Getting Ready for Seasonal Celebrations: Real-Life Tips From Our Inbox
These holiday tips sent in from our readers will help you stress less during the holiday season. Get advice on staying organized, decorating the simple way and preparing a stress-free holiday feast.
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This is the way I beat the stress of the holidays: I line up dates with events.This also helps with budget planning! (There is no going in debt when you start planning at the beginning of September.)
September 1 — Start Christmas shopping and wrap as I go
October 1 — Continue Christmas shopping and begin the "watch" for additional Christmas decorations
October 15 — Decorate for fall
November 1 — Finish bulk Christmas shopping and begin search for "trinket," "exchange" and stocking stuffer gifts
November 17 — Pick up items needed for Thanksgiving dinner
November 24 — Take time to relax with family for Thanksgiving (knowing the rush will be on for Christmas, I am cool as a cucumber)
December 1 — Decorate the house
December 3 — Make lists for baking and sending out Christmas cards
December 11 — Mail Christmas cards and pick up baking items
December 16 — Buy a tree and decorate it
December 18 — Have fun baking
December 24 — Sit by the fire after stuffing the stockings
December 25 — Open gifts and reap the reward of the (almost) past four months
Carol, Mount Juliet, Tenn.
Start now, don't put off your planning. Make lists and stick to them. Don't get caught up in all the magazines' suggestions about home-making all the goodies or decorating extravagantly. Know when to stop. Defend yourself against the "shoulds" and "oughts" and the guilt trips by going back to your lists and checking things off one by one.
Diane, Loogootee, Ind.
The tree goes up day after Thanksgiving. Shopping is started in September and finished the first of December. The Christmas dinner is started seven days prior to Christmas. I pick out each course that can be prepared or partial prepared ahead, so I only have final preparation the day of Christmas.
Winifred Brown, Hamilton Square, N.J.
Keep a little notebook packed away with your Christmas decorations each year, where you write down what gifts you got for all those on your list. You can review it each season as you get your decorations out. That way Aunt Jane won't get a pair of gloves two years (or more) in row! (Especially good for those of us who can't remember from year to year.)
Judy Martin, Flippin, Ark.
I buy an extra large roll of wrapping paper and wrap as I buy or make presents. Each year is all one color scheme. I also set up an area for wrapping. I use a kitchen size waste paper bin for rolls of wrapping paper, an upright plastic four-drawer unit for ribbons, bows, small boxes, tapes etc. and keep it in one area (near a table or flat top space).
Kathleen Martin, Dunedin, Fla.