Does the most wonderful time of the year make you feel less than wonderful? The holidays are a time to bring family, friends, and a frazzled state of mind together. Fortunately, we’ve got your Stress-Free Holiday Guide right here. Read on for 10 tips to help you keep calm and carry on:
Tip #1: Wrap as You Go
Don’t wait until the last minute to wrap all your gifts. When it’s just a few days before Christmas and you’re faced with all those boxes to wrap, adorn, and address, it presents (no pun intended!) an overwhelming undertaking. Get in the habit of wrapping a gift the moment you bring it home. This way you’ll tackle the task slowly and you won’t be left with a huge tower of packages to deal with right before the holiday.
Tip #2: Send Holiday Ecards
Get with the times! Sending holiday cards via snail mail is tired, and it takes up your very precious time. Forget the printing, the stamping, and the trips to the mailbox. There are more efficient ways to disperse your seasonal greetings without compromising on quality. Check out ecards sites like pingg, Cocodot, or Paperless Post that allow you to personalize their adorable designs with your custom family photos. Then, simply compose your letter and click “send”—it’s that easy (and it’s green!).
Tip #3: Keep Extra Presents on Hand
You never know when you may need an extra little gift for a last-minute guest or someone you may have overlooked (gulp!). Be sure to be prepared with a few crowd-pleasing baubles wrapped and ready to go. Not sure what to get? Grab some pretty extra bath salts or an itunes gift card—these easy presents are sure to please.
Tip #4: Focus Your Décor
The entire house doesn’t have to be covered in tinsel for you and your family to feel the spirit. Pare down by focusing your efforts—less is more. Choose the tree and the front door, or the mantel and the dining room and pour all your décor energy into them. Don’t try to outdo yourself every year or you’ll really end up outdone.
Tip #5: Use Your Local UPS Store
Shipping presents and packages to far-away loved ones? Visit your neighborhood UPS store for a hassle-free experience; you’ll avoid long lines and complication. This store ensures quick, timely delivery; it offers extended holiday and weekend hours, and you can track your package easily online at http://www.theupsstore.com so you know exactly when it will arrive at its destination.
Tip #6: Proper Planning
Don’t just show up at the mall and expect inspiration to strike. To avoid an in-store panic attack, plan your gift list before you leave the house. If you can’t decide what to get and you need to browse for ideas, search online and brainstorm at home, so you have a smart strategy when you shop.
Tip #7: Organize Your Contact Information
Are addresses and phone numbers strewn about your home, scribbled on random post-its, scrawled in different address books, and tucked away in drawers on paper scraps? Get it together! Use technology to keep you organized. Keep all your contacts in one online spreadsheet that you can access from anywhere with your phone. There plenty of cloud services that will keep your info handy like Google Docs, Plaxo, or Hiya.
Tip #8: Make it a Pot Luck
Instead of cooking up a storm and assembling a soup to nuts holiday feast for your nearest and dearest, simmer down the stress and fire up a pot luck dinner. Ask each guest to bring a dish so skip the strain without missing out on a home-cooked meal and quality family time.
Tip #9: Make Space
Two weeks before the holidays, start making space in your closets and in guest rooms. This way, when guests arrive, you won’t be scrambling to find a place to stuff their coats and presents. Also, clear out the fridge and pantries to make room for all those delectable holiday dishes you’ll be serving up.
Tip #10: Divvy up the Chores
You don’t have to do everything yourself! Have the kids take charge of setting the table (in fact, have them set it the night before, so that task is already done on the day), send out a relative to grab last-minute ingredients, and put your hubby to work on clan-up duty. Make sure the whole family pitches in to make this a crazy-fun holiday, instead of a simply crazy one.