Wednesday, November 24, 2010

10 Holiday Survival Tips

Today is the day before Thanksgiving. People are at the airport ready to go visit their families. Or you are at home prepping your house for the visitors that will be there this holiday season. Can you survive this holiday season? Usually by the time New Years comes around we are just DONE with everything. The holiday music gets on your nerves, you don't want to come close to a store, and you dread taking all those decorations down. I have 10 tips to help you survive this holiday season.

1) Be prepared. Don't let the season catch you off guard start planning ahead of time. At a Fall festival this year right before Halloween, we picked who's house we were having Thanksgiving at. I have to work a schedule because my husband and I visit both families and have Thanksgiving with both. This year we have decided we will be visiting my mom for Thanksgiving lunch. Then later on we will be having Thanksgiving dinner with my in laws. After Thanksgiving dinner or lunch, decide the Christmas schedule. We each take turns hosting.

2) Divide the Menu. You don't have to worry about hosting your entire family and having to cook everything, and then clean everything as well. Do a potluck menu. Take your menu and ask every family to bring something of the menu. This will help you, the host, have more time to host. This works great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Years.

3) Pass out Responsibilities. Preparing your home can be easy. Have the husband and the kiddos each take a section in the house and lets get the house ready. At my house my son handles the trash, putting things in the right place, and any minor things I give him. My husband helps out with the landscaping, dishes, laundry, and other things that will make my job easier. Remember the more hands there are the faster it will get down, we have more things to do this holiday season.

4) Gift Exchange. If you have a big family and many gift to purchase, why not do a gift exchange. After Thanksgving dinner, put everyone's names into a bowl. Each person who put a name in will take a name out. They will purchase only one gift for that person. You can set a dollar value if you want. We only pick out 3 names since it is only 3 of us, my husband, myself, and my son. This won't break the budget since we have 2 sets of families to purchase for, the his and the hers. We do a gift exchange for my in laws family. They are a very big family with many kiddos. This works out get for our budgets.

5) Make a gift list. Write down all the names of the people you and your family need to purchase gifts for. And stick to your list.

6) Set a gift budget. You are the only who knows your money. The person receiving the gift doesn't know how you will pay, lay away, or save. Stick to your budget, don't go over.

7) Shop smart. I love to see and hear about SALE or CLEARANCE. It is what I do best. I get my gift list, and I write down what I want to buy the person next to their name. I think about things they may need or want, that maybe they can't afford or maybe are looking for. I sometimes as parents what they want for their kids. Some parents don't want toys for their kids. When my son was smaller, I would normally ask everyone to help me by getting him clothes. I was a single parent with a very small budget. My mom is still a single parent to my youngest brother, so normally I get him clothes. He needs it, and he loves that I know his style. And because I shop smart I can normally get him an entire outfit. He doesn't mind my smart shopping because he gets more than expected. If you are buying gift for your parents, think of something they can both use instead of shopping for individual gifts for each. Last year, we gave my in laws a digital photo frame, and loaded it with family pictures of the entire family. They loved their gift. Shop the Black Friday Sales. Last Year, I got home from Black friday with my entire list checked off. I found great buys, and sales that I just could not refuse. This way I saved, and I was still able to get everyone great gifts. Many stores will have sales every Saturday in December. They offer gift cards to the first shoppers. They want you to come shop in their stores, and even offer up to 60% of items on your Christmas list.

8) Check your supplies. This one is very important. Do not go to the store wondering if you have gift wrapping paper, tape, or bows. Pull out your supplies and see how much and what you actually need. Who needs 50 gift wrapping paper rolls sitting around all year long in your storage?

9) Storage. It is important that you store all your decorations together. If not you will be running around your house pulling items from everywhere. I use big plastic storage bins to store all my Christmas decorations. I have a knook in my garage and all of those bins who in there. I keep my Halloween, Fall, and Thanksgiving decorations in separate bins in my attic. This makes it easy for me to ask my honey to bring out whatever I need. You know with men it has to be easy if not they will not do it. Also, store things according to their use. I have a bin for the tree, another for outside. This way you won't be pulling for bins all day long. I have a bin just for gift wrapping paper as well. I keep scissors, tape, and bows in it too.

10) Holiday Fun. If you are a host, plan activities for your guest to do while they are there. Usually after geeting each other, and after the food, there isn't more to do. Have fun, play football. This means you ladies too. We can throw a ball, and if we can't who cares we are having fun. Have board games for the kiddos. I set up a designated area with activities to keep the kids busy after Thanksgiving dinner. After Christmas dinner and before opening presents the kids can get very anxious, so give them something to take their minds off those pretty presents calling their names. My in laws love to play lotteria, which is like a Spanish version of bingo. Whatever you do, have fun. The holidays are about families getting together. You may not see these family members but once a year at the most, enjoy their time and company.

I hope you have enjoyed my tips. I have used them and they have help with the chaos. Holidays should not be stressful but stress-free. I hope that one of these tips helps you make your holidays easier. Have a great Thanksgiving, from Independentmami and the Garza Family.

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