps avoid last minute grocery store trips when they're busy and crowded. 

Check back in on Tuesdays for the next two weeks, as we share more holiday projects for each room of your home in our "Falling for the Holidays" series.  (See Part 1 here and Part 2 here)

Holiday Prep tips

What are your best tips to prepare for the holidays? I want to know! Be sure to head over to check out these great holiday prep tips too-

Missed any previous My 5 Favorites posts? Catch up here!

My 5 Favorite Tips for Organizing Your Home
My 5 Favorite Home Decor Accessories
My 5 Favorite Ways to Decorate for Spring
My 5 Favorite Pillows
My 5 Favorite Ways to Decorate an Outdoor Space
My 5 Favorite Fabrics
My 5 Favorite DIY Projects
My 5 Favorite Ways to Use Mixed Metals
My 5 Favorite DIY Artwork Projects
My 5 Favorite Tabletop Accessories
My 5 Favorite Recipes for the Holidays
My 15 Favorite Favorites- Holiday Wish List
My 5 Favorite Organizing Tools
My 5 Favorite Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day
My 5 Favorite Thrifted Finds
My 5 Favorite Ikea Products
My 5 Favorite Paint Projects
My 5 Favorite Home Gadgets
My 5 Favorite Summer Accessories
My 5 Favorite Before and After Projects

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  1. Okay the crock pot almonds and bon bons are definitely going on my list for this year!! They both look amazing and would make such great neighbor gifts! I love receiving Christmas cards so I always make the effort to get mine out......I know my elderly family and friends especially really love to receive cards. It can be stressful to do them all but I solicit my kiddos for addressing, stamping and sealing while we watch tv in front of the fire, we've done it together for a few years and it's become a sweet tradition. Also: your pantry. I'm still dying over how pretty it is!

  2. Great tips Jennifer. I love collecting the little things over time, but I've learned if I don't have a designated spot for them then I end up forgetting some and rushing to fill the void. We love making candied pecans to give as gifts. Super easy and they last quite a long time.

  3. Love it all! I'm doing #2 already! ;-)

  4. Already addressed holiday cards on Halloween as I waited for the trick-or-treaters so was thrilled and can cross off the list. Need stamps and in the mail they go! =) Have already started shopping with most of this done too. I love to bake and will be doing that soon. Then there's the decorating which once I get going, will be done in no time leaving me sitting good and enjoying the time at home and out of the stores and off the roads!

  5. OK, whoever anonymous is in the comment above - you are killing it! #jealous Loved all of your tips Jennifer, especially taking stock of the pantry which is something I do NOT usually do but need to. I always think I "definitely have it" when it comes to spices and invariably end up running to the store in the middle of a holiday recipe!


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