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Your Stress-Free Holiday Starts Here

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Your Social Schedule

Entertain in simple style. Repeat after us: You don't have to go all out to have a good time. Pick up a tray of cookies and an assortment of cakes and pastries. Cut them into bite-size pieces and you've got an instant dessert buffet, suggests entertaining expert Wade Williams. For fun, buy an inexpensive game table from a discount store and challenge your friends to Ping-Pong or pool, says designer and entertaining expert Cynthia Rowley, coauthor of the Swell series of books. Bonus: You can use the table for games year-round. Playing counts as exercise!

Host an open house. If you can't limit your guest list to your BFF, host a casual, inexpensive open house instead of a formal gathering. Make some eggnog or punch, serve cheese and fruit, and invite people to drop by anytime between, say, 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Ask everyone to bring a dish, and you'll be guaranteed to have plenty of food all party long -- with minimal work for you.

Plan ahead. When you're invited to someone else's party, RSVP as soon as the invitation arrives. "Procrastination only causes more stress," says Meryl Starr, author of The Personal Organizing Workbook. Then think about what you want to wear, and write it down on the invite. "This helps you avoid that scene where you're stressed and your husband's calling you downstairs and your shoes are all wrong," she says. If the party's at a place you've never been to, MapQuest the directions and attach them to the invitation now, rather than risk getting lost later.

Make a quick escape. If you must attend an event you're dreading, Starr says to drop by for 30 minutes or so. "Say hello to everyone and then explain that you have to go to another party," she says. "It doesn't matter how long you were there, just that you showed up."

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maasshelga wrote:

On Christmas Eve our family looks forward to get together at our house. Our three granddaughters come earlier and visit with each other while they finish decorating the indoor Christmas tree, are having fun carrying all our gifts from where they were stored to the tree. Then they help sett the tables with the holiday china, which gives me time to finish the last minute touches to the cooking before the rest of the family arrives. This way we work together and are having fun, too.

12/6/2009 07:18:57 PM Report Abuse
veggiedogs wrote:

Gifts turn into a simple craft for occupying kids too. Have them decorate butcher paper with markers or stickers. They love to give gifts featuring 'their' giftwrap designs.

12/6/2009 12:50:24 PM Report Abuse
bigrugger wrote:

my family always enjoyed wrapping gifts in the comic section from the newspaper (especially Sunday's which came in color)

12/6/2009 10:50:09 AM Report Abuse
beth7cam wrote:

Good ideas

10/24/2009 09:07:36 AM Report Abuse

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