I need a weekend to recover from my weekend. This time of year is just crazy and I've run across some great tips to help make the holidays a little easier.
Make wrapping easier and don't worry about the fancy packages- use bags and tissue. If you don't have a festive bag tie on a pretty red ribbon or ornament.
Don't do the things you don't want to do. I heard from my friends all the time "but I have to...". Um, NO you don't, you don't have to do anything. If you don't want to go to the neighbor's holiday party- DON'T! Martha Beck for Oprah Magazine suggests making a list of your holiday traditions to see which ones you really love and which ones you dread. For the traditions you're not in love with, resort to BAG IT (just don't do it any more), BARTER IT (Let someone in your life that loves this tradition handle the responsibly and to be fair take something you love to do off their plate), or BETTER IT (you can figure this one out).
When you have a party make your life easier by taking advantage of pre prepared foods- You don't have to do everything! Costco is my best friend for so many reasons- they have a large variety of delicious easy pre prepared appetizers and desserts; hummus, spinach artichoke dip and frozen stuffed pastries are some of my favorite aps for parties. And you can also ask your friends to help out. Friends always ask what they can bring why not let them bring something?- I never do I feel like I am the hostess and this is my job but now my friends just bring something even if I say no.:)
Less is more. The holidays are meant to be fun and sometimes the pressure to make everything perfect is in your own head. Give yourself a break and choose what's the most important to you and just do that. For example in prepping for my holiday/anniversary get together this weekend I only put up my favorite holiday decorations that were the easiest to put up and then the rest went back in the attic and you know know what? I haven't missed them.
My favorite stress reducer for the holidays came about as a result of the bad economy. A few years ago we decided that instead of everybody getting gifts for everybody we would each draw two names from a hat- one is for a big gift ($100+) and the other for a stocking stuffer ($25-$50). This way this limits what you spend on gifts and takes a lot of the stress and time spent in hell, I mean the mall away. The other rule to this is everyone MUST make a wish list- which makes buying your 2 gifts even easier and then everyone gets what they want (and only what they want) and everyone gives a great gift- if you don't make a list you get nothing! At first I thought this was sort of scroogy and sad that we were breaking tradition but this will be the 3rd year of our new tradition and I really love it, in fact I look forward to it.
Oh, and go ahead and use your beautiful china- Martha Stewart says we can put it in the dishwasher! (on the gentle or cool cycle- of course)
Enjoy the holidays, it will be 2012 before we know it!
If you have time saving or stress reducing holiday tips please share!