They are on their way!  And they seem to arrive faster and faster each year!  And as my family has grown, I have learning some helpful things that make it a little easier for me!  So, in the interest of just plain old fun, I thought I would share some tips to help make the Holidays easier on us busy, over worked Moms!

1)  Shop all year round!  I have learned that there are deals and coupons and freebies all year round.  And that some of the best deals are not around holiday time at all.  So I have started to stockpile for gifting!  My kids do not need every single items that I purchase the minute that that I buy it!  I have a nice little starter pile going already!

2)  Save your gift cards!  Throughout the year, we get gift cards for certain things.  My birthday, my husband’s birthday, kid’s birthdays and so on.  I also get cards for credit card points, rebates on purchases and more.  And because we all pretty much get what we need when we need it, I save them.  I have almost $400 in gift cards that I have stashed to use this year!  That will make a huge difference come last minute shopping time!

3)  Think about your Holiday Caards  and order early!  A lot of companies are already releasing their Holiday card collections and this is the perfect time to start thinking ahead to how and what you want your card to look like!  Check out these fabulous cards on!  I like because they have unique and stylish cards all year round that are fun and easy to make!  The earlier you order, the sooner you get them and have them ready to mail!

4)  Plan bulk gifts!  I have neighbors, teachers, and some family that I simply can not afford to purchase for individually.  So, I play a basket or something that I can buy the items in bulk, preferably on sale, and hand out to them all.  One year, I did a cookie kit basket.  Some inexpensive cookie cutters, free cookie dough with coupons from the store, a few cookie recipes printed off the computer and done!  I did 8 baskets for less than $30 and they all LOVED them!

5)  Get the kids involved!  There is no time like the present to start making ornaments or Christmas place mats and towels!  One idea is to cut out a tree from a large piece of construction paper.  Let the kids do hand prints for the ornaments and star on top!  And then paste little bows on the tree, plus glitter and whatever else you can think of to make them their tree!  

6)  Use your saved items to decorate!  We get a lot of gifts from our very generous friends on birthdays.  They also include easily reusable bags and tissue paper.  If I can even sort of make them fit for Christmas colors, I use them to wrap.  Easy and free and a reusable resource!

7)  Start practicing your meals menus now!  Certainly don’t go out and make your entire Holiday dinner all at once!  But spruce up your side dishes by adding them into your nightly meals now!  I can not stand when I get to the big events and I can not remember a step or forget an ingredient at the store and have to go back.  Jogging my memory now can really help!

8)  Consider No -bake desert options this year!  I love love love just mixing and going!  Check out your favorite recipe blogs and start collecting them now!  There are some amazing cookies, desert bars and more that are just mix and set.  They are just as good as anything else and are a super huge time saver!

9)  Involve your spouse or significant other.  I can not tell you how many years I get down to the last minute and am wrapping until 4am just to get it done.  It happens, even with the best plans.  I learned last year that my husband can wrap gifts.  They may not be perfect, but they are done!  So let them help!

10)  RELAX!  The Holidays have gotten so stressful and demanding on us.  The commercialism adds pressure that can sometimes over shadow the main point.  Forgetting a gift, batteries, the rolls at dinner and more has never ruined a Christmas that I can think of.  Try to remember that is is YOUR holiday season too and that you deserve to put your feet up with a nice cup of hot cocoa too.  MAKE yourself spend time with the ones you love most…  those memories will last a lot longer!

In the end, no matter what we do, the stress of the Holiday season can get to us!  But putting it all into perspective and planning ahead can certainly make it easier on us all!

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**I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine. Please see my disclaimers page for more information.**