7 tips for hassle-free holidays

Things can get a bit out of hand during the holiday season - from the busy calendars to the traps of commercialism. Whether you’re gearing up for your usual celebrations or mixing things up for new traditions, here are 7 ways to a more relaxed and reasonable holiday season:
Have a plan
Shopping, gift-wrapping, parties, meetings, cooking, planning, work, house, kids, and a lot more – this time of the year can get a bit overwhelming with so many things happening. With the days quickly passing by, having a holiday to-do checklist is definitely a must because it’s no fun getting caught up in the seasonal rush. Parties have long reigned the holidays but as always there’s more to them than just fun times. Preparations is a top contender on where you need to invest much of your time, energy, and money.
to-do list
Stick to the schedule
Your fun and hassle-free holiday season should never be without an efficient and effective schedule. Now that your “planning game” is strong, try your best to stick to the schedules you've set for yourself with certain activities. Last minute occurrences are inevitable nevertheless it’s best to always keep in mind of your priorities. Remember, no one else has control over how you manage your time but yourself; use it wisely. Consider what needs more attention and if your extra time permits you can just lay back and quiet your calendar. It’s all about being practical and having a wonderful time whichever way you look at it.
christmas vacation
Saying "No" isn't always a bad thing
The holiday season is all about food, family, friends, and gatherings. Invitations to brunches, weekday lunches and dinners will surely flow in like waves. As much as you want to appear in every get together, your energy, money, and time aren’t always enough. You could be enjoying your mother’s homemade apple pie over a family brunch instead of an out of town lunch at a new restaurant with friends. Don’t hesitate to turn down an invitation, especially when you have a prior commitment already, plus it’s always better to establish more meaningful traditions than joining several parties. Again, set your priorities and figure out which engagements matter most.
Establish a budget
The time of sharing and giving is brought forth by the yuletide season. Whether you’re buying a gift, bringing a dish to share in a feast, or driving to the other town for a weekend road trip with friends, you’re going to be spending money either way. First order of business is to make a list. Dig out the one from last year and compare how much you’ve spent on what and who. Your overall budget and limits play a big role, especially during this busy time. It is important to consider your holiday spending– decide how much you want and need to spend, track your purchases, use discount coupons, avoid overspending, be in the know of retail tricks (BoGo’s, marked down’s, refund policies, loyalty cards), find ways to save more for your holiday travels, and lastly, consider a contingency fund.
Advance is the key
You may be thinking of investing in Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday deals and sales, because why not? You could surely be taking home that bag for your wife has been eyeing or the bike your father has been wanting all year. Though this holds true, you can also keep an eye out for savings on earlier dates than usual. Early shopping for holiday preparation must-haves like canned goods and party dinnerware are those you can buy ahead while others can wait until the larger sales come in later. Invite friends early so that there’s a bigger chance they will commit to your events first, and save the actual holiday for the family. Spare yourself from the hassle of all the last-minute preparations of this season and putting things into action ahead of time.
christmas decoration
The delightful sight of tinsel, gold and glittery ornaments that embellish the towering trees and twinkling lights at night transform any place into a festive wonderland. How about shaking things up and give your home a different kind of makeover? Try to mix-and-match the ones you bought from the previous years - play with colors and themes. Because when you put in to the picture the wreaths, garlands, tableware and all other decorations you love (at great low prices), then you’ll surely find yourself filling up your shopping cart every year and could be overspending.
Why make things complicated when you can opt for something free, you can recycle, or reasonably priced? Gift wrappers need not be fancy, so try this: wrap the item in newspaper pages or plain brown papers and tie with an inexpensive string. You can also DIY your own paper bags, which you can easily google online. Faced with an ocean of mad holiday shoppers? Enjoy the comforts of your home by shopping online and simply have the gift delivered to the recipient's’ front door. Food preparations? Delegate tasks. Give the shopping list to your husband and let the children participate in preparations. Do pitch-in parties because they save time and energy especially for the host when everybody participates in the preparations. Serve less mess food. Use eco-friendly dinnerware than Chinaware. Make things simpler and free yourself from needless hassle and headaches.
When everything has been said and done, remember that its always best to keep in touch with the true essence of the season. Amidst the excitement of all things merry and bright, don't forget to be in the moment and enjoy all your hard work.

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