- Set the budget and gift list before you shop. Eliminate aimless shopping excursions by organizing gift lists by category (clothing, electronics, toys), so you'll only have to make one trip to each store. You can also encourage friends and family to set up wish lists with their favorite online retailers. These services, which work just like wedding registries, are especially helpful for long-distance gift exchanges.
- Less is more. This doesn't mean skimp. But simple decorations can speak volumes more than a room crowded with all kinds of knick-knacks. And a few special treats is all you need to showcase your hospitality and holiday spirit.
- Drink up. 'Tis the season for eggnog and spirits. But don't forget water. Alcohol is dehydrating, which can cause you to function at less than your best. Always keep a glass or pitcher of water on your desk or kitchen counter, and make sure to alternate every alcoholic drink with a tall glass of plain or sparkling water.
- Strategize gift-wrapping. Wrap presents early, but add ribbons and tags later. Sticky notes are a great way to label gifts so you don't forget who gets what. And unadorned boxes are stackable and easy to store and transport.
- Prep for the unexpected. Chances are you'll need some last-minute gifts, either for an unannounced guest or for that last-minute get-together. Keep a few items on hand for such an occasion. Jars of preserves, beautifully wrapped soaps and bottles of wine are gifts that would appeal to almost everyone.
By planning ahead, you'll have much more time to enjoy the holidays. So lower your shoulders, take a deep breath and rediscover the most wonderful time of the year.
This article first appeared in the October 2014 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.