Here's a special Christmas edition of Do's and Don'ts for prospective buyers or refinancing homeowners embarking on, or already engaged in the mortgage process. In case it needs to be said, the "Don'ts" are strictly for comedy (though many are based on real world examples of things that will kill or greatly delay the mortgage process and/or impact your satisfaction with your new home).

The "Do's," on the other hand, are potentially valuable nuggets of information that may greatly improve your mortgage experience. In fact, many of them can end up making a difference in the success or failure of a loan, and can help avoid costly delays.

Do: Invite your new neighbors to a housewarming holiday brunch following your closing.
Don't: Deduct the cost of your Christmas tree and candy canes as "business expenses" because you pitched Amway there.
Do: Budget wisely for Christmas gifts to avoid spending your down payment money.
Don't: Plug your holiday light display into your neighbor's outlet to save on electric costs.
Do: Offer to play Santa for your neighborhood holiday pot luck.
Don't: Tell your lender you collected $126 in tips, and want to count it as income for your loan.
Do: Use your existing credit wisely while gift shopping.
Don't: Open 5 new charge accounts a day before closing to save 10% on "door buster deals".
Do: Mention your Christmas bonus to your lender and ask if it's usable as income.
Don't: Tell your lender you got a holiday ham worth $175, and want to use its value as income.
Do: Give generously to worthy charities and those in need this Christmas season.
Don't: Tell your lender the $17,457 you deducted for business mileage "shouldn't count" because you "fudged the numbers a little bit."
Do: Be able to document all funds deposited into your checking account during the loan process.
Don't: Tell your lender you deposited $5,700 in cash from "selling holiday fruitcakes at PTA meetings".
Do: Tell your lender if you typically work overtime or a second job during the holiday season.
Don't: Quit your salaried job a month before closing "to take over an awesome gift wrap kiosk at the mall."
Do: Buy thoughtful gifts for co-workers and friends when appropriate.
Don't: Deduct the cost of your spouse's gifts as a business expense "since she helps me plan my marketing."
Do: Enjoy holiday parties and seasonal refreshments in moderation.
Don't: Drop by your realtor's house at 2 AM to "shay Happy Holidays!" after enjoying ample amounts of eggnog and rum fruitcake.