The holiday season is one of the busiest of the year. There so much shopping, partying, and caroling, and all that merriment can add up to stress. Kerry Colburn, author of Mama’s Big Book of Little Lifesavers, is a parenting expert with plenty of holiday time, money, and sanity savers for parents. With her advice, busy parents will be able to successfully navigate the ups and downs of the holiday season.
Take a peek at Kerry’s tips below, and leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of Mama’s Big Book of Little Lifesavers! We’ll choose a winner on Wednesday, November 30, 2011.
*Kids often receive gifts from far-flung relatives that may not be quite right for them—and they cost a fortune to mail. Instead, ask grandparents and others for a membership to a family-friendly attraction, like the zoo, aquarium, museum, or science center. Their shopping is a breeze and you get free outings for the whole family, all year long!
*If you have a baby or small child, resist buying her Christmas gifts. She’ll already be overwhelmed by presents from friends and family and won’t know the difference—plus you can save the cash for a surprise gift on a dull, rainy day in February.
*Start a tradition of a holiday potluck with another family or two that includes a toy/book/game swap. It’s a great way to recycle unused items and get a fresh supply of new stuff.
*Enlist your child to make your holiday cards, wrap, and thank-you notes, rather than buying them. A simple roll of butcher paper and a variety of markers (which you probably already have on hand) makes for terrific gift wrap.
*Stock up on seasonal stickers and other art supplies right after the holidays at close-out prices. (Kids simply don’t care if they’re using reindeer rubber stamps in January.) Same goes for holiday décor like lights and ornaments. Shop the sales, box it up, and next year it will seem brand-new at a fraction of the price.
*During pre- and post-holiday sales, pick up several extras of a favorite toy, book or doll. Keep these on hand for birthday parties for the rest of the year and skip the last-minute run-around.
*Order online from indie retail sites like Etsy.com or Powells.com, and if your child is old enough, let him or her help you select gifts for others. It beats schlepping the kids to the mall any day.
*All parents battle clutter, and holiday time is a great time to get rid of the old. Start a tradition with your kids that for every item on their Christmas list, one old toy (or more!) must be donated to someone in need. You may want to include them in the donation process so they experience firsthand what it means to give to others.
*If you’re short on space, create a holiday wrapping station by putting rolls of paper, tape, scissors, ribbon and gift cards in an old garment bag, and hang it in your closet. It stays out of sight and is ready to go when you need it.
*Going crazy finding a place to hide the Santa gifts from curious kids? Zip them up inside your luggage.
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