Well, Halloween's over -- time to haul out the holly, right? Look at you: the early bird in a pear tree! We're just as excited as you are for the holidays, and we understand your need to get ahead of the game. Allow us to hone your perfectionist ways with a few prep ideas you may not have thought of.

Bake on ice. Picture it: a late night, carols playing as you lazily slice shortbread and roll rum balls by stove-light ... and pack them away for just-like-new nibbling in a few weeks. Of course you'll want to make some things in real time, but if you plan to give mixed-cookie tins as gifts, baking once or twice a week now will build your stash and stagger the cost of production. Most cookies can be frozen before or after baking -- just roll or slice them first, and store them between sheets of waxed paper in freezer-safe containers. Also note that stollen, fruitcakes, and other traditional Christmas breads need a few weeks to "mature" -- making now an excellent time to crank those out too.

Credit: David Meredith

Nail the nonessentials. Beloved staples like stockings and trees will appear no matter what -- but what about the extras, like handmade wreaths and the nutcracker collection you've always meant to start? Now is the time to think on new traditions you'd like to try and forge ahead on any homemade elements. Start pulling together a next-level advent calendar, or save your toilet paper rolls for Christmas crackers. When the boxes come out, you won't risk losing those new ideas in the shuffle.


Get your gift on. It's definitely not too early to start shopping (many of you may already be finished!) -- or crafting handmade gifts. If doling out custom scarves and stockings is your dream, you've even got time to learn how to knit! Make your list, check it twice, set up your gift-wrapping station, and start elfing. The anticipation of gift-giving will brighten your season before it's even begun.

What are you doing to prep for the holiday madness?


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