54 days ’til Christmas: 5 things to do now

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FedScoop’s Social Studies keeps tabs on the latest lifestyle news and events around the Beltway.

2013_10_tree The ticket lottery for the 2013 lighting of the National Christmas Tree is happening now through Nov. 4. (Photo: National Park Service)

If the gaggles of goblins didn’t spook you enough on Halloween, perhaps a look at the calendar will: There are only 54 days until Christmas.

Rushing the holiday often gets an eye-roll from fall purists, and that is fair. Still, not even Santa waits around for the 12 days of Christmas to prepare for what is, to many people, the busiest season of the year. Here are five ways to manage the gift of time in advance of the holiday.

1. Strike a pose

It isn’t always a snap to find the perfect holiday card photo. Local photographers begin offering minisessions during the fall and winter to assist in creating the perfect picture for one’s annual greeting. Sessions start at around $50 for a half-hour, and the sooner your proofs return, the better your chances for getting discounts on card orders from major online printers such as Minted, Tiny Prints and Shutterfly.

2. Enter the lottery

A winning Powerball ticket would help with holiday shopping expenses, but the hottest lotto ticket in town is for seats to the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. This year’s ceremony will happen Dec. 6 on the Ellipse. Tickets are awarded by the National Park Service through an online lottery giveaway, which opened Halloween and will close Nov. 4. Enter here.

3. Buy one gift a week

Unless shopping on Christmas Eve is a sport to you, start now with small purchases. One gift a week, even if just a few stocking stuffers, will put a nice dent in your gift list as December nears.

4. Freeze!

If you’re a baker, whip up a batch of your favorite cookies now and stick them in the freezer. On a busy December weekend, you will love having your favorite dough ready to decorate or to thaw just in time for a cookie swap.

5. Order and book

If your freezer only holds vodka, then now is the time to call on the experts to order all the treats you want to enjoy during the holiday season. Likewise, it’s never too soon to reserve a table at your favorite restaurants for office lunches, celebrations with friends and annual parties.

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