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Holiday Countdown

Houseguests on the way? Use this simple 4-week plan to get your home ready for December celebrations.

By Molly Gold | null , null
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4 weeks out: De-clutter
Put extra toys, tchotchkes, magazine piles, etc. away in closets or the attic to make room for decorations, festivities, and people and their stuff. If you have a guest room, clear out the boxes and lamps you store there during the year. Get rid of extra items at freecycle.org.

3 weeks out: Decorate
Stretch it out over a period of about 10 days. Start outside with strings of lights and work your way in. Set aside blocks of time for special traditions like setting up a Christmas tree. This year, go for LED light strings to save money and energy.

2 weeks out: Decide
Plan sleeping arrangements, borrow extra cots and airbeds, and check your linens supply. Plan transportation for arrivals, departures, and entertainment if necessary, and add this info to your family calendar—we recommend the free online family calendars at cozi.com.

1 week out: Plan menus
Choose the holiday feast spread and stock your fridge and pantry with some of your guests’ favorite snacks (ask about allergies). Find fabulous holiday food themes at dreamdinners.com.

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