Jennifer Farrell’s Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday

Jennifer Farrell’s Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday

Make this season stress free and joyful with design expert Jennifer Farrell’s tips.

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Wouldn't it be lovely if there was really such a thing as a stress-free holiday season? Though December is always packed with hectic shopping, decorating and entertaining, here are five tips to hold holiday hassles to a minimum and keep cheery this holiday season.

1. Skip the Mall and Shop Online
Though some stores offer amazing holiday sales, you'll spend tons of time and gas money driving around and fighting the mad shopping craze as you hunt for gifts. Avoid the crowd and hit your favorite websites instead. Many sites offer free shipping, no tax, gift wrapping and often have creative ideas for gift giving. A few hours online can save days at the mall.

2. Throw a Tree Trimming Party
Why do all the decorating and gift delivery yourself when you can have your friends do it for you?  Invite the crowd over to trim your tree, and in exchange, they get their presents. You'll save tons of time driving around town dropping off gifts, plus the tree gets decked out without you lifting a finger!

3. Don't Cook
Though stewing and stirring can be tons of fun, there's very little time to spare during the holidays.  So this year, let your local market do the cooking for you.  Pre-order your holiday dinner and it'll end up costing you about the same as if you prepared everything yourself, but with no effort.  Or make your winter dinner party a potluck, and have guests each bring their best dish.


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4. Call in the Hired Help
Now's the time for the kids to earn a little extra spending money for the holidays — hire your children to clean the house. Instead of spending your own valuable hours getting the home spotless for visitors, have your kids do it and give them a chance to make a few extra bucks.

If you're in need of a professional, now's the time to splurge and hire a housekeeper for a day. It'll probably run $60-100, depending on the size of your home, but it just may be the best gift you ever give yourself.

5. Prepare for the In-laws
It's wonderful to have relatives visit for the holidays, but figuring out how to handle extra people can be one of the more stressful parts of the season. Arm yourself with a few tricks to keep them comfy and entertained. Place a basket in the guest room filled with bottled water, snacks and a couple magazines. 

For an extra touch, set out a white robe and slippers to make your guests feel like they've checked in to a deluxe bed and breakfast. Once they're comfortable, get them out of the house! Have several events planned to keep them entertained without you. Send your guests to a free concert at the mall, buy them tickets to the art museum or have them take the kids to the holiday parade. Any little excursions you can plan for the family to do without you will be a nice way to give yourself a few stolen hours of deserved down time.

For more of Jennifer's holiday advice, visit her blog.

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