|Tips and Tricks to Surviving the Holidays|
| During a normal year:
The holiday season is to be full of love and joy, however being humans we can never leave well enough alone. Between shopping, sending cards, parties, decorating, ...... Our stress level goes into overdrive.
This year isn't normal !! Many people are have to do a lot more with a lot less.
When I was young, we didn't have a lot money, but always had a great Christmas. To this day I still have fond memories. When I grew up and had my own family there were also 'hard times'. While some years there was a little extra money, there were a few where I couldn't even afford a little tree.
So don't worry, here are some tips that might help bring back the love and joy and decrease the stress and the cost. So sit back and scrol though this page or use the quick links below.
Christmas Cards/Letters - Emergency Decorations - Emergency Gifts - Hard to impossible to Wrap Items - Survive the Parties - Turn the Little Headaches into Fun Times - Entertaining in the home - Taking Care of Yourself
|If your headache is coming
from the kitchen, check out the Kitchen Tips
Hate cleaning the house for company, invite a friend over to help. Then help them when they are fixing to entertain.
Gift wrapping, have several friends bring their gifts, tape, and paper. Turn it into a wrapping party, serving munches. This way you always have that extra set of fingers you always need. Also you can swap wrapping paper and ribbon.
Too much food to cook at one time, let a friend help by doing some at her house. Than return the favor.
Many foods can be prepared, weeks ahead of time. By planning ahead, all you will have to do is pull it out of the freezer, and bake. Just think all the good smells, with almost no mess.
Bored kids - If you own some holiday DVDs, this is the time to dig them out. Swap out with friends. You can even rent them for almost nothing, and some libraries even offer them for lending. Or if you would prefer something a little better, set-up a little craft area. Stock it with all the basic supplies: white paper, construction paper, scissors, glue, colors, pipe cleaners, scraps of fabric, scraps of wrapping paper, and if you dare.......glitter. You will get a little peace, and they will have something to be proud of.
Holiday grocery shopping
can be a killer if you work. See if you can take
off early one day. Grocery stores are almost empty
during week-days. Then enjoy the time you would
normally have to be in the store, doing something
you never have time for.
The large bulk discount
stores (like Sam's), can offer some great prices,
but you may not need or can afford a case of
something. Check with close friends and/or
co-workers and see if they would like to split the
cost of the item.
Of course you will need
to eat after Christmas, so take notes of any
stores that appear to have a lot of normal items
that are 'holiday' labeled in stock.
These will be marked down later, and trust me that
Hershey's Kiss in red & green foil tastes just
as good as the one in sliver.
Ohhhhh the wonderful
food, so many great dishes, so many calories.
Don't deprive your self, sit back and enjoy every
little morsel you place in your mouth. Eat enough
to satisfy those taste buds, then stop. Then watch
what you eat during normal times. Just think about
how good that gingerbread cookie is going to
smell, and taste.
If you are in a
situation, where you are expected to host a party,
but the time and money budgets simply can't handle
it, do a pot luck. The trick is you don't have to
call it a pot luck, it's a "Holiday Sampler
Party". Instruct each guest to bring the one food
item that has a special holiday memory for them or
just their favorite holiday food. Then at the
party, have everyone share the story behind their
Then use some of the
other ideas here to decorate and entertain. With a
little thought, and a little bit of work, and not
much money you can have a fantastic time for
almost no cost.
This the time of year that your are likely to have more than normal amount of entertaining to do. Most times your guests will have something in common. However during the holidays, you could end up with a very diverse groups of people to entertain.
Simple arts and crafts are great for the kids big and small. As they will be the first to become bored. Clear out a corner of a room that is off the beaten path, like a bedroom. Set up a little work station, colors, paper, scissors, glue, etc.
For the grown ups, try to set-up at least two different sections to sit, as a rule they will break off into small groups and talk. By offering the little extra room, the noise level won't be too bad.
Now for the games. One of
the great things about the holidays is that it
brings out the "kid" in all of us.
Much like pin the tail on the donkey. Draw a Christmas tree on a large piece of paper. Tape to the back of a door or a wall. Draw and cut enough stars for every guest to have his own. Have each guest write his/her name on the star.
Then one at a time, blind fold them, place a piece of double stick tape on the back of the star, and have them try to place it on the top of the tree. For an added extra, have the adults hit the kids craft area and make a paper
decoration for the tree. When the game is over with, you may wish to roll it up and use it next year as a keepsake. It might bring good memories, if the guests are older family members, that may not be with you many more Christmas'
How many words.
What is it?
Tell a story
Days gone by
Grab a nice looking goblet, place a colored votive candle in it, tie a matching colored Christmas ribbon around the base or stem. Remember if using a candle near the area where you will be serving a meal, use unscented candles. Scented candles often don't mix well with food.
Hang some Christmas tree ornaments from the ceiling, be sure everyone will be able to walk under them. By using fishing line the will appear to be floating in mid air, narrow ribbon with a small bow will accent them.
Centerpiece just got knocked off the table, and guests are expected to arrive any minute
2. Take some fresh
fruit, moisten with egg whites. drag through a
bowl of sugar. It magic.. frosted fruit. Arrange
on a Christmas plate or glass dish.
2. Each individual has
a matching set, but no two people have the same
Window scarfs are an hot item this year, simply measure your windows (from floor to top - left to right - top to bottom) add up the lengths, hit the local discount store or fabric store and buy some cheep cloth. Drape from existing rod, tucking under in raw edges on ends. I did my living room picture window in a Gold metallic, fabric I found at Walmart. Total cost was less then $20.
Take a plain cylinder candle, and tie a piece of Christmas ribbon around it.
Spray paint some mixed
nuts (in the shell) with silver and gold metallic
paint, place in a nice bowl, trim with come
ribbon. Don't eat the painted nuts!
You have finished all your shopping, used the extra gifts you had stashed, and now you find that you missed someone. There is no time to make something, and the thought of going to the mall or discount store sends a shiver down your back. Try shopping at the local grocery store. Most grocery stores carry more than just food.
The average person - Grab a nice looking coffee mug and:
several packets of gourmet hot chocolate
fill with candy
a small plant
For a family make
it set of mugs, each mug having something
The hobbyist - Pick up a magazines that specialize in the hobby, call or mail an subscription for the person and wrap the copy you bought with a note tell them their subscription will start in a couple of issues.
Health nuts - Pick up a
nice large bowl, flower pot, or basket, fill with
gift card can be practical, they aren't very
personal just in an envelope. Not to mention in
'emergency gift' situations, having the right card
to the right place may not be that easy. I suggest
keeping either a 'Visa or Mastercard' gift card on
hand. Then tuck it in to something that relates to
the person. For example if they are a 'coffee'
person, place it in a mug. If they like to eat
out, or go to the movies, find a cute graphic on
the net and print a fake movie ticket or type up a
menu and attach the card to it. Best part is if
you don't need an extra gift, you can save it for
someone's birthday or even treat your self with
Tickets, and gift certificates, and other small flat gift are normally placed in an envelope. If you wish to be different, place them in a "Cracker Wrapper". Simply use either the cardboard from bath tissue, or cut the cardboard from a roll of paper towels, or ever wrapping paper. Place the item in the tube, wrap by rolling the wrapping paper around the tube, gather the ends and tie off with ribbon. This will also work for small gifts, that came with out a box.
Bikes, Trikes, and riding lawn mowers, are just too big to wrap. Not to mention a real pain to get in the house. There are two ways to handle these.
2. Wrap something that goes with it, and watch their face as figure out what is happening.
Christmas bags can be handy, of course they don't hid the gift well. If you choose to use bags, buy some white garbage bags, using a stencils spray paint christmas designs on it. Tie if off with a matching ribbon.
Make a list, figure how many cards and stamps you will need.
Need a zip code? U.S. Postal Service
If you are wanting to let them know how the family has been doing this year, pick up some commercial Christmas paper, or design you own. Using a nice Christmas font, make a Christmas letter to send rather than a card. Here are some basic rules of Christmas letters:
Taking care of yourself!
If you allow it, you holidays can take a toll on your mind and body. This won't only ruin your holiday, but might bring down others around you too. So head the problem before it starts.
Don't worry about the small stuff! So what if the gift isn't wrapped perfect, or the cookies are store bought. No one is perfect, and the odds are no one will really care.
Time management - There are only 24 hours in a day, so don't try to do 26 hours worth of stuff. Allow yourself enough time to sleep your normal time length. If you work that's fixed time. With the average person needing 8 hours sleep, and 10 hours to deal with work (don't forget the drive time), that only leaves 6 hours for everything else. If you have a spouse and/or kids, you loose another couple of hours. So if you are lucky, you might squeeze out 3 hours a day to do everything else. Treat you time as if was more valuable than your money. Prioritize your to do list and make sure to write in at least 15 to 30 minutes just for you.
Pamper yourself - Limited time and money is no excuse not to. Even if it's just a hot bubble bath, a cup of your favorite coffee or tea, or even 10 minutes alone with a chocolate candy bar. Do something just for you. If the family and phone won't leave you along, lock the bathroom door or steal that little bit of time when you go out to grocery shop. Trust me 10 minutes in a car, cell phone off, with a cup of java, a donut and my favorite CD playing can do wonders for the mind.
Of course this isn't the season to start a diet, but watch what you eat. Over eating or skipping meals can throw your system off.
If start feeling depressed, don't think you are alone. The holiday season has this affect on a lot of people. If it's just mild depression, just look around, you won't have to look far to find someone having worse problems. If the depression starts to affects your daily life, it's time to seek help. Talk to a friend, minister or seek a professional.
If you are just in a slump, go do something for someone else. That feeling you get will leave you on a natural high.
Any question? Would you like to send in a tip?
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