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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 27, 2006

Take the holidays 1 week at a time

Gannett News Service

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You have four weeks until Christmas, and all through the house there are lots of tasks that can be taken care of early to make the holiday season less stressful. Here is a checklist to help you get organized:


Get the decorations out and take stock of what needs to be replaced. Untangle the strings of lights to make sure they work. Decide on your budget and then make your list of those you plan to give gifts. Wrap presents as you buy them.

Write out your cards and mail them. Personal choice dictates how this is done. Some people include year-in-review letters to let faraway friends and families know what's been happening. Others write a short, personal note, while others simply sign the cards.


Getting a Christmas tree? Here are things to remember:

  • Measure the height in the room where the tree will be displayed, and plan accordingly.

  • Put the tree in water ASAP. Most species can go six to eight hours after the trunk is cut and still take up water.

    As you decorate the tree, be mindful of decorative lighting safety with these tips, courtesy of Underwriters Laboratories:

  • Use lights and decorations with the UL mark, which means engineers have tested the product for potential fire and electric shock hazards. Light strings with the green holographic label are for indoors only; lights with the red holographic label are for indoors or outdoors.

  • Inspect electrical decorations for cracked sockets and loose or bare wires before plugging them in. Replace damaged items.

  • Don't overload extension cords.

  • Don't hang lights with staples or nails that can damage the cord's insulation.

  • Turn off all electrical light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

    WEEK 3

    Finish decorating the tree and work on the inside of the house.

    WEEK 4

    This week should leave only a handful of last-minute chores. Think about stockings, holders and stocking stuffers. Save time for last-minute shopping, cleaning and decorating. Double-check the holiday menu to make sure you have all the ingredients you need.

    Check your list twice to ensure that you haven't left anything undone.