Thursday, November 11, 2010

10 Holiday Survival Tips

Believe it or not, last year was the first year ever that I was ready for Christmas before Christmas Eve. (Ok, it was the first time since I was 14. Wasn't it nice to be a kid and not have a ton to do for the holidays!)  But let me tell you, it felt sooooo good to be ready a little early last year. Now granted, I was still out shopping  December 23rd, but being done by Christmas Eve was the goal and I was finished before midnight!

It was so nice to be able to enjoy Christmas Eve. We go to church services at 9 that night, so getting things done and also going to church was always a bit stressful. So last year was very nice and I am determined to be ready early this year so Christmas Eve is stress-free again!

Here's my plan to meet my goal. If you tend to be a procrastinator too, I hope these tips help you organize your to-do-list so you can have a less-stressed holiday!

10 Holiday Survival Tips

1.) If you'll be cooking for the holiday or for holiday parties, be sure to write a list before going shopping. It sounds silly, but that list will help you stay on budget and keep you from forgetting any needed ingredients.

2.) If you're planning on trying a new recipe this year, use your family as a guinea pig at least two weeks before and do a test run. Chances are, it will turn out delicious and your family won't mind testing it for you. And if by chance, it doesn't work, you have time to try it again or look for a new recipe to use instead.

3.) Shop with a recipient in mind. I love a bargain. So sometimes, I find myself stocking up on items that "would make a great gift" without having a specific recipient in mind. Great deals are great, but not if you buy more than you need. Then you just end up spending more than you meant and the savings is lost.

4.) Remember that gifts from the heart mean the most. Homemade gifts will always make someone smile. A tin of homemade cookies, a set of hand-stamped stationary, or a simple beaded bracelet will make fabulous gifts for friends and family. This year I plan on making a lot of cookies to give as gifts. I know my family loves when I bake and cookies will also make great host/hostess gifts.

5.) Buying gifts for a lot of people is going to be costly. Coupons and sales help, but it still gets expensive. If you have a large family, consider having everyone choose a name to buy for this year.
Pollyannas can be a ton of fun. And with so many of us watching our budgets this year, it might be time to save a little money. You can also set a price limit on gifts with your family.

6.) Don't overlook online shopping because you're wary of shipping charges. There are always deals to be found online through sales and coupons and many online shopping sites offer very reasonable shipping. Many stores also offer store pick up as a delivery option that allows you to purchase online (using an online coupon code) and then pick up at your local store. You don't have to pay shipping and most times you can cut your shopping time in half because your item is waiting for you at customer service. Customer service lines are always shorter during the holidays.

6.) Many online card and stationary companies offer inexpensive return address labels for your holiday card envelopes! This can save you a ton of time addressing your envelopes and make your cards look extra festive! (Tiny Prints Christmas cards are super cute and affordable. Their return address labels are only $7 for 24 labels too. Definitely worth the money to save you a little time!) If you have a lot of cards to send, get your family's best printer (child or adult) to help you. Don't feel like you need to do everything yourself!

7.) Wrapping is another task you can be time consuming. If you can, wrap as you buy. This way you won't have to spend a whole evening cooped up in the office or bedroom wrapping gifts. If you're worried about remembering what you've wrapped and who you still need to buy for, keep a notebook. Writing down the gift, recipient and paper color will help you keep track of each gift. Organizing the lists by recipient will also let you easily see who you still need gifts for!

8.) Get your family to help with the cleaning before holiday get togethers. We all want our homes to look perfect for the family celebrations, but sometimes doing the cleaning and the shopping and the cooking makes us feel spread thin. This is where you need to delegate. Get your family involved. Remind them that unhappy mom/wife/girlfriend (or dad/husband/boyfriend) will make the holidays less joyful. And everyone wants a joyful holiday! Ask for help when you need it!!

9.) Decorate as early as possible. I'm not advocating decorating before Halloween, but decorate early enough that you have time to really enjoy the lights and ornaments. The festive atmosphere will also help get you into the spirit and make all of the wrapping, baking, cooking, card-writing much more fun!

10.) Take joy in the season. In all of the hustle and bustle, don't lose sight of what the holidays really mean. Remember to savor every moment and enjoy the time with your family and friends!

Feel free to share your tips too! I'd love to hear how you make holiday preparations even easier!

About Tiny Prints:

"Tiny Prints provides stylish, modern and unique stationery from photo cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards and business cards. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities. With Tiny Prints by your side the Holidays will be a cinch! They offer adorable Thanksgiving Cards, Christmas Cards, Hanukkah Cards, and even New Years Cards. All fully customizable and personalizable."

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tiny Prints blogging program, making me eligible to get a $75 Tiny Prints gift certificate! For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

No comments: