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Posted: November 18, 2012

Eight holiday time savers

By Anne Davis

Can you believe it’s mid November already? The holiday season is racing toward us and time is slipping away. Are you stressing already?  Here are eight tips to help you stay on top of things, get everything done, have some fun AND keep your sanity.

Decide now how to create some special memories of time spent together.  Whether that means a family night of tobogganing with a bonfire, an afternoon at the manicurist with your mom and sisters or simply watching a classic holiday movie together, plan it and schedule it like an appointment.  This will help you to distinguish between what is really important and what to let go.

Streamline your shopping – Santa doesn’t bring a different gift to everyone on his list and you shouldn’t feel like you have to either. For anyone not in your immediate family, choose one gift. It could be a calendar featuring photos of times spent together or a book on a special interest or a specialty tea or coffee blend packaged together with a teapot or set of Christmas mugs.  You might even be able to get a discount or free shipping for buying in bulk.

Get a head start on the holiday meals.  Mix or sift your recipe’s dry ingredients ahead of time. Store the mixes, labeled, in zip-top bags or small containers. When it’s time to prepare the meal, you save on prep and cleanup time and still create your dish from scratch.   A side benefit is if you have an unexpected gift dropped off, you can pour one of the mixes into a mason jar and tie the recipe to the lid with some raffia or a ribbon and give it as a gift.

Let your relatives help.  There’s no unwritten rule that says you have to do everything.  Make Christmas a potluck meal or get everyone to help with the prep or cleanup.  Having everyone laughing and talking in the kitchen together makes the very best holiday memories of all.

Shop online to save time. Many retailers offer no cost shipping if you spend over a certain dollar amount, so make use of it.  Order online and save yourself the frustration of not finding what you want in the stores and save on gas at the same time.

Shop during off-hours, even if you have to drag yourself out of bed early to do it!  It is so much easier to wander around a mall when there are no crowds and lots of salespeople available to help you find what you want or answer questions.  Plus you get a choice parking spot!

If wrapping gifts isn’t your strong suit, use the gift wrapping services offered at the mall.  Often these services are offered to raise money for local charities, so you’d be helping a charity as well as saving yourself precious time.

Trade off duties with a friend – one of you does the grocery shopping for both families while the other babysits, picks up a Christmas tree or runs errands for both of you.

Do yourself a favour and let go of needing things to be PERFECT.  It isn’t necessary, it makes you crazy and you don’t enjoy the holidays when you’re always fussing about something or other. This year, make it your first priority to have a good time while everyone is together and release yourself from the bondage of perfection.  The earlier you start, the less stressed you’ll feel when the holidays arrive and you’ll be able to enjoy Christmas and all the trimmings with your family.

Anne Davis is a writer, blogger, artist and photography buff.  Born in Quebec, she now lives in Kimberley, where she is editor of and contributor to the City of Kimberley’s Active Community Guide and webmaster for the City’s websites.

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