Happy Thanksgiving! Use the long weekend to get your outdoor lights up and your indoor decorations on display. This week's to-dos:
Put up outdoor lights. Give your home holiday curb appeal by adorning the facade with lights. You might want to recruit a helper as hanging lights can be tricky alone. A few tips: Don't forget to test each strand of lights before you hang it -- you'll want to make sure each bulb works. Also, measure the distance you want to cover with the lights to determine how many strands of lights you'll need.
Add outdoor decorations. Lights aren't the only way to add Christmas cheer to your front yard. You can also use topiaries, icicles, and lawn figures to dress up the outside of your home. Think simple when decorating (and avoid climbing ladders, when possible) by opting for greenery or a garland around the front entry and a big red bow on the door.
Put up indoor decorations. Bring out the stockings, Santas, elves, and nativity scenes to truly deck your halls. If your family has a collectible village or nutcracker collection, find a place of honor for those favorites. Liven up mantels, stairways, doorways, and entry areas by draping them with festive garlands. Put on some Christmas music to really get in the spirit while you decorate.
Start your Advent tree or calendar. Starting on December 1, count down the days until Christmas morning with an Advent calendar or tree. Designate a specific time each day and let your children take turns marking each day on the calendar. You can purchase a paper Advent calendar that has pictures or quotes behind each day's door. Or make your own Advent calendar or Advent tree with your kids.
Put up an artificial tree. Artificial trees can go up sooner than live trees so now is a good time to get your tree up and decorated. To determine how many strands of lights to use (50-light strands are your best bet), decide whether you prefer subdued, moderate, or showcase lighting. For subdued lighting on a 6-foot tree, use 12 boxes of 50-light strands; for moderate lighting, use 20 boxes; and for showcase lighting, use 40 boxes.
Continued on page 3: 2 Weeks Until Christmas