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holiday season

How to Save Time This Holiday Season

The holiday season can feel like one of the most stressful times of year, but it doesn't have to be that way. By planning ahead and using free gift wrapping services at retailers, as well as cooking in advance, there are dozens of ways to save time by planning so that you can spend those most precious moments with your friends and family instead of doing prep work. Here are some great tips to get you started.

1. Simplify Your Food Strategy

Whether it's a family feast or sweet treats to share with your co-workers, cooking can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of your holiday season. You may have grown up with a mother or granddad who could whip up a holiday dinner in mere hours, but there's no need to try to live up to those expectations. No one is going to think badly of you if you opt to order takeout for Christmas dinner. Instead of making cookies from scratch, grab some cookie dough from the grocery store and stick it in the oven. If you do like to whip up your own meals from scratch, start planning ahead in early December, and freeze your dishes until the big day.

2. Simplify Gift-Giving

Along with cooking, figuring out what to get everyone on your list, shopping for those gifts and wrapping them is another time-consuming aspect of the holiday season. It's time to make the whole process easier. Talk to your friends about drawing names or playing Secret Santa instead of buying something for everyone. Instead of buying multiple small gifts for each member of your family, get one or two large items that they really want or something the whole group can use together. Skip the paper and bows for bags, or take advantage of free gift wrapping services offered at the stores and malls where you shop.

3. Shop Online

Even better, skip the long lines at the local malls and stores and shop from the comfort of home. You can pull out your laptop or smartphone from bed and order something for every person on your list. Many online retailers offer inexpensive or free gift wrapping, too.

4. Make Lists

You'll never remember everything, whether it's your grocery list or your list of people to whom you want to send Christmas cards. Planning ahead by writing out those lists can help guide you through the holidays. Sit down before the season begins, and think about what you want from your holidays. Writing it all down in a notebook that you can keep with you will help ensure that everything goes smoothly and that you aren't making multiple return trips to the store because you forgot eggs or sugar. If you don't like to write, consider using an organization or list-making app on your smartphone.

5. It's Never Too Early to Plan for Next Year

Finally, it's never too soon to think about next year. Plan ahead, starting on December 26 or January 2. This can mean scoring big deals on sales, getting a head start on your shopping, and doing what it takes to make sure next year's holidays are spent doing the important things in life.


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The holiday season can feel like one of the most stressful times of year, but it doesn't have to be that way. By planning ahead and using free gift wrapping services at retailers, as well as cooking in advance, there are dozens of ways to save time by planning so that you can spend those most precious moments with your friends and family instead of doing prep work. Here are some great tips to get you started.

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