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Life Just Got... Festive!

Are the holidays the last thing you want to think about this month? Stop dreading the to-do's and get a new perspective on the holiday season so you can focus on the important things.

One more buffer month before the real holiday onslaught. There are a few things you can do to welcome in the holidays with less stress and more finesse.  

Every year you try to get that holiday card sent out to distant family and friends on time. How does it always end up in the mail by January (or worse, February!)? The holidays get busy and compiling a list of addresses isn’t exactly at the top of your “fun” list, especially if you’re planning on chronicling the past year’s events. Wouldn’t we all rather be baking cookies?  

Perhaps there’s an easier way to reach your end-of-year goal when it comes to mass mailing.

  • Get started early. Compiling your list of family and friends’ current addresses immediately will give you the time to correct the out-of-date addresses. If you don’t have one already, compile the addresses using an spreadsheet or online database. Keeping these records digitally is easiest as your list changes over time.
  • Email It. If you send a yearly newsletter, consider switching to a digital format. Begin a rough draft immediately by summarizing this year’s happenings thus far in a Word document. In the next month or so, edit as needed and, voila! One click, and you’re finished. No postage necessary.
  • Re-Prioritize. Do you prefer a root canal to sending out a family photo or letter this year? Here’s something you may not have considered: Skip it this year. Take a break from that one expectation of a family photo or letter to ease the pressure off the mental health of you and your family. If sending out a mass letter gives you joy, but the holiday stress is too much, plan to send out your newsletter after the holidays. It will be even more fun to include the December and New Year happenings in a February newsletter!

Your gift list gets longer every year and the credit card bill shoots sky high. What to do? On the subject of lowering your expectations, there are a few more changes to the holiday tradition of gift-giving that will take the edge off. 

  • Draw Names. Write each family member’s name on a piece of paper and put them in a hat. Everyone chooses a name and buys one gift for that person, saving time and money. You can even do this with distant family by having one person draw names for everyone, keeping it a secret. What a great way to put the time and effort into one gift instead of rushing around buying gifts for everyone.
  • Make your gifts. It's still early. You can start now! Knit, paint or bake this year’s gifts. If you’re feeling a little dry on ideas, there’s always Pinterest to keep the creative juices flowing.  
  • Re-Prioritize.  Don’t give gifts this year. The holidays don’t have to be about buying gifts—you can show your love and appreciation by giving your time. Put your energy into a holiday dinner or party and make lasting memories with family and friends.
  • Donate your time. There are so many ways to lend a hand to needy families during the holiday season that is fun for the whole family. Visit Holiday Volunteering in the Washington D.C. Area to find a way to give back to the community Thanksgiving through the New Year.

We hope you have some new ideas to take the edge off the holiday season this year. Try some new ways to prioritize your to-do list in order to cut out the stress and enjoy time with family and friends!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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