It's the holiday chore nobody wants: wrapping gifts at midnight, Christmas Eve. To head off last-minute wrapping, wrap gifts as you go.
Wrapping in small doses, you'll do a better job and enjoy it, too. To track whose gift is which, use small stickey notes to identify gifts. (Deter snoops with a numbering system tied to the master gift list!)
Another way to ease gift-wrap chores is holding a gift-wrap party with friends. Pour hot cider, put out a plate of holiday cookies and stack Christmas music in the CD player as you chat and wrap together.
A clutter-busting bonus? Swap leftover gift wrap at the end of the event; a friend's tired roll end becomes your family's fresh new pattern.
"Secret Santa" gift exchanges can be a great way to cut holiday stress. Sometimes known as White Elephant Gift Exchanges or a Yankee Swap, a Secret Santa gift exchange allows families, social groups or co-workers draw names from a hat, and give an anonymous gift, rather than purchasing and giving multiple items to the whole group.
Start thinking now about organizing Secret Santa exchanges--and to jumpstart the process, try these online Secret Santa resources. They're free, and make it easy to set up and organize a Secret Santa exchange:
For a super source of holiday decor items, gifts and baked goods, shop local Christmas bazaars. Often benefitting worthy causes or organizations, these informal gatherings offer food, fun and a welcome leg up on the gift list.
To find bazaars in your area, look to local newspapers or community web sites; many provide seasonal listings of holiday bazaars and harvest fairs.
Add 'em to your calendar, check 'em out ... for a good time and a quick start to holiday shopping.
They're heerrree ... online bargains and holiday catalogs!
Planning for Christmas, shopping from home has many advantages over the holiday mall scene. No long lines. No sore feet. No staggering to the car, weighed down by parcels and shopping bags. Shopping becomes a pleasure, conducted from a favorite chair. Phone in your selections, sit back, and wait for the UPS man. Ahhhhh!
Still, it's possible to have too much of a good thing! The catalog tide sweeps in at the end of August, engulfing mailboxes and tabletops with untidy stacks and piles--and disorganized catalog shopping exacts a high price for convenience.
How to shop smart and save? Try these three tips to organize catalog shopping:
Cleaning out the refrigerator is a great time to track actual consumption. Food items that are thrown away signal that you're overbuying at the supermarket. Scale back--or cut out--these items on your next shopping trip ... and save.