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The 12 (Easy) Ways of Christmas
Report to Moderator Old 06-02-2002 08:52 PM
MMC Editor
 
Category: Holiday How-to
Views: 45,914
Replies: 0
By Judy Stark

This Saturday after Thanksgiving, we're on the cusp of the holidays. This is your chance to get ahead of the game, cross some major items off your to-do list, and save yourself untold headaches, money and time. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. The holiday finish line is closer than you think. Four weeks from today is Christmas Eve.

(1) ORDER ONLINE, NOW: Avoid the heavy last-minute delivery charges by placing your orders this weekend. Have gifts shipped directly to recipients. Order out-of-town flowers and food gifts.

(2) ORDER LOCALLY, NOW: Warm the heart of the butcher, the baker, the fishmonger, the deli, the florist by placing orders now.

(3) SMILE! Take that family, or pet, or vacation snapshot to the drugstore this weekend to have your cards made up.

(4) START GROCERY SHOPPING: Buy ingredients now that you'll need for holiday baking and cooking. Throw an extra pound of butter, bag of nuts or sack of flour into your cart each time you shop. That way your budget won't take a big hit all at once. Stock up on canned and frozen foods you'll need for holiday meals. Stockpile garbage bags, plastic wrap, dishwasher detergent, toilet paper.

(5) GET A HEAD START ON HOLIDAY BAKING: Sift and measure dry ingredients, zip them into plastic bags and label them. When you're ready for a baking night, half the work is done. Bake early and freeze; do the same with side dishes for holiday meals.

(6) ASSEMBLE IT NOW: If you're giving a bicycle, piece of furniture or other item that requires you, a screwdriver and your brother-in-law, don't wait until Christmas Eve. Put it together now, while there's still time to get that missing part or call Customer Service. Then hide the item at the home of a relative or neighbor. Or get together with a group of similarly situated friends and neighbors and rent a store-it-yourself locker for the month.

(7) MORE STOCKPILING: Check your supply of wrapping paper, tape, ribbon, tissue, bags, tags. Get what you need this weekend and be done with it.

(8) START PLANNING. Get everyone's activities on a master calendar. Spot conflicts and overloads and make some choices: Can you get to three parties, a neighborhood holiday tour and a concert, all between 2 and 9 p.m. on the same day? Keep a list of obligations and commitments: Who needs cookies for a school party or a gift for the office exchange? Make reservations now for restaurant meals on holiday eves and days.

(9) PRIORITIZE: Realize that you can't do everything every year. Maybe this is the year for Messiah and next year you'll go to The Nutcracker. If you gave a big party last year, take a break this year.

(10) WRAP AS YOU GO: Nothing is uglier than the all-night-before-Christmas wrapping marathon. Wrap gifts as you buy them, or wrap every Wednesday night from now till Christmas, or wrap for an hour every night. Don't put it off.

(11) SEASON'S GREETINGS: Write a couple of cards every day (printed labels are very acceptable). But chill: The holidays last through Jan. 1 and your friends will be just as glad to hear from you after Christmas as before. Buy stamps at the supermarket or drugstore and avoid long post office lines. Consider the virtue and economy of posting your holiday greetings online.

(12) GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT: Stop in the midst of the madness for coffee and a cookie. Give yourself the gift of generosity as you drop the change in your wallet into the Salvation Army red kettle. Stop to admire a tree or the decorations in the windows. Pay the toll for the car behind you. There's a reason several major religions observe this season as the victory of light over darkness. Celebrate it.
__________________
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