stack of pumpkins

It’s only October but some people are ready for the holidays now, while most of us are just starting to think about them.  So we talked with some “seasoned” people to find out to make the holidays less stressful.

They suggest starting by filling out your calendar as information on each event rolls in.  If you will host an event, consider sending a “save the date” postcard and setting a date to drop those (or holiday cards) off at the post office, then backtrack to determine when to address them.  Better still, consider sending out e-vites and e-cards.

Get your home ready by starting with bedrooms you don’t use and confirm with guests their length of stay.  Think about what they might need and prepare a basket of toiletries, towels and other necessities.  If decorating everywhere is too much, consider displaying ornaments on the mantle, or calling a seasonal company to decorate inside and/or outside for you.

When possible, cook ahead and freeze (your best bets are side dishes and desserts). Purchase convenience foods like muffins, frozen pizzas and something fun like tacos kits. If your meals will include perishables, buy them four or more days ahead of time to make sure the store isn’t out — and save yourself some holiday panic.

Ask about gifts early and budget for them.  Start with an amount limit for each person including the cost of postage.  Keep a folder with coupons and a list for specific stores and website to simplify shopping.  Also, consider giving experiences this year.

If you plan to visit others, pack earlyIf driving, make sure your car’s oil change is current, tires are inflated and you have an emergency kit. If traveling by air, make sure all flight information is shared with your host.  Also, don’t just think about your destination, but consider the places in between that might get a band of snow or ice. Plus, pack your patience, especially this year.

Plan what you will wear so you’ll have the right shoes, items back from the cleaners and, if needed, time to make a purchase to complete an outfit.  Plus, don’t forget the larger family.  Grandchildren might have end-of-season events that you may not have on your calendar.

Lastly, take care of yourself to help ensure you do not get rundown or sick.  Be sure to get plenty of sleep.  The holidays are no fun if you aren’t feeling well and up for them.  We hope this helps and wish you the best!

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