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A Little Holiday Entertainment Planning Goes Long WayWe have all heard this our entire lives: plan ahead. It's actually a good idea at any time of year, but in this run up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, this is a good time to look to the little things so they don't become big things. Here are some examples:

 

A woman with a handful of packages.

Shipping Christmas PresentsDue to the current state of things, more people will be staying put this holiday season rather than traveling to see family. If you do not usually ship gifts, you may want to consider it this year. The post office offers priority flat rate boxes that only cost $8-20 depending on the size of the box.

 

A tree shaped photo of kids up a staircase.

Family Christmas TreeIn our big family, we have our annual Thanksgiving on the "weekend before the holiday, so all our kids are not running between families on Thanksgiving Day. During our day we have a time when we draw names for Christmas grabs between the children and this picture just made itself.

 

A premade calzone ready for the freezer.

Preparing Ahead for a Christmas PartyI am very organized. Not bragging at all. I come from a very large family and I am very used to having very large holiday dinners. I'm also good at finding many short-cuts to make my life easier.

 

Golden bells on a sparkling background.

Start Preparing for Christmas in JanuaryChristmas is one of the best times of the year; spending quality time with family and friends; sharing some hearty meals and building new memories. Unfortunately it is also one of the most expensive times of the year, a time that could leave your budget in a complete mess.

 

Photo wish list.

Making a Photo Christmas Wish ListSometimes when you are telling family members what you would like for Christmas, there is confusion. I know that sometimes when I am buying for someone, I wonder "is this the right item?"

 

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Keeping Track Of Christmas Purchases Year RoundI shop year round for Christmas gifts. Many a time, I have forgotten where I put the items by the time the holiday arrived. I now have a foolproof tip.

 

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Stress Free ChristmasChristmas is a time which cause many people to be stressed about money. Let's face it, it's way over the top. So here is how I cut my Christmas gift list to 4 gifts (yes, 4).

 

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Shop For Christmas During Back To SchoolThis may sound really crazy to a lot of people but I have a way of saving money at Christmas time that is unique. In August when the kids go back to school, our state has a no tax weekend for school supplies and other school related items.

 

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Start Buying Christmas Gifts In The FallMy husband was surprised that I had started to buy little Christmas gifts before Halloween! But there are so many people we would like to give little gifts to at church, work and so on. So I start to shop around for Christmas gifts in the fall.

 

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Take Time To Plan For The Holidays NowHere's an idea: Take a few hours one day very soon to sit down with a tall glass of lemonade or ice tea and make a written plan for the upcoming holidays.

 

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Preparing Christmas Eve Meal Ahead of TimeI like to prepare my Christmas Eve meal ahead of time so that I can enjoy the time with my family. I make a double batch of a pasta dish---like lasagna, stuffed shells, baked ziti or even homemade macaroni and cheese a day ahead or even earlier and freeze it...

 

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