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The holidays are once again upon us. And, for many people it can be a very stressful time of year. This year I would like to challenge you. Instead of trying to create the perfect holiday, use some of these tips to help you create a memorable yet stress-free holiday for you and your family.

  • If preparing the perfect homemade holiday meal stresses you out. Consider letting the cooks at Costco, Sam’s Club, Giant, or Safeway cook all or part of your holiday feast.

  • Set a limit on holiday parties this year. Just because you are invited to 5 parties every year doesn’t mean that you have to go to all of them. Choose the 1 or 2 you really want to attend and send your regrets to the others.

  • Do you tell yourself every year that you will send out holiday cards on time but can never get organized enough to get them out at all?  If sending out cards is really important to you. Buy a pack of cards and then gather your stamps and return address labels. Keep them all together where you open your mail. Then, when you receive a card in the mail, you can immediately send them one back without having to search for their address. Everything you need will be right there!

  • Simplify gift giving this year by planning what you’ll buy before you go shopping. Whether you shop online or in the stores it’s important to start with a list of who you are shopping for, what their interests are, and how much you want to spend. Shopping with a list can save you a lot of stress  and worry when the bills arrive in the New Year.

  • There is nothing worse than having a bored child at home for the holidays. So, have a plan in place to keep the kids busy. Let your kids help with the holidays by giving them a cooking or crafts project to do. Instead of being leashed to your electronics – cut the cord and do something special with the whole family. For creative ideas on how to keep the kids busy for the holidays, read: Kid’s holiday activities: ways to keep children busy.

  • If you want your house to be beautiful for the holidays (or at least presentable) but don’t have the time, skills, or inclination to make it happen, consider hiring a cleaning service. If you are worried that you have too much clutter to deal with first, call a professional organizer to help clear the way for the cleaners to clean. Concerned about the cost? Make it an early holiday present from your spouse : )

  • Don’t plan to get much work done during the holidays. Between the holiday parties and vacation days no one spends much time getting substantive work done. Try to clear the decks of important work before the holidays are in full swing so that you are freed up to handle the low hanging fruit.


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