(StatePoint) With the holidays comes stress. The shopping, cooking, preparing and cleaning before and after guests are all part of the “joy” of the season. But there are a number of easy ways to save time during the holidays and better enjoy the company of friends and family.
Home Prep and Cleaning
With all the cooking and guests visiting, the holidays can get quite messy. These tips can help you keep the mess under control:
• Scrub. Cooking, stovetops and ovens are bound to get dirty. Make a simple scouring solution using baking soda and water to help scrub off any baked-on grime.
• Get extra laundry done quickly. Large capacity appliances, like the new GE topload washer, make it more convenient to do extra laundry from your guests. With the largest agitator capacity on the market at 4.2 cu. ft., these new ENERGY STAR washers allow you to do fewer loads of laundry with less time and hassle.
• Pack things up. Do some pre-holiday cleaning to store away or get rid of extra clutter in your home. Less clutter means less to clean up after your visitors leave.
Gift Planning and Purchasing
Whether you’re a shopping mall veteran or an online shopping maven, gift-buying can be time consuming either way. Streamline with these strategies:
• Make gift lists. List who you need to buy gifts for, your gift ideas for each person and a back-up idea in case you can’t find what you were originally looking for.
• Shop online. Stores can get hectic during the holidays, even if it’s not Black Friday. Oftentimes you’ll find that online stores have the same or similar offers as their brick-and-mortar alternative.
• Prepare for an emergency. Plan ahead and buy some extra cards and small gifts for when you’re in need of a last-minute gift.
For tasty and easy holiday meals, remember these three guidelines:
• The freezer is your friend. Any foods that will withstand freezing and thawing can be made weeks in advance, allowing you to spend holiday time mingling with guests and preparing dishes that can’t be made ahead of time.
• Stick to the tried and true. If you want to introduce a new dish during the holidays, make sure you have a few test runs of it under your belt before its big debut. Otherwise, use recipes you know will turn out great.
• Say “yes” to guests. If your guests offer to bring something, don’t turn them away. Even something simple, like a bottle of wine, is one less thing worry for you.
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, but you can make sure that preparation is less time-consuming and less stressful so you can spend more time with friends and family.