Monday, December 20, 2010

Ready, Set, Holidays!

The holiday season has begun. Haul out the headache medicine, do the plastic shuffle and try to not go insane. You will need your mind when it is all over. Personally I love the holidays. I love the lights, the music, the movies, the special foods! My favorite aspect though is being able to laugh and exchange ideas and just have fun with friends. I have been fortunate where I have had some wonderful memories with terrific people over the years.

From Halloween through New Years there are so many different tastes, sights and smells to enjoy. Parties or activities to attend or tend to, and people to share your time with. It is a season of good stress, but stress all the same. Here are a few tips I use, which helps me look forward to the holidays every year.

My Top Holiday Survival Tools.

Be Prepared. Wrapping paper, check, Gift tags, check. Tape, check. Scissors??? Where the heck are the scissors! I discovered after many misplacements of my scissors to just buy an extra pair and keep them with all the other gift wrapping supplies. Try to get these types of items at the end of the season, pack them all together-maybe in a red and green tub, so it's all there for you. Stock up on batteries, and don't forget the sensory tools for your special child who will sense every bit of your stress.

The House to Yourself. You need to be able to have the house to yourself for a few hours, a couple of times during the holiday season. Not only to get things done, but to decompress. Send the kids (and maybe even the husband) off to the grandparents, your sisters, your brother, best friend’s house …somewhere they will have fun for a few hours. This also makes a great gift.

A Money Plan. No one wants to go into debt. But you do want to have funds to buy extra food, and even making gifts costs money. The best scenario is to save money-even if it is your extra change, in a jar or Christmas club account throughout the year so you have extra cash. There are also pay-to-read email companies, shopping websites where you earn points or money for reading their ads, and shopping on their site. You can save your earnings all year and cash them out in November as money or gift cards. Spending just 30 minutes to an hour a week on this can add up to an extra 200.00 in your pocket at the end of the year.

Credit for credit, not just using it as a convenience and paying it off in the month is fine if you have a plan. If you shop well, you will get some amazing deals, and if it means having a holiday over no holiday just factor in your comfort zone on interest. I normally match my savings as long as I can pay it back in 3 months. This yields two months of interest, which sometimes only adds up to an extra 40 dollars or so, with great deals-I am still a head.

Wine and Whining. You need to vent. Let it out. Call your best friend, swap horror stories and let it go. Wine is also a welcome addition to the end of your day. One glass of wine not only helps you relax, it gives you antioxidants and is good for your blood. Several glasses of wine will just give you a headache and unnecessary calories, so if you can practice moderation then add a bottle to your shopping list.

Christmas Music and Movies. When the “shitter is full”. Nothing works better than watching the Griswold’s with their Christmas adventures in Christmas Vacation. Watching Christmas movies while wrapping or listening to music- or if you are Noah, both; adds that holiday feeling and some humor.

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