How to Kick off the Holiday Season With Ease

Woman at Christmas party

Get into the holiday spirit with these fab tips.

Does the thought of shopping, cooking, cleaning and entertaining for the holidays have you feeling overwhelmed?  If so, hold on.  Inhale… Exhale… We have developed some tips to help you alleviate the stress and handle the holiday rush with ease. Some of these suggestions make perfect sense. Yet others are little-know secrets that will help you alleviate holiday stress once and for all. Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!

Start the clock – One way to reduce holiday stress is to plan, and utilize a holiday calendar. Your calendar will serve as your road map. Create or purchase a binder with tabbed dividers to keep track of recipes, new decorating tips, simple gift ideas, friends & relatives addresses, holiday entertaining ideas (buffet, brunch, dinner or party) and your to-do-list. Each weekend or one day per week, you can set a date to pick up items, start decorating, or finish projects. Also, pencil in a few hours each week for quite time and pampering.

Send holiday cards early. Make a list of people to whom you would like to send cards. Purchase holiday cards and postage. Gather addresses, print the addresses onto self-adhesive labels, and organize in binder. Invite a few friends over with their cards (cookie baking and wrapping gifts, too), pop open a bottle of wine or champagne, put on your favorite holiday music and turn it into an enjoyable affair. Prepare cards in mid to late November, so they will be ready to go in early December. If you still haven’t prepared cards, you still have a couple of weeks. Personalizing your holiday greetings doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. Snapfish or Shutterfly can transform a photograph into a set of 20 ready-to-mail 4×8 or 5×7 inch holiday postcards for as little as $10 (plus shipping and handling).

Shop for gifts online. Prepare your budget and “Gift List” in advance.  Shop online and avoid the crowds and picked-over merchandise.  Many of the stores like Macy’s, Target and Old Navy offer exclusive merchandise and coupons that are only available to shoppers online. You want your gifts to be personal, so try sites like, Overstock and Smart Bargains. Shop early – the early bird often gets the best gifts. If you must shop in person, avoid weekday-evening crowds and weekend crowds.  Prepare for unannounced guest that may drop by without being invited by purchasing a few inexpensive gifts (bottles of wine, candles, CDs, scented soap) to have on hand.

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Angela P. Moore