Magazine article Working Mother

December Solutions

Magazine article Working Mother

December Solutions

Article excerpt

DIY FUN

Tray Chic Spread some holiday cheer on this deliciously easy-to-make serving tray. Fill a shadow box frame ($34, www.potterybarn.com) with your favorite seasonal sweets-think peppermints, popcorn, brightly wrapped candy or dried cranberries. In seconds you'll have a dressed-to-impress tray that's fancy but not at all fussy. Now you have to entertain.

BETTER BEDTIMES

Little Steps to Slumber

Your child can't help but cruise into dreamland with Light-Up Safari slippers ($30, www. haydenburrilane.com). Headlight eyes shine with each step, making a walk in the dark much more fun. Plus, an accompanying storybook ($15) steers kids through a nighttime routine-bathing, teeth brushing, jammies and good-night kisses-that'll replace bedtime battles with sweet dreams.

WORKWISE

Hungry for Success Turns out, stress eating might do more than expand your thighs-it may cloud your mind! A study published in Nature Neuroscience reveals that hunger causes the body to release the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates brain functioning-improving memory, focus and productivity. To help us survive in the wild, our brains are programmed to perform most efficiently when the body is hard-pressed for food. So if you have to memorize a list of facts for a big presentation, try prepping before mealtime and let your animal instincts take over.

HOLIDAY HELPER

Christmas Countdown

You've made your list and checked it twice, you've finished shopping-now here's some advice: Mark these deadline shipping dates in your day planner. The last date UPS can ship packages by ground within the continental U.S. to ensure delivery by Christmas is December 18; for FedEx it's December 15. Call ahead to your local delivery center to find out when it's least busy. And don't bother boxing up your gifts; both carriers will pack them up for free when you buy the box. (Sorry, you still have to wrap them.)

GIFT RAP

Fabulously Flat After a four-hour car ride to Aunt Roberta's, your stack of carefully wrapped presents looks downright droopy. To keep your bows from getting crushed by holiday commutes, go for Gliza Classic Bows (starting at $24 for a set of six, www.gliza.net). The why-didn't-someone-think-of-this-sooner flat design ensures that your gifts will look smashing, not smashed.

DECORATING

Frosty the Door Décor

Deck out the door and welcome in the holidays with this easy, adorable snowman. Just round up three plain wreaths-small, medium and large-from a craft store and attach them with string. Tie on an old neckscarf, add a snow cap and position a pair of boots for legs. No subzero temperatures required. For this and other crafty holiday ideas, check out the Betty Cracker Christmas Cookbook ($18, www. …

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