Be Thankful, Get Organized

The holidays are rapidly approaching. And while you may have thought you’d have “everything” done ahead of time, the stark reality is that a few things may have escaped your attention until now.

It’s rare for a person to have every single thing completed by the internal deadlines they themselves have created. Be #thankful if you were able to get the jump on a couple of things on your to-do list already.

As for the responsibilities that loom in the weeks ahead, now’s a fine time to get started. You have nine days left to prepare for #Thanksgiving — more than enough time to plan a lavish celebration.

Start by planning the feast itself, Me in Order says. List everything you plan to make and anything that you’ll ask guests to bring or buy ready-made. Then, go and buy the the ingredients while the stores still have them.

Early rumors of supply chain shortages of turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples appear to have been overblown. But even if something is missing from your list, you still have time to get creative and suffuse your feast with decadent seasonal alternatives.

You may also wish to do a quick kitchen #cleanup and #decluttering to #streamline next week’s heavy usage. Locate the specialized tools you’ll need (such as that potato-masher) and keep them within easy reach.

The table and home are another question. If you’re the host, you may wish to do a day’s worth of cleaning and decorating. If you happen to find items that you no longer need or want as you #organize, you can #donate them to ClothingDonations.org.

#Donating lightly used clothing and household items to ClothingDonations.org is one of the easiest ways to #givethanks to #veterans, since the proceeds from the resale of those goods go directly toward veteran health care, housing and other support programs.

This year, be #thankful for the bounty that you do have and the ability to again gather in person relatively risk-free. Share that bounty with your family, friends and fellows throughout the holiday season.

How to Dispose of a Tattered Flag

Historic U.S. flags such as the pre-1959 48-star flag can be displayed on Flag Day and other national holidays as long as they are in good condition. If you are in possession of a frayed or tattered flag, however, destroy it in the manner called “preferable” by the U.S. Flag Code: burning. Local chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America may be able to assist with flag disposal; many collect damaged flags year-round and burn them en masse at an annual observance.

Avoid These Flag-Display Don’ts

There are a number of don’ts when it comes to displaying the U.S. flag, according to the official U.S. Flag Code. For example, the flag — in whole or in part — is not to be used as a costume, athletic uniform or apparel, meaning that the flag-festooned bathing suits, ballcaps and towels you’ll see at the beach this summer are considered more disrespectful than patriotic. What’s more, the code stipulates that temporary or disposable items should not be adorned with the flag, including paper napkins and boxes.

How to Display the Flag Properly

Flag Day is Monday, June 14, and if you’re going to display the colors, Better Homes & Gardens says, try to do so correctly. “Display the flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and outdoor, stationary flagstaffs,” the story advises. Nighttime displays are permitted if the flag is illuminated, but displaying the flag in inclement weather is discouraged unless it is an all-weather flag. The union (blue field) should be at the peak of the staff or pole, and the flag should never touch the ground or any object below.

Holiday Fun for the Socially Distanced

It’s going to be a difficult holiday season for anyone who’s used to getting together with family and friends. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across America, many are choosing not to travel or to celebrate only with a handful of close contacts.

But that doesn’t mean that the fun has to end!

The most obvious way to celebrate is to fire up the phone, tablet or computer and have a videoconference with your loved ones. Yes, it can be disconcerting to keep your eyes on the screen for hours on end, but it’s a great way to keep in touch.

Add a #festive virtual background to your call, Good Housekeeping suggests, to keep the #holiday spirit alive. An added bonus? You can speak from a pretend winter wonderland, a professionally decorated drawing room or the set of your favorite Hallmark movie.

You can still engage in traditional holiday pastimes such as baking cookies, taking a drive to see the holiday light displays or sending letters to Santa without getting into too many strangers’ airspace, Postable says.

Another activity is to send the holiday cards you might not have had time to send last year. Even though this blog is going live with only 10 days until Christmas, nobody is going to complain if your greeting arrives a day or two late or send a New Year’s card instead.

Consider sending one of your cards to a local #veteran you know (or find one at a nearby chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association or other organization). They are getting older and will need to stay isolated to protect their health this year, and a card might brighten their season.

If you find yourself beset with holiday #clutter after all of the virtual celebrations are over, consider bagging and boxing your unused and unwanted stuff and contacting ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. It will be resold to new households, and the proceeds will benefit veterans programs.

The Organizing Blog wishes you and yours a safe, happy, healthy and clutter-free holiday season!