5 Foolproof Ways To Get More Time, Money and Sanity Out Of Your Holiday Season

  It is officially the Holiday Season! As much as that pleases {most} of us, the sentiment also brings with it a sense of overwhelming obligation. If you happen to be the one to cook one {or all} of the holiday feasts, or does the bulk of the shopping, you may have even woke up this morning in panic mode. Have no fear Gypsies, here are a few ways you can lighten your load this year so that you can do what you are meant to do - Enjoy your family in peace and tranquility {well, that may be a stretch, but you catch my drift...}.

1. Just Say No

  Easier said than done? I think you are wrong. Politely declining invitations is actually quite liberating and brings a sense of 'Phew!' along with it. Granted, if someone loves you enough to invite you somewhere, you should be full of appreciation and gratitude, but if you just aren't up for spending time making food to bring, getting your children ready, getting a host{ess} gift, dealing with presents, gift swaps, etc, along with spending one of your precious days off sitting in traffic to get to the event: JUST SAY NO. Believe it or not, a simple, "Thank you, but we are truly trying to skip sitting in any traffic this holiday season.", is a sentiment that nearly everyone in the free world can understand.

2. Go Digital

  Speaking of gifting; The best thing you can do to lighten your load [literally!} this year, is going digital. Subscription gifting is one of my favorite things to do! Not only is it simple, requires no store time, and you don't have to lug a bunch of boxes around with you everywhere you go - it is also usually better received than any physical gift you can find in a store. Who among us wouldn't be thrilled with an Amazon Prime Membership, Playstation Money, a year of Netflix, Ipsy Boxes, Green Chef Meals, etc? Exactly. The best part, no wrapping required. Win.

3. Pin It

  "What do Sally and Bobby want for Christmas?"

  "What can I bring to the party?"

  "Is there going to be anything Gluten-free at Thanksgiving?"

  Guess what. Make a Thanksgiving Menu 2016 Board and Pin the recipes you plan on using, add everyone interested. Doing Pot Luck style? Even better. Have everyone Pin what they are bringing so you can be sure you have a well rounded menu happening. Pin the kid's Christmas List, as most Pins are shoppable. Make a board for your grand-parents, parents, and add your siblings and cousins. That way everyone knows who is getting Grandma what, so she doesn't go home with four sets of gloves. Pinterest adds an element of simplification that is much appreciated when planning events.

4. Amazon Prime

Unless you are a SAHMorD that is just dying for an excuse to wander the aisles of Target {guilty as charged}, why even bother dealing with stores, germs, traffic, idiots, or anything that doesn't involve your couch and pajamas this holiday? Forget it! Making a cohesive shopping cart for the people you need to buy for not only saves you time, it saves you money. No random sales, knick-knacks, doohickies to trip up your budget. Just make your entire cart for all of the gifts you are hoping to buy, and either you will see you are over {or under} budget, and adjust accordingly. I don't know about you, but more than once in this glorious life, I have found myself doing frantic and incorrect math at a register with a line of surly Santa's behind me. That stress is unwelcome in my world! Amazon. All the way. Prime means free shipping, and another great thing: you can fill your cart with everything, and hit 'save for later' on anything you don't feel like purchasing right away.

5. Photo Sites

  Most of us already do this, but if you are still hand writing Christmas cards, this one is for you. Sites like Snapfish and Vistaprint save you hours upon hours of writing and signing and licking gross envelopes. You can even upload your address book and have them mailed for you, so you can spend your time doing more important things, like cuddling your kids.

Here's hoping these tips bring you a little sanity this year! Is there anything you folks do to minimize stress during the holidays? Tell me all about it please, I welcome anything that makes my life more enjoyable!