Check! 10 Must-Dos for a Saner Holiday Season
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Get It Done1 of 11
By Andie Huber and Shannan Rouss
Don't wait until the last minute to get into holiday mode. We're giving you an easy head start with ten things you can check off your list—starting today.
Check the Calendar2 of 11
Take a good look at the months of November and December. While Thanksgiving Day is a given, Chanukah (or, as it's known this year, Thanksgivingakah) and Christmas can be less predictable. Chanukah starts on Nov. 27, and while Christmas is always on the 25th, this year it falls on a Wednesday. If you need to take time off of work, then put in your request now. And if you have kids, check their winter break schedule to figure out whether you'll need to plan for childcare.
Create a Budget3 of 11
To give you some context on holiday spending, The National Retail Foundation estimates that the average shopper will spend $738 on gifts, decor, cards and more. Whether you're planning to spend more or less than the average, a budget is a must. To keep the number within reason, talk to your co-workers about doing a Secret Santa instead of buying individual gifts for everyone. You can also do the same with family members—after all buying (and receiving) one nice gift is far better than going home with scented lotions, a martini shaker and more things you don't really need.
Book Your Flights4 of 11
Still haven't secured your flight for Turkey Day? According to Cheapair.com, the most expensive fares will be on Wednesday-through-Sunday flights. If you can, try traveling Monday through Friday to save up to $208 per ticket.
Schedule "Me" Time5 of 11
While the holidays are about family and everyone else, plan some "me" time before the madness begins—whether it's a massage, a pedicure or just curling up with a good book. Taking time for yourself will give you that extra boost to get through the holidays, gracefully.
Make Up6 of 11
Barely spoken to your sis since last Thanksgiving's spat? Reach out with a phone call or letter before making the trip home. Hopefully, she'll appreciate the gesture. And even if it doesn't entirely heal past hurts, you can at least be civil to each other—and avoid any drama—during the family festivities.
Break Up?7 of 11
If you've been dating someone casually, then the holiday season is make-or-break time for the relationship. After all, do you really want to endure an awkward gift-exchange with a guy you're lukewarm on? Instead, call it quits now—before he invites you to his office holiday party.
Get Gift Wrap8 of 11
If you didn't purchase extra gift wrap during the post-holiday sales last year, take inventory of your current stash and purchase extra now. You don't want to run out in the middle of a marathon gift-wrapping session and be forced to deal with the holiday crush.
Winterize Your Home9 of 11
Avoid disastrous problems in the middle of the holiday season: Schedule maintenance calls for boilers and fireplaces; clean out your gutters and turn off outside water sources. Program thermostats—ideally at 68 degrees while you are home and a lower temperature while you are away or during the night when you are sleeping.
Stock Up on Sundries10 of 11
While grocery shopping in the next couple of weeks, pay attention to when favorite items like beer, wine, and frozen foods go on sale—and stock up. You'll always be prepared for when unexpected guests drop by and for all those holiday parties you'll be attending. Just remember to keep a list handy so you know how much stock you actually have!
Turn On the Tunes11 of 11
Not ready to drag out the ornaments and untangle the lights just yet? Start small by downloading this year's holiday tunes. Get into the spirit of the season with Kelly Clarkson's first holiday album Wrapped in Red and Mary J. Blige's A Mary Christmas, both available this month.
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