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the Best Holiday Tips
Our team personally researched each tip, so that you have the best holiday tips right at your fingertips throughout the year.
ADHD Survival Tips
Tip #1 Help them make good decisions about gifts for family and friends and let them feel good about giving gifts and helping those in need.
Tip #2 Involve them in making decisions about what the family plans to do during the holidays and then give them responsibility to do part of it.
Tip #3 Limit the amount of advertising they are exposed to.
Tip #4 Keep them busy! Find ways to help them burn up all of that energy.
Tip #5 Give them guidelines about what to expect when they are still in school during the final days and the type of behavior you expect from them.
Autism Survival Tips
Tip #6 Take time during the holidays to explore some new movement and play. Ten seconds of jumps, break crawls, or throwing a ball can lead to a lifetime of healthy living.
Tip #7 When wrapping gifts for a child with Autism: Carefully remove the gift from it’s packaging, add the batteries, and anything else that can slow down it’s immediate usage. If possible, reapply the packaging, and wrap the gift. You’ve just made unwrapping a holiday gift stress free, not just for the child – but also for the parent. (works for any parent or child)
Tip #8 Substitute Apple Sauce for Vegetable Oil: Using apple sauce in place of oil can trim the fat and reduce calories from your favorite recipes. It works especially well in baked goods that ask for oil, helping to keep off those extra holiday pounds. For a full substitution guide, visit: TreeTop.com
Tip #9 Add a pinch of baking powder to powdered sugar homemade icing. It will help it stay moist and not crack.
Tip #10 After adding batter to your cake pans, tip slightly from side to side to level the dough and put a little on the sides of the pan. When the cake rises, it will make a flatter layer.
Tip #11 Dip your cookie cutter in slightly warm salad oil for a cleaner cut.
Tip #12 Traditional earth tones look great for both blondes and brunettes, but the holidays are time for fun and color. Choose elegant cream and frosted eye shadows to play up your eyes. Consider a darker blue hue for a “smoky” effect that will look great in pictures.
Tip #13 Nothing says holidays like the color red. The best way to display red on your face is in your lipstick. The darker the better to get you noticed. Bright red lipstick will instantly create a whiter smile, without a visit to the dentist.
Tip #14 Place a sparkly gold polish on fingers and toes. Spray a little gold glitter into your hair. For an all over gold shine, mix some liquid gold shimmer into your normal foundation. You can also add it to face cream or body lotion for a more complete look.
Tip #15 Match your makeup to the party’s dress code – fancier the clothes, the more dramatic the makeup.
Tip #16 Know what you have. If you can only spare $600, it’s better to know that before you start shopping, instead of shopping blindly per person, then attempting damage control afterward.
Tip #17 Remember non-gift expenses. Holidays expenses don’t stop at gifts. They include travel expenses, gift-wrap, tape, food, household decorations, etc. Account for these things in your budget so there are no surprises.
Charitable Giving Tips
Tip #18 Charity Stocking Stuffer Gift Cards : CharityChoice donation gift cards are unique holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. Over 250 national and hundreds of local charities to designate the funds towards. A wonderful experience for the gift-recipient, picking the causes close to their heart.
Tip #19 Dig beyond storytelling to look for evidence of results: smart donors look beyond inspirational anecdotes and seek out evidence of the overall organization.
College Break Tips
Tip #20 Begin to build a network –beyond facebook. Start at home over the holidays. This is a good time to ask friends and family how they got the jobs they have, what they have learned over the years and what advice they may have for you. Read More…
Tip #21 Think about internships! January starts a new budget for most companies, so do your research and position yourself – you just may find a paid internship. If not in January, start looking into companies or career paths you would like to explore when classes let out in May.
Tip #22 Fixing and freezing recipes is another genius way to save time during the holiday season craziness. Cookies, rolls and other baked goods as well as casseroles, side-dishes and appetizers can be made ahead so all you have to do is thaw and reheat or cook without the prep time or clean up.
Tip #23 When selecting a pumpkin for a recipe, choose a small, deep orange-colored pumpkin, that is not too soft or discolored. The smaller pumpkins have a sweeter flavor, and are much better for cooking than the big “jack-o-lantern” pumpkins.
Tip #24 Keep your grocery list year-to-year in your recipe file so you can work off of it the next year.
Tip #25 Everything doesn’t have to be homemade. I know that we advocate making your own stuff, but Marie Callender’s makes some great pies that you can pass off as homemade if you want to soothe your guilty Martha Stewart conscience. In 20 years, your kids will look fondly back on it as the best pie they ever had. Seriously, if you are making things homemade just to save money, remember that some things like candies and pies are often more expensive to make homemade,
Coping With Depression Tips
Tip #26 Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
Tip #27 Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
Tip #28 Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones.
Tip #29 Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.
Tip #30 Canning jars can simply be labeled and given as is, but you can jazz them up by cutting circles (with pinking shears) of colorful fabric somewhat larger than the lids and screwing the fabric circle under the outer ring to make a fancy hat or by trimming the lids with raffia or yarn. A more elaborate garnish is to glue beans, seeds, or spices to the lid; this works only when the trim reflects the contents of the jar.
Tip #31 Save decorative bottles and jars all year long. Many imported vinegars, oils, and condiments come packed in beautiful and unusual containers that are easily reused. It is fun to buy old containers at auctions, flea markets, and thrift shops then dress them up for holiday gifting.
Tip #32 Cookies are easily given in almost any covered container, ranging from a shoe box covered with decorative paper to reusable new or antique tins or cookie jars…. Children, of course, find homemade cookies a real treat, but they love them even more when they arrive in a special container — inexpensive sandbox toys, plastic trucks, and carrying cases all work well.
Tip #33 Thick candy canes displayed in a glass vase make a colorful statement. A silver bowl loaded with peppermints looks equally enticing.
Tip #34 Cover plain oversize Styrofoam candy canes in glitter, then wrap them in vibrant ribbons. The shape and scale add visual interest to the tree.
Tip #35 When at a party, start by eating some of the healthy offerings. For example, vegetable sticks (without dip), fruit pieces, plain chicken pieces, etc. Then move on to some of the less healthy (but yummy) offerings. You will be less likely to overindulge on these foods if you have already filled-up on some of the healthier items. Yet, you will not feel deprived or unsatisfied.
Tip #36 When presented with a large variety of food options, it’s tempting to want to eat everything. Rather than eating one large slice of chocolate cake or a huge plate of meatballs, select a sampling of bite size pieces of several of the desert or appetizer offerings. This way you get the enjoyment of trying many different foods without overeating.
Tip #37 Avoid wasting calories on alcoholic beverages. The average alcoholic drink contains 150-200 calories per glass. Indulge in just 2-3 drinks and you’ve drunk the equivalent calories of an entire meal. If you partake in these beverages, choose wisely. For example, instead of having a full glass of wine, try mixing half a glass of wine with sparkling water or with a diet cola. This will help cut your calories in half.
Family Tradition Tips
Tip #38 Traditions are more meaningful if everyone participates. But you can’t just dole out chores and expect people to help cheerfully. Think about what each person likes to do: cook a signature dish, put up decorations, pick the music, run errands, deal with the grill or fireplace.
Tip #39 Hang a new ornament in memory of a passed loved one. My brother lost his battle with cancer a few years ago. So each of us remaining brothers and sisters take turns with adding a new ornament to my parent’s tree each year. It is fun to search for an ornament based on his hobbies & interest or just to inspire us. This is how we keep him alive during the holidays.
Tip #40 Begin a yearly tradition with family and friends where you gather together for an all-day baking event. It gets especially interesting when you allow everyone a hand in decorating sugar cookies.
Tip #41 On days that you really lack motivation or simply do not have time for your complete exercise routine, commit to do just 10 minutes of exercise. You’ll probably end up doing more than that once you get started. Even if you only end up completing 10 minutes, that is still a lot better than zero minutes.
Tip #42 Exercise at home. You’ll be more inclined to follow-through on your exercise commitment if you don’t have to drive somewhere to do your workout. Plus, you won’t waste any time on driving, parking, the locker room or waiting to use equipment. Working out at home requires very little equipment (even can be equipment-free) and is quite inexpensive.
Frugal Living Tips
Tip #43 Stop eating your way into debt! Families spend literally THOUSANDS of dollars a year eating out. Add it up. You will be shocked. If you only go out once a week you will spend almost $3,000 in one year.
Tip #44 Too much stuff. Stop shopping. How many clothes do we need? We don’t need that many clothes and I buy most of our clothes at thrift stores and yard sales. Stop shopping just to have something to do.
Tip #45 Too many activities. It’s not abnormal now for people to have kids in two or three activities per week each. That’s crazy! Let them do ONE and one only. You will save money on the fees, gas driving there and eating out because you “don’t have time”. The “average” family will spend $300-$500 a month on activities for just one child.
Gift Giving Tips
Tip #46 Trust your judgment. Forget about being afraid the gift isn’t “perfect.” If you think the person will like it, chances are they will.
Tip #47 Stick to your budget. Spending more than you should takes the fun out of gift giving. There’s nothing more stressful than overspending—and feeling uneasy about it.
Tip #48 Buy it when you see it. If you’re shopping in July and see a sweater that your mother would love, buy it. It probably won’t be there when you look in December.
Tip #49 Start a gift closet. Stash a few gifts that will work in a pinch: copies of your favorite cookbook, a good bottle of wine, or boxes of beautiful note cards. That way you’ll be ready if need a gift on the spot.
Tip #50 Staple a gift receipt to the merchandise tag in case it needs to be returned or exchanged. Keep your original receipts with any warranty paperwork for the life of the warranty.
Gift Wrapping Tips
Tip #51 Embellishments – Gifts can be made special by tucking in a bit of greenery. Look for artificial leaf or pine sprigs to use on gifts.
Tip #52 Recycled Greeting Cards – Cut off the fronts of beautiful holiday cards and attach them to your gifts using double face tape. The picture on the card will dress up your gift and add a bit of color and style. Use a simple cording as ribbon.
Tip #53 Save yourself the headache: let the charity group at the mall wrap your gifts for you. This will save you a lot of time and free you up to do other things on your holiday to-do lists.
Tip #54 Cellophane Bags – Clear or printed cellophane bags (like the ones florists use for corsages) can be a lifesaver for small non-fragile gifts, candies, or baked goods. Simply insert the item into the bag (wrapped in tissue if desired) and seal the top with ribbon, raffia, cording, or a twist tie.
Green Eco-Friendly Tips
Tip #55 Cut three inches off the bottom of the Christmas tree and secure it in a stand. Place it away from heat sources in a cool location that’s out of direct sunlight. Make sure it always has plenty of water?trees can absorb as much as four quarts a day.
Tip #56 One of the simplest things to do is to decorate the house with fresh greenery from your garden. Greenery gathered from your own garden will be much fresher than any that you can buy. Just remember when gathering live greenery from your shrubs and trees you are actually pruning the plants so carefully consider which branches to cut and which ones to leave.
Tip #57 To add unique color to your decorations, attach shiny, red, and gold apples to your wreaths and garlands. Cranberries, citrus, and pomegranates also look great in holiday decorations.
Healthy Living Tips
Tip #58 Next time you have blood drawn for any reason, insist on including a Vitamin D level. Make sure it is the preferable OH-25 version that is measured. Your eventual goal is to be in the upper half of the 30-100 normal range. Read More…
Holiday Hosting Tips
Tip #59 It’s inevitable. If you’re throwing a party, you can bet each of your guests will visit the bathroom at some point. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your bathroom is clean, tidy and party-ready.
Tip #60 Plan something special. No one wants to eat the same old, same old that they eat every day at home. But don’t experiment with weird foods. You want your guests to eat the delicious meal you’ve prepared, rather than shuffle it around their plates.
Tip #61 Holiday music creates a festive atmosphere that can only enhance your special party. Spend some time putting together a holiday playlist.
Tip #62 Plan for unexpected guests. Have an extra serving or two of any item that requires per-person portioning. Be prepared to add a couple of extra place settings. If you have party favors, count for at least one or two more.
Internet Safety Tips
Tip #63 Use a credit card- with common sense. Never give out information to an individual who claims to be contacting you from a certain company without verifying their identity. Always make sure you are keeping track of the charges as they pop up on your statement and be sure to track for any fraudulent charges and transactions.
Tip #64 Use a credit card, not a debit card. Credit cards offer buyer protection against fraud and other issues and debit cards can offer a direct line into your bank account, meaning the scammer can deplete all your personal on-hand funds immediately.
Tip #65 Math anxiety often comes from trying to memorize what to do. Guide your child during the holiday break so he/she can understand the process when they return to school. You will see confidence emerging and even the abstract concepts of algebra can be understood.
Tip #66 Take time to revamp your typical schedule to include the parties, the shopping, the baking, and the HOMESCHOOLING… you can have a plan that is actually do-able.
Tip #67 Make goals that you know you can reach during this season. Revamp your regular schedule to be more realistic for the holidays. In fact, with all the traveling you may be more “roadschooling” than homeschooling anyway.
Tip #68 Create an Optimal Study Area that’s free of distractions, well lit, comfortable and encouraging. Decorate it with encouraging and colorful posters and art to stimulate your brain. Use a bulletin board, calendar or daily planner to stay organized.
Tip #69 Holiday time is perfect for family gatherings and dinners. You can build communication and self-esteem when you ask each person at the table to tell you one reason they feel good about themselves, and to select one person they love (or like at the table) and say why they appreciate that person.
Tip #70 Keep a folder of ideas and lists that you gather. Cut out photos from magazines of decorations that “wow” you. Save them in the folder. Do this for recipes too.
Tip #71 Don’t be the perfect hostess with everything done and in it’s proper place. Guests like the more casual atmosphere of a hostess that’s still involved in the preparation. They often love to help out.
Tip #72 Tone it down at office parties. Here’s the thing: even though this event may have “party” in the title, it’s still a work event, and should be treated as such. Save your binge drinking and gossip for your friend’s holiday gathering instead. Think of this as an extended work meeting. Period. Commit ahead of time to have 2 drinks maximum.
Tip #73 Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Spoil your diet by doing some snacking if you’re going to be drinking.
Tip #74 Don’t get matchy matchy. Just say no to the khakis and the same color shirt. Try to keep everything in the same color family, but don’t stress about it.
Tip #75 Let personalities shine through. If your teen isn’t interested in posing, capture them doing something they love in their everyday environment.
Tip #76 Think twice before posting about your trip on facebook unless you know everyone on your friends list very well, it’s not a good idea to have your whereabouts posted online anywhere. Chances are you’ve accepted a “friend” request from a former work colleague or someone you met briefly at a party, etc. It’s best to keep the details of your trip private until you’ve returned.
Tip #77 When parking in a large parking lot, make sure to keep all items in the trunk of the car and out of sight. It also helps to park near a light if you know you it will be dark by the time you are done. Mentally locate the nearest security office or officers in case an emergency occurs you can easily track down appropriate personnel.
Tip #78 Be vigilant. Make sure to stash your cash in a safe place within a wallet while shopping. When paying with cash at the register, only pull out of your wallet what the amount totals, not the entire stash. This also applies to personal items you carry through the stores, including shopping bags and purses.
Tip #79 Shop safely! Watch your personal belongings at all times including handbags and purchases. The stores are not responsible for any lost items so be careful, especially at the register when you can get easily distracted by the transaction itself.
Tip #80 Shop after 6:00 p.m. the evening before a sale is advertised to begin. Many retailers program the registers the night before, so the sale may already come up in the register even if they have not changed out signs on the selling floor yet.
Tip #81 Ask the associate in advance for any possible upcoming sales, especially on big ticket items.
Tip #82 Prepare a list to use while you are shopping. Make sure to include alternative selections in case you are unable to find some of the items on your list.
Tip #83 Avoid crowds by shopping during stores’ early and late extended hours.
Tip #84 If you are looking for specific advertised items, take the complete ad with you so that you don’t end up in the wrong store looking for a specific price.
Single Parenting Tips
Tip #85 Don’t Make Your Kids Choose. This one is absolutely essential. It can be tempting to ask the kids where they want to be, but resist at all costs.
Tip #86 It’s Tempting, But Never Split the Holiday. You’ll be tempted to “split the holiday” if you live close by each other. YouR kids will be taken away from their new toys and everyone will spend time getting to places. Make it easier on your kids and accept that you won’t see them every year.
Tip #87 Make sure and coordinate gift giving with your ex. Your kids will ask for the same stuff from both of you, and if you don’t want them to get two Elmo Lives and no WALL-E Robot. This one is easy to do by email. Along the same line, don’t try to compete by giving expensive gifts – it will backfire a million times.
Tip #88 Take Pictures! They’ll remember what’s in the pictures. This might sound trivial, but take alot of pictures when you are with your kids. You could even make them an album of the holiday. You’ll never be sure if it’s for them or you, but do it anyway.
Tip #89 Build a Seasonal Tradition. Remember that Christmas is a season, not just a day. The more pressure you put on celebrating on an actual day, the more likely you are to be stressed out. Pick something special for the weekends you have them in December, and do it every year so that it becomes “your” holiday tradition.
Stress Relief Tips
Tip #90 Do a few things well – Instead of trying to do everything and ending up depressed with how it all turns out, focus your energy on a couple of things that are the most important to you. If you stick to doing a few things well, you can truly relax and enjoy the season with your family.
Tip #91 Don’t commit to do too many things. One or two parties during the holiday season will make you get all tingly in that “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of way.
Thank-You Note Tips
Tip #92 Write thank-you notes as soon as possible, preferably within two or three days. The sooner you write it, the easier it is. Write the note as if you were speaking with the person. Keep it short and sweet. Personalize the note with the gift and giver. Focus on the positive and don’t mention any dissatisfaction with the gift.
Tipping Etiquette Tips
Tip #93 Tip the Baby Sitter: One to two nights’ pay is about right for a baby sitter you’ve used frequently throughout the year or for last-minute emergencies,
Tip #94 Tip your regular dog walker up to a week’s pay.
Tip #95 Tip the Hairstylist: The normal cost of a visit would be a nice tip for a stylist you see regularly. If you don’t require as much attention from your stylist or barber, you may prefer to give about $20 as a tip during your December visit.
Tip #96 The U.S. Postal Service forbids mail carriers from accepting cash, and says gifts must be under $20 in value. A gift card or a basket of fruit, nuts or chocolates that could serve as an off-duty snack is acceptable
Tip #97 Consider giving $10 to $30 to your Newspaper Delivery Person, unless you tip regularly throughout the year. Then, you can give a smaller gift of a few dollars.
Tip #98 You should tip each of your trash or recycling collectors $10 to $30. You can hand them the envelope directly when they make their rounds during holiday season. But first check on the rules for your municipality. Some jurisdictions forbid workers from accepting cash.
Tip #99 If you are flying ‘Hold Off’ On the gift wrapping: Don’t wrap presents – unless they’re in a gift bag. TSA might need to open them early.
Tip #100 Make a “goody bag” for each child that contain a variety of activities and a few nonperishable snacks and beverages. Include toys that are inexpensive and would not be missed if lost, crayons, activity booklets, etc.
Tip #101 Bring a small journal on the road as a catch all. Travel journals aren’t just for writing; they are a great way to capture, store and display those little mementos and keepsakes you collect on a trip that may be just as meaningful as your gift shop purchases. Think: address cards, matchbooks, receipts from memorable meals, museum tickets, etc. You can also jot down notes you’d like to remember.