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Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Guest Posts | 0 comments

5 Holiday Survival Tips

Some people look forward to the winter holiday season all year, while others dread it. Regardless of which you are, there are parties to plan and attend, feasts to prepare, places to travel, and a plethora of gifts to buy. Stress levels can rage, and your health and bankbook can take a serious beating. To minimize the hurt and maximize the joy (which is supposed to be what the holidays are all about), make these five tips part of your holiday routine:

1. Make Dinners Potluck

Preparing a huge dinner all by yourself can be a major time and money drain. Instead, make group dinners potluck. Your guests can enjoy a wide range of fare and you don’t have to worry about pleasing them all. This is also a great opportunity for guests to share a favorite holiday or family dish. Just make sure to organize your efforts, so you don’t end up with four pans of green bean casserole.

2. Plan Black Friday Shopping

If your plan is to wake up at 4am on Black Friday and haphazardly visit every retailer, bring the Advil. Before you go out, research online exactly what you want to buy from each store and plan your driving route instead. Also, plan to take a friend along and aim to visit stores with the best deals in the shortest period of time. If a store is open on Thanksgiving, consider shopping then. This offers a convenient escape if you have irritating relatives in town.

3. Shop Online

Better yet, research online deals and start shopping now. Last year, I checked off my entire gift list by shopping online and never set foot inside a retail store. If you’re worried about shipping fees, they’re often waived after you reach a certain purchase level. Alternatively, search online for free shipping discount codes before you purchase.

4. Consider Gift Cards

If you have someone on your “impossible to buy for” list, keep it simple and give a gift card. Find out where they shop or what they buy for themselves and purchase accordingly. Keep in mind that gift cards are also great solutions for last-minute shopping. In fact, many retailers offer e-gift card options, which means once you purchase and specify the email of the recipient, you’re done.

5. Get Some Exercise

Most people forget exercise during the holidays, which is unfortunate as exercise naturally helps reduce stress and burns off holiday calories. To get yourself in the right frame of mind before a full day of shopping, consider a visit to your gym or even a walk around the block before you venture out. If some silly family argument crops up, take a stroll around your neighborhood until things cool off. Exercising is just as good for your mind as it is for your body.

Final Thoughts

The holidays are a time for enjoyment, not stress. If the guy behind the counter gives you a hard time, kill him with kindness. If you can’t find the right gift for someone, don’t worry about it. So many of us get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays that we forget what they’re really all about. Here’s a reminder: The holidays are about being grateful for what you have and sharing your gratitude with others. Keep this in mind and make this holiday season one to remember.

How do you minimize stress during the holidays?

Guest blogger David Bakke is a Savings.com DealPro and is a contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance, a website that strives to educate individuals in making wise choices about credit, debt, spending and more.

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