Navigating the Holidays with Ease
The holiday season has come fast and has caught many of us off guard, but we need not fret because it’s still early enough to shop and plan without getting entangled with the chaos that seems synonymous with the holidays. Below, Real Simple provides seven tips to reduce holiday stress and save money. Following the tips are books provided by the Birmingham Public Library that will also help us navigate the holidays with class and ease so that we can celebrate and embrace them for what they mean to us without the distractions of stress.
1. Make a List
Write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend.
2. Start Early
Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start buying holiday gifts. Keep your eyes open all year round for items friends and family would like.
3. Do Online Research
If you’re unsure of which specific item to buy, search for reputable online reviews.
4. Hit Up Black Friday (If You Dare)
If you’re looking for great deals and aren’t afraid of battling large crowds, the day after Thanksgiving is a shopping must. Get a head start on fellow shoppers by checking a website like Blackfriday.org before the big day.
5. Take Advantage of Cyber Monday
A spin-off of Black Friday that debuted in 2005, Cyber Monday is reputedly the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season—and accordingly, many online retailers will offer special discounts on their products. It takes place the Monday after Black Friday, though you can find online bargains all year long at Cybermonday.com, the official Cyber Monday website. On the actual day, the site will feature extra discounts and hourly specials to further entice online shoppers. To stay even more in the know during the holidays, sign up to receive emails from your favorite stores to get advance notice about sales and insider-only deals.
6. No-Cost Holiday Shipping
More than 1,000 online merchants, like Best Buy and L.L.Bean, will offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve. (Go to freeshippingday.com for details.)
7. Do It Yourself
If you’re creatively inclined, avoid mall madness altogether and bake a batch of cookies, sew personalized tote bags, or make beautiful earrings for friends and family.
Debt-proof Your Christmas: Celebrating the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank by Mary Hunt
Holiday Blues: Rediscovering the Art of Celebration by Herbert Rappaport
Saving Dinner for the Holidays: Menus, Recipes, Shopping Lists, and Timelines for Spectacular, Stress-free Holidays and Family Celebrations by Leanne Ely
Classic Crafts and Recipes for the Holidays by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living
Submitted by Karnecia Williams