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Life and living: Holiday hacks

’Tis the time of year when life starts to get a little hectic with highly anticipated holidays you want to cherish with family, friends and colleagues. Instead of breaking the bank, stressing over what needs to be done and not enjoying the time we have to celebrate with loved ones, let’s simplify and save. Here are several shortcuts to help you save time and money, so you can stress less about the holiday season. 

Gifts 

  • Make a list of who will receive gifts 

  • Institute a “no-presents pact” for adults 

  • Host a gift exchange (e.g., Secret Santa) and set a spending limit 

  • Outsource shopping and gift wrapping 

Hosting 

  • Provide the main dish and ask guests to bring appetizers, sides, desserts and drinks 

  • Keep things casual with no strict dress codes 

  • Order a meal from a local restaurant, complete with all the holiday trimmings 

Shopping 

  • Set a budget—and then stick to it 

  • Use cash to stay on budget 

  • Start early and take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals 

  • Shop online to avoid last-minute purchases at an in-store register 

  • Use cashback apps like Ibotta or Rakuten 

Décor 

  • Use what you have 

  • Wait until the week of Christmas to buy a tree 

  • Take advantage of post-holiday sales to purchase new décor for next year 

  • Set up Christmas tree delivery and pickup 

Travel 

  • Book travel far in advance and opt for the early flights 

  • Use rewards points whenever possible 

  • Try to pack everything in a carry-on bag to skip the baggage fees 

Entertainment 

  • Snuggle up on the sofa and stream holiday movies 

  • Drive around the neighborhood with hot chocolate to look at lights 

Most importantly, remember that the holidays are a time to celebrate and be with loved ones. Don’t aim for perfection—rather, focus on remaining in and soaking up the experience of the holiday season. 

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