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5 Tips to Simplify Christmas

  1. Christmas Cards:

    To save time year after year, save all Christmas cards received and start an electronic database on your computer. Then print out all address labels and use pinking shears or decorative scissors to cut the labels out into charming shapes to place on your Christmas card envelopes from now on! Makes it so much easier! Consider inviting friends over to 'CARD POOL' and address cards together with some wine and cheese and music for a good time to get in the holiday spirit.

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  2. Gift Wrapping:

    Save and use maps, patterns, sheet music, comic strips or even wallpaper or fabric to wrap your gifts. We use brown kraft paper and draw or stamp holiday designs, paw prints or babies hand prints on to it to personalize it. Some folks add a copy of a photo as their name tags (which is cute especially so kids can hand out gifts).

    You may decorate a simple wrap with pine or holly sprigs or pine cones and tie it up with rustic twine, yarn or inexpensive white and red string for a natural looking gift wrapping.

    Remember to shred used wrapping paper for stuffing boxes or baskets. So pretty! If mailing a gift you may use newspaper shredded if needed rather than buying packing peanuts in some cases!

  3. Gift Giving:

    Gift cards are great but I always like to pair them with something. A home improvement store card could be inserted in a pair of work or gardening gloves; a nursery coupon placed in a potted plant. Also consider getting a gift card at their favorite hair stylists (you know they'll appreciate it sooner or later) gas station, grocer or (my personal favorite) a bookstore, since ANY topic/hobby can be found there!

    There are also Entertainment books for every area and they usually offer great BOGO deals. For young families, going out is an expense they can't afford. You might even offer to babysit so they can have a date together to use their coupons.

    For young or old, a membership to a museum for the year gets them a free pass to interesting entertainment, or you can give tickets to concerts, screenings, favorite restaurant or a club they like (gym, fitness, yoga, spa, etc) and sites like Groupon and Living Social offer great deals for events and products!

  4. Unexpected Company:

    Keep some practical spare gifts on the side just in case you need one for an unexpected guest! I have a few generic 'go to' gifts; several jars of local jelly, jam, maple syrup or honey with a simple square of fabric tied to the top of each jar looks good. Or a bar or two of beautifully hand decorated soap or even bottles of wine. If you don't use them for guests, you could still use them after the holidays!

  5. Decorating:

    As my photo shows, I really like to create decorations using mostly natural items that I find in our rural community all year. It fits so well with our old home. They are beautiful, natural and free and recyclable!

Lastly, remember that this is a holiday is an entire season and not just one day. Don't try to do everything at once and lose the magic of this season. Take time to enjoy your precious loved ones who make the holidays special for you and remember to be grateful you have them!

I hope you can find at least one new idea out of all these ideas to enhance your holiday this year!Happy Holidays to all!

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