Simplifying The Holidays: Holiday Hacks

christmas-branch.jpgFrom our very first e-mail -- back when I was just starting out and she was very much established already -- Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks has always amazed me with her warmth and openness. Asha is funny and smart and clever and I just adore her; I only regret that neither of our scheduled in real life event meet ups this year have worked out. The good news is that Asha is so effective at translating her warmth and smarts online, which is what makes Parent Hacks so great (and gives me my Asha fix in absentia). I’m thrilled that today, for the eighth installment of my Simplifying the Holidays guest blog series, Asha shares her favorite holiday hacks; a useful mantra plus tips for maintaining your merry and bright this holiday season.

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From Asha:

I'll put this out there right up front: I'm perplexed by "holiday stress." Stress? Because of a holiday? Now I'm not 100% Pollyanna; I get that this time of year is fraught with family politics and time/money pressures, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the stress caused by too many party invitations, or sub-par decorations, or last-minute shopping, or getting just the right tree, or cooking just the right food, or wearing just the right outfit. Are these things really worthy of your stress?

I submit to you my number one holiday hack: Be kind to yourself. You and your family deserve this time to rejoice. You have worked hard all year -- in your jobs, in your homes, raising your kids -- and you deserve a break. Go only to those parties filled with the people you want to see, and politely decline the rest. Keep the decor and the food simple, and let the company make it special. Do those things -- and only those things -- that make the holidays happy for you and your family. Then sit back and relax with some egg nog.

And now for some of my favorite holiday hacks, all submitted by the very smart readers of Parent Hacks:

  • How to buy gifts for young kids when they're always with you at the store.

  • How to organize a holiday gift for your kid's teacher.

  • Simplify shopping with kids by taking pictures for the "wish list."

  • Number the gifts under the tree to keep the kids guessing which ones are theirs.

  • On Christmas Eve, let Santa take away the old toys, too.

  • How to involve your kids in Christmas tree cleanup.

  • Skip time-consuming return lines; donate unwanted gifts instead.

    Have a wonderful holiday. You've earned it!

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    Asha Dornfest is the founder and editor of Parent Hacks, a site that has been described as "McGyver meets parenting." She's also one of the moms of Momversation -- the twice-weekly video show that brings together outspoken mom bloggers to talk about what matters most to them. You can follow Asha on Twitter at @parenthacks.

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