The holiday season is full of cheer (and festive cocktails!), but it can also be full of stress. Not so cheerful, right? Dealing with traveling, extended family, and holiday shopping for others (and hopefully yourself too) can give even the most Zen person a Santa-sized dose of anxiety. Here are 10 tips and tricks to help save you time, money, and hassle so you can actually focus on the important things this season — like watching Love Actually for the 37th time or perfecting your Christmas cookie recipes.
1. Consider outsourcing your holiday must-dos. We all have a little bit of control freak in us, and when you’re preparing your home for guests or readying to travel for the holidays, it can be especially tempting to insist that only you can do things the right way. We hate to burst your bubble, but you’re not the only one who can grab last-minute groceries for a holiday meal or assemble that IKEA nightstand for the guest room before Grandma arrives! Take some pressure off yourself by outsourcing projects like this to the helpful team at TaskRabbit. There are more than 50 thousand vetted Taskers available to lend a hand.
2. Streamline the family calendar by keeping everything in one place. These days, chances are that everyone in your family is running at one thousand or maybe even one million miles per hour. Save yourself the sheer madness of keeping track of everyone’s comings and goings by logging all holiday plans in a single calendar. Using a collaborative calendar system, you’ll have all the moving pieces at your fingertips at all times. Treat yourself to the ultra-thin, ultra-light Acer Swift 7 laptop to reliably organize your season stress-free. With its sleek gold interiors, it’ll help you keep up with all those last minute holiday parties in style.
3. Take your vitamins! Each winter, the universe plays a cruel, cruel trick on us by overlapping the holidays with cold and flu season. Ugh! Stay ahead of potential illnesses by sticking to a daily vitamin regimen until the danger has passed. A multivitamin is a great place to start, and you can add in supplements of vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea to be extra-safe.
4. Lean on technology to help with saving and budgeting. There’s no way around it: The holidays are downright ex-pen-sive. Use apps to help you manage your spending as much as possible so you don’t emerge from the season totally in the red. Honey automatically tracks down the best available coupon codes for your online purchases, and there are plenty of financial tracking platforms (like Mint and Wally) that can help you stay on top of the money that’s going out the door.
5. Keep a running shopping list so you can buy gifts on-the-go. If you’re anything like us, you probably check one person off your list only to realize that there’s another loved one you need to shop for. Grab a trusty Acer Spin Series convertible notebook and keep it in your bag to maintain a dynamic list of ideas and to-buy presents. With four useful modes and up to 13 hours of battery life, the lightweight Spin is the flexible shopping buddy you actually want with you at all times — at the mall, on a plane, or wherever the season takes you. It will be a lot more difficult for you to forget something for your partner’s best friend’s wife when all the information is at your fingertips. Phew!
6. Stock up on gift cards as last-minute presents. Even with your best efforts (running shopping list, check!), you just might lose track of what and for whom you need to buy this season. Set yourself up with a handy present insurance policy by picking up a few generic gift cards now to keep on hand until the holidays are behind us. If you find yourself strapped for a gift at the last minute, you can easily wrap one of the gift cards up, giving someone the chance to treat themselves to something they want or need on your dime.
7. Encourage Secret Santa exchanges. Many families and friend groups are used to a more traditional gift exchange in which each person buys a gift for every other person. While this is a fun and familiar approach, it can often leave everyone involved feeling spread a little too thin both financially and physically (so. much. shopping). Suggest a Secret Santa — or Secret Snowflake — exchange instead. Want to make your life even easier? Elfster will manage the whole process for you.
8. Use gift bags. If you have a big stack of presents to put under the tree this year, wrapping them might take almost as long as shopping for them, especially if you’re planning to deck out every parcel in wrapping paper with perfectly sharp folds and straight cuts. Give yourself a break by stocking up on a variety of gift bags in a range of sizes, plus plenty of tissue paper and curling ribbon. Gift bags accommodate all presents — even those of the funkiest shapes and sizes — and they’re a lot faster and easier to work with.
9. Practice self-care. There’s a lot of talk out there lately about the importance of self-care, but taking good care of your mind, body, and soul is especially crucial as we head into this crazy time of year. Seek out pockets of time in your busy holiday schedule for exercise, journaling, or bubble baths (whatever works for you!), and consider kicking off a meditation practice (using an app like Simple Habit or Headspace) if you don’t have one already. (Photo via Getty)
10. Sleep! It’s sad that we have to tell you this during the holidays, but we know that you need the reminder now more than ever. You’re no good to anyone if you haven’t logged some rest here and there, so if the preparations and festivities are getting you down, don’t hesitate to snuggle up for a quick snooze.
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