November marks the start of the holiday season and all the stress, rushing, shopping and entertaining that comes with it. Here are a few tips for keeping the craziness from squashing your holiday spirit.

The most important thing is to make a realistic budget and stick to it. Also, budget your time. Mark your calendar with all the big stuff, but add the little stuff too. I recommend including specific grocery and gift shopping times to avoid last minute scrambling. Make lists. Even if you don’t use them, writing them down will help organize your thoughts.

Plan ahead for the person at work who unexpectedly got you something (oops!) by having a few extra gifts on hand. Avoid cluttery and gender-specific gifts, like candles, knick-knacks, and toiletries. Get creative with gift cards from locally owned businesses and activity gifts, like movie tickets.

Whether you’re hosting a meal, entertaining drop-ins or throwing something together for the company potluck – keep it simple. Google “5-minute appetizers” and “Crock Pot for potlucks,” have a few clever things in the freezer and pantry, just in case, and when hosting, remember that a few great dishes are easier to make than a zillion mediocre ones. Your friends and family want to enjoy your company, not watch you stress out in the kitchen.

While life is hectic, it’s even more important to take care of ourselves. Eat right. Keep healthy snacks handy for on-the-go days. Use that Crock Pot for easy, make-ahead dinners and make one huge salad to last a week. Exercise, sleep, drive safely and when in doubt, use Uber or Lyft.

So honor your budget, manage your time, be grateful for what you already have, choose happiness over perfection and enjoy the holiday season.

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