Holidays & Entertaining

How to de-stress before Christmas arrives

If the mall is “beginning to look a lot like Christmas” and you’re hearing “Jingle Bells” on the radio, you know “the most wonderful time of the year” is just around the corner. And though you’re always given advance warning of the festive season, somehow you always end up stretched for time – running from store to store at the last minute, stuffing all your unmentionables in the closet before your party guests arrive, and feigning attentiveness at your children’s school musical.

This year, make the most of November by planning ahead. Here are a few things you can do this month to save yourself some stress so you can enjoy the season.

• Clean up and de-clutter. If you’re expecting a smorgasbord of visitors over the holidays, November is a good time to rid your house of dust mites and clear your living room of the last year’s worth of clutter. Don’t forget to use disinfectant on doorknobs and countertops – cold and flu season is on its way.

• Try out new recipes. Now is the time to perfect a recipe you’ve always wanted to try so you’ll have something to “wow” party guests at the Christmas potluck.

• Write your greeting cards. Sending a card in the mail to a long-distance friend is a thoughtful gesture that shows you care. It may seem too early to write your cards now, but it will pay off when you’re too busy to do them later.

• Hit the mall or shop virtually. Take advantage of the smaller crowds this month or better yet, avoid them by shopping from the comfort of your home. Keep an eye out for free shipping deals and special online buys. Or if you plan to go to the mall, check local flyers for coupons.

• Consider alternative gifts. Find out what your friend or loved one is passionate about and make an online gift in their name to a charity that supports that passion. For example, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada offers gifts that provide food, education, training, medical help, and business loans to impoverished children and their families around the world. The charity also lets you mail a card to your loved one to show them how they have made a difference. More information is available online at

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