This article is sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union.
Make your holidays merry again with these stress-reducing tips.
Who doesn’t love the food, festivities and gift-giving of the holidays? It can be magical when all the pieces come together, but the lead-up can be full of hard work. De-stress your holiday season and get in a merry mood with these tips:
- Make a shopping plan. Don’t try to do all your holiday shopping at once. If you haven’t been buying gifts all year long, consider dividing your list up and knocking it out in pieces. If you have enough time, plan your shopping so the expense won’t hit your budget at the same time.
- Price check with your phone. As you do your holiday shopping, you might find the perfect gift is over your budget, but it may not have to be. By doing a quick search with your phone, you could find the same item elsewhere for a better price. Also, many stores have the ability to price-match on the spot, so if you can show the same item costs less elsewhere, you could possibly get it there for that price. You might also find a discount or coupon during your search.
- Use technology shortcuts for your holiday cards. Sending holiday cards with handwritten addresses can be a nice personal touch, but if you have more cards than time, technology can speed up the process. You can print address labels on label paper with software you probably already have, like the Mail Merge selection in Microsoft Word or Apple’s® Pages. It may take time to set up, but once you have a system established, you’ll be set for years to come—all you’ll need to do is make updates.
- Prep holiday tasks in advance. Want to have hot and fresh homemade cookies when everyone’s over? Make the dough ahead of time, freeze it and pull it out as needed so you don’t miss any quality time with the family. Don’t want to hurriedly wrap presents just before they’re needed? Make a station with wrapping paper, decorative bags, ribbons, scissors and tape, so you know you have the supplies before you need to start wrapping gifts.
- Split the work. Who says the host needs to make all the food? Take some of the pressure off yourself by making your holiday get-togethers a communal potluck. This also ensures your guests with specific food preferences or allergies will have something they can eat.
- Set realistic expectations. A burnt turkey or stained tablecloth shouldn’t spoil your entire holiday. It helps to think of any potentially negative event as a memory you’ll all look back on someday and laugh about fondly. And, if plans need to change because of something going wrong, consider it to be a way you’re changing up this year’s holidays from other years.
- Volunteer. Help improve the holidays for those who are most in need. Volunteer at a charity, and you may find your mood lifting as you connect with others and give back to your local community.
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This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.