The holiday season brings with it the joys of celebration, gift giving, surrounding yourself with the ones you love, and special hopes for a new year. If your holidays tend to be just as hectic as they are jubilant, maybe it’s time to simplify what you do and how you do it. Here are some easy ways to celebrate without stress in the coming weeks.

Smart Shopping Shortcuts

  • Only shop at stores that offer gift wrapping services.
  • If you buy online, have the gift wrapped and shipped directly to the recipient.
  • Keep track of holiday expenses by using one credit card for all of your purchases.

Easy Holiday Planning

  • Create one “Family Holiday Calendar” that you hang in a central place in your home.
  • Have the calendar handy when you open up invitations or check email so it is easy to add the event to the calendar.
  • Schedule “white space”–time to savor the holiday with your immediate family.

Simplify the Holiday Card Process

  • Start early and break the process down into smaller steps to prevent a last-minute time crunch. Aim to get your cards in the mail by December 14. Work backwards to plan a schedule.
  • Don’t worry about getting the perfect picture. An informal or even silly image of your family will put a smile on everyone’s face.
  • Avoid the rush entirely and opt to send cards for a different holiday, like Valentine’s Day or Halloween.

Prep Your Home for Entertaining

  • Find space for special platters, dishes, and food by removing expired food and discarding mismatched Tupperware containers from your kitchen.
  • De-clutter your entryway by donating outgrown or no longer loved outerwear. (It is coat drive season, so it should be fairly easy to find a new home for these items.)
  • Add hangars or a coat rack so guests have a place to hang their coats.
  • If you are hosting overnight guests, spend some time in the room in which they will be staying. Lie on the bed, open drawers, and use the bathroom to get a sense of how they will be using the space and what they will need.

Manage Toys and Gifts

  • Make room for the onslaught of new toys by purging toys that are broken, outgrown, or no longer loved.
  • Streamline the time it takes you to wrap gifts by storing a pair of scissors and a roll of tape with gift-wrap and ribbons. Try to store these items close to a flat surface so you can easily spread everything out.
Featured Photo Courtesy: Kelly Brask