STRESS FREE HOLIDAYS
These tips can be used all year long, but they are especially helpful during the holiday rush!
- Always park as closely to cart corrals as possible. Shoppers tend to have more energy going into the store, rather than coming out to their cars, so who wants to be stuck with a cart an no corral close enough? Please do not be one-of-those-people who leaves a cart rolling around in the middle of a parking spot as it is not safe, highly annoying and inconsiderate of others using the parking lot!
- Have store card, credit card and any coupons ready before reaching the checkout so people behind you don’t have to wait.
- For grocery shopping, if your cashier is going too fast, slow them down with produce in the middle of ringing up your food! This always slows them down, giving you ample time to catch up with placing the rest of your items on the counter belt.
- Bring your own bags and try to bag your own items at the grocery store. This will ensure that your similar items are together and that the heavy weight of cans, jars and bottles are distributed between several bags.
- Shop early in the morning or early evening to avoid crowds inside and for better parking in the lot. Best hours are usually 8:00am – 10:30am or 6:00pm – 9:00pm
- Go online to check your points if you have any credit card accounts with rewards programs to see if you have reached a point where you can request a pre-paid VISA car or other option that you have been wanting!
- Do not attempt to use pre-paid credit cards at restaurants or gas stations, as they can sometimes be denied or tips do not transfer accurately. Sometimes, there is also a fee for using these cards in certain situations. Prepaid cards are great for using at grocery stores where you can use the entire value of the card at one time.
Use proper etiquette in stores!
- Do not walk away from your shopping cart —ever— as this causes anything from traffic jams, the blocking of products on shelves that other shoppers wish access and in some cases, even cause safety hazards. This will also help to save other shoppers from becoming irritated with your negligence.
- Read the body language of other shoppers as well as store staffers to feel how hurried they might be, distressed, happy or just want to go about their business. If your cashier has a long line, please don’t chat long with them while they are trying to do their job and move the line as quickly as they can without making mistakes on anyone’s total spending receipts.
- Less is more. Each December is a great time to look through every single decoration you have to ensure that you have enough or if you have too many. This is the time to add or subtract what you need or don’t need. It’s also the best time to repair or replace what is broken.
- Decide who your audience is for outdoor decorations. If your neighborhood has a lot of children, more lights can be fun for them. If mostly adults who are not interested in your gigantic neon blue snowman, you might want to retire him from your fleet of offending decorations. Think about how much trouble it is to set up your outdoor decorations as well as how much electricity it takes to power your display. If you are mostly indoors and don’t really even enjoy your own outdoor decorations, make sure you are doing it to make other people smile and not to irritate or blind them. Why work to make others annoyed during what is supposed to be a pleasant holiday season?
- If you don’t have the time or desire for the work involved in decorating or preparing for a party that you wish to host at your home, you can contact catering, decorating or concierge businesses that actually handle all of the decorations and party planning for you at fees that are not as expensive as you would think. If your time and energy is valuable in other ways, that time and energy that you save from holiday work is worth the price, as you have more time to spend with family and friends without being tired and irritable.
- Mention having all of the adults only shop for the children in the family and see who agrees with you. Some might be very relieved. Others might miss the idea of receiving or giving gifts to adults, but may be willing to give it a try!
- Another alternative would be to take a vote about experimenting with drawing adult names one year to see if it’s something your family can handle. It certainly means that each family member can give one person a more thoughtful gift of a higher quality and expense than in other years. This also means that each adult receives just one gift. As for the children, it’s easier to shop for them without having so many adult gifts to deal with.
- Have everyone exchanging gifts try to only give homemade gifts that they either make themselves or buy from independent hand crafters at festivals and holiday boutiques.
- Set new guidelines for gifts, such as exchanging only homemade, eco-friendly, services or edibles or other items that are guaranteed to by used by the recipients. This saves waste, as well as being something that people actually want, rather than them being stuck with to regift or donate.
- Give gifts that don’t require wrapping… or give gifts in natural or waste free wrappings, such as cute printed fabric for kids gifts that can later be used to sew into bags or pillow cases. The best bet is to cover empty boxes in various sizes with attractive upholstery cloth so that they can be used year after year! The lids to each permanently wrapped box can also be adorned with lovely wired ribbons glued over the fabric which can be reshaped each year after being stored for eleven months.
- Gift baskets need not be wrapped in shrink wrap that is bad for the environment, but can be covered in sheer fabrics that come in many colors with options of shimmered to matted. You can still see everything thing inside of the basket without the worry of wasteful plastics.
Food & Beverage
- Keep it simple while at the same time keeping in mind what guests prefer or whether or not they have any sensitive issues with certain foods and/or beverages.
- If you have had sit-down meals for your family each year, try something different, such as a heavy or light hors d’oeuvre party spread with punch and hot chocolates for a change!
- Forget paper and plastic! Stay green and use your nice china and platters, as well as cloth napkins and glass stemware for the holidays. Not only will this create a much better impression upon your guests, but it will save on such waste to end up in landfills!
- Always have to-go containers handy for your guests so that they can enjoy some of the goodies from your house after the party.
- Background music for the holiday entertaining adds such a wonderful touch to events, large or small. If you happen to have a Spotify account, you can easily create your own holiday playlists to suit the vibe of your guests. You can create several playlists to use for multiple entertaining moments at your home completely customized as to who your guests will be. Sample themes are a jazz holiday playlist, one with fun songs for children or one created from oldies and pop.