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Here are some handy tips you might can use to stay organized and destressed for the holidays no matter how large or small you family or budget.

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Snowy Lamp Post Christmas Card
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Sweet Holiday Gingerbread Man Label Round Sticker
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Gingerbread Man Keepsake Ornament
Gingerbread Man Keepsake Ornament

1. Shop for Photo Cards Online. Use an online service to design your very own personalized photo greeting cards. Try out Zazzle, Snapfish, Smilebox for starters.

2. Give a Gift Card or Gift Certificate. You can purchase national brand gift cards at local stores, or you can order gift cards online.

Get creative and call local businesses where your recipient lives and see what types of gift certificate offers they have available. You can order over the phone and have it sent to you or directly to the recipient.

3. Fill out your mail handling requests online or leave the form for your letter carrier. If you'll be away for the holidays - or any reason - you can make arrangements online to have your mail held at the post office until you return home. No more driving to the post office to get a delivery service form then standing in line. If you do have some forms, fill one out and leave it in your mail box for your letter carrier. You don't have to deliver the form in person.

4. Give cash or send monetary gifts using online services. PayPal, WorldPay and other reliable services make safely sending money easy - you can send cash to anyone with an email address.

5. Give a magazine subscription. If you know your recipient will love a monthy copy of a special publication, order a subscription online or over the phone. There are dozens of offers for magazine subscriptions through online stores; just browse for the ones you like and order through their site.

Magazine Mall, Inc., through an affiliation with the United States Postal Service, offers you thousands of magazines at savings of up to 85% off retail prices. They claim to meet or beat all prices.

6. Shop online - up to the day before, and have it delivered for free. If you have a favorite online shopping site, check it out to see what they're offering to last-minute shoppers. The closer it gets to the holiday the better the prices and shipping arrangements usually get. Online shopping is very competitive and retailers wil go the extra mile to get your attention and your business.

7. Reconsider email and special offers from your favorite retail stores. Retailers compete heavily in the months before the holiday and they ramp up the deals in your favor the closer it gets to the big day. Don't ignore every email message they send you. Visit their web sites for unadvertised coupons, specials and shipping deals.

8. Don't cook - delegate. Plan a pot luck dinner or visit a caterer. Spread responsibility for the menu around to family members and guests.

Assign each household one item from your menu. If you can't delegate, try to order basics from a catering service, your local grocery store or favorite deli or bakery. If you live near a local farmers market, take advantage of the pre-made foods you can buy there. Just like home cooking without all the work.

9. Shop for groceries early in the week or very late at night. Don't plan to go to the market on a Friday at 5pm or on a Saturday. Visit your favorite store early in the week, when most of the customers will be senior citizens who shop when the stores are relatively quiet.

Try to shop during off-peak hours; if your store stays open round the clock, try shopping at 11pm or 5am and avoid crowds and waiting in line.

10. Ask for help and ideas. Ask family members, social connections, coworkers or neighbors for ideas how to finish last minute shopping and cooking without going nuts. Brainstorm with a buddy online or over the phone for ideas on how to save time and money on last minute holiday tasks.


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