Every year do you wish for a less stressful holiday season? This year, don't just dream about a simpler Christmas. Make it a reality by taking action. Consider these positive steps you can take in October and November to ensure a less hectic, more meaningful Christmas celebration in December:
Christmas shopping before the Christmas rush. Don't wait until the stores are packed with thousands of holiday shoppers. Beat the crowds. Ask family members for their Christmas wish lists and get busy now.
Take care of time-consuming tasks. Writing Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, boxing up presents to mail-why wait until December to attend to these time-consuming details? There's no reason to put off these tasks. Knock them out now.
Fill your freezer. Each time you cook in the next few weeks, double or even triple your recipes and freeze the extra portions. During the hectic holiday season, you'll be thankful to have those quick heat-and-eat meals in the freezer.
Plan volunteer activities now. Is there some charitable work you'd like to do each year that you never seem to get around to? Does the idea of giving back to the community always get lost in the holiday shuffle? Decide what you want to do to help out this year and volunteer now so it won't get overlooked in December.
Complete your Christmas crafts. If you plan to give any handcrafted gifts, plan to have them finished by Thanksgiving or even sooner. Work at it in the evenings or on the weekends until you finish.
Plan holiday menus. Take this time to write out menus for dinners and family gatherings so you won't have to think about it later. Talk to other family members now if you'd like them to help out with the cooking. Also, use this time to experiment with any new holiday recipes.
Decide what to delete. What obligations add to your stress level each year? What activities would you rather forgo this time? Decide in advance what activities you want to skip and how you will diplomatically decline these engagements.
These and other ideas for simplifying and enriching the holidays can be found in Nancy Twigg's new book, "Celebrate Simply: Your Guide to Simpler, More Meaningful Holidays and Special Occasions." Endorsed by financial guru Dave Ramsey, this book is must-read for anyone who is tired of holiday stress and overspending.
Visit Nancy online at www.celebratesimply.com or at her simple and frugal living site at
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