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Hassle-free holidays

With parties to plan, mall crowds to brave, gifts to wrap, and food to prepare, holidays can quickly turn to chaos.

By Grace Leung

Mocs Javier—mother of three, preschool teacher, and part-time party planner—believes that planning is the key to reducing the stress during the Yuletide. “A very important part of my life is to plan everything,” says Mocs.  “Everything is plotted out.” Chef Aileen Anastacio, a mother of one, couldn’t agree more. “Most of the problems during the holidays are because of lack of planning.”

Here are some quick tips from Mocs, Aileen, and other moms on how to keep your holidays less frantic.

On giving gifts

One of the earliest tasks we can attend to is buying gifts. Some schedule specific shopping days, while others buy a few items whenever they find themselves in a mall. However you choose to “go to war,” the important thing is to have a battle plan.

Make a list. Taking a few minutes to organize your gift list will pay off in terms of time, effort, and money. Make a list of recipients, gift ideas, and the stores where you can get the items. Then, allocate a specific budget. This way, you don’t waste time and energy aimlessly walking around the mall and being saddled with “cute” items that none of your friends will want to receive.

Shop during odd hours. If you’re a homemaker, a freelancer, or you work from home, take advantage of your flexible hours by going to the malls during weekdays. If your only free time is on the weekend, go in the morning, preferably as soon as the mall opens. Less people mean you don’t have to rush or spend a lot of time waiting in line. With less stress, you will be more likely to make the right purchasing decisions.

Check out bazaars. “The goods are cheaper, the prices are lower than those in department stores,” says Mocs. While bazaar items may look one-of-a-kind, make sure you scope out the other stalls first before buying. Your “find” may prove to be not so unique after all.

Bring eco-bags. Eco-bags are not only great for the environment, but they are also easier to manage than clutching plastic bags of various sizes. Choose roomy, reusable bags with wide, sturdy straps that you can stuff your purchases in.

Try online shopping. Mocs loves surfing sites like Multiply and Facebook for gift items. “Not only are a lot of the items unique and personalized,” she says, “you can do your shopping during the wee hours of the night, when the kids are asleep.” However, since most of these products are made-to-order or customized, and have to be delivered, you need to place your orders ahead of time.

Buy emergency gifts. You might have forgotten an inaanak or be told suddenly that a long-lost college friend is attending your get-together this year. Make sure you have a few generic gifts for both adults and children.

Full article featured in HealthToday’s December 2010-January 2011 issue also includes tips on how to prepare food and how to throw parties without going crazy!

Hassle-free Holidays - Health Today Philippines

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