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How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday Season
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This past Christmas almost did you in. The cooking, shopping, and decorating all took a toll on your time and energy. Every year you say it is going to be different; every year you swear you are going to be ultra organized. Somehow you always end up running around at the last minute looking for extra gifts and essentials and finishing up on small tasks. The next season you are going to be so prepared because you are going to:

Do Most of Your Shopping Online

Rushing from store to store to find those perfect gifts was exhausting this year. Next year, try to sit down at your computer and order most of the items online. Black Friday is an excellent time to do this as there are many specials on just about everything. They will come directly to your door, and many times shipping is minimal. You will save on gas, time, and of course, energy.

Make, Grow, or Purchase Some of the Gifts During the Year

As the year progresses, keep an eye out for unique and unusual gifts that you know your friends and family will love. This is especially true if you travel; you will see so many items that may not be available in your area. Pick them up and stash them away for the following holiday season.

If you are a crafty person, make some special items that you know that relatives and family members will really enjoy. If you sew, make a teddy bear or doll clothes for that special niece. If you knit, a beanie or colorful scarf for your best friend will tell her just how much you care about her.

Maybe you don't know how to make anything but have an ultra-green thumb. Plant some citrus seeds and present tiny orange and lemon trees as presents this year. Put them in colorful red and green pots and hang a tiny ornament on them for extra impact. This is a gift that will keep on giving for a very long time.

Purchase All of Your Wrapping Paper and Decorations the Year Before

Beginning the day after Christmas, most stores will put most of their holiday wares on sale. The first few days they will probably be 50 percent off but after that, they can go for as much as 75 or 90 percent off. This is an excellent time to purchase all of your holiday cards, decor items, gift wrap, tree accessories, and ribbon for the following season. You can even begin purchasing Christmas gifts. It will save you time and so much money.

Keep It Simple

You don't have to scale back on how much money you spend on each person, but what you may want to try is to purchase just one larger gift for each person on your list instead of buying several small items. For example, you used to buy your nephew clothes, toys, and books for the holidays. This year, try to find just one large gift that he would enjoy more than the rest of the items put together. It may be a video game system, a karaoke machine, or even a new phone. Whatever the case, you are going to find that it is so much easier to shop for and wrap one big gift instead of a zillion small gifts.

Buy an Artificial Tree

In the years past, you have always insisted on buying a real tree. And every year it was a problem. One year it was the bugs that came with it. The next year, it was dead in two days. The year after that, the cat pulled it over and broke several ornaments. Why not cease the battle and purchase an artificial tree? No more needles to sweep, no tree to dispose of, and, if you buy one with pre-strung lights, no more lights to hang. Artificial Christmas trees have many so many more advantages, so consider purchasing one for the next holiday season.

If you actually make a point to do all of the preceding, you will be so ahead of your game. You will be able to pace yourself through the holiday season, and be stress free and rested on both Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.

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