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Twelve Holiday Preparation Tips for a Happier Holiday Season

You survived black Friday and now its cyber Monday. If you haven’t found your holiday spirit, you may find yourself ill-prepared for the holiday season. Have no fear. Here are 12 holiday preparation tips for a happier holiday season.

Synch your calendars. Get the family around the table and make sure each of you is aware of the special events surrounding the holidays, including office parties and school programs.

Set your budget. Before you get too deep into preparation, know how much you’re willing to spend on everything from entertaining and decorating to gifts. Give each family member their portion of the holiday budget so you won’t have to make all the purchases.

Plan you menus. For special events such as entertaining in your home or ones that require bringing food, plan the entire menu and make a list of ingredients so you’re not constantly running to the store.

Freeze your baked goods. Make the cookie dough now, form them into balls and place them in the freezer separated by wax paper. Now you can pull them out and bake a fresh dozen at a moments notice.

Schedule the chores. If you are expecting company, don’t take on the entire house yourself. Give everyone tasks and have a family cleaning day. You’ll be surprised at how fast it goes and how much fun you can have.

Be direct. Stop struggling to find that perfect gift for someone. Ask them directly what they want. It may be a bit impersonal but it will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Get the group to do the greeting. Make you holiday greeting a family affair. Have each member write their own paragraph or just have each person select their favorite photos give them fun captions. When it comes time for the mail, get everyone involved in the stuffing and addressing. Or maybe this is the year to send your message electronically.

Buy emergency gifts. It seems each year you receive an unexpected gift. Purchase a stash of emergency gifts to have on hand so you can return the gesture. Purchase something that could be useful to you so if no one surprises you this year, it doesn’t go to waste.

Prepare you gifts. Nothing is more frustrating to a child than waiting for you to get the toy freed from the wires and encased plastic package. Undo the hassle, pop in the batteries and place it back in the box before you wrap.

Wrap it up. Theme your gift wrap by each person or family so it’s easy to see what gifts go where without having to look at all the tags.

Let the store ship it. If you have to send gifts to out of town family members, purchase them online and have the retailer ship the gifts to the appropriate locations. Many will even gift wrap for a small fee.

It doesn’t all have to happen. Sometimes expectations are high for the holidays. If you don’t get the wreath on the peak of the garage, people probably won’t miss it. Before you stress about the incomplete tasks on you list, determine just how important it is in the grand scheme of things. Remember, the holidays are about relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends.

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