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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Keep it in Perspective
My family and my husband's family have every thing as far as Christmas gifts, so I decided to donate to St. Jude Children's Hospital as a gift to our families in honor of them. I can do it by computer and I make them feel good along with helping children who need the gift much more than our family. I feel that everyone should be giving to a charity in lieu of gifts.
Irene Town, Woodstock, Ga.
If it doesn't bring me or someone else joy, I don't do it.
Cherie, Mt. Shasta, Calif.
I have a large family that my husband and I host for the Christmas holiday. We found a couple years ago that it was getting overwhelming to do a gift exchange. We also felt the kids were losing track of what the holiday was really about and just getting into the present frenzy. We decided to change the focus and minimize the gifts.
Adults now give each couple a small homemade gift item (usually the same for each couple, just personalized). No wrong sizes and no returns! For the kids we do a name exchange with a limit. Now the kids get one really nice thing to enjoy and the gift giving is much quicker, leaving us time to have the kids decorate cookies and do a craft project. The best project was having them decorate a picture frame and taking a group photo for each child to put in their frame.
Liz Southwick, Cincinnati, Ohio
When it comes time for shopping during the holidays, it can be very stressful with all the large crowds. I always go into it with an open heart and a quick smile. Cashiers and other shoppers seem much more pleasant if you can be a little patient, smile and say excuse me.
Trudi Corn, Sublette, Kan.
Tips for preparing your lawn and garden for the cold weather ahead.