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Top Ten for a Terrific Holiday Season

Use the Joy Filter for decision-making.

If someone invites you to something ask yourself, "Will this add joy to my life?" If not, decline. You don’t have to go to every single holiday party you are invited to. Stop sending holiday cards unless you love to do it. It is a pleasure to receive a personal card, but why bother sending a rubber-stamped, printed signature card? Just pick ten people who are special to you and send them a hand-written card. Do only what you find joyful and you are guaranteed a terrific holiday season!

Forgive and make amends.

If someone has done something that hurt you, now is the time to call and forgive them. If you have done anything hurtful or damaging to another, make amends even if it wasn’t intentional. Call or write the people you may have offended, apologize and ask them how you can make it up to them. If you wore your friend’s favorite sweater and then spilled catsup on it, it isn’t enough to say "I’m terribly sorry." Buy a new sweater and apologize! You will feel much happier immediately!

Get the whole family involved.

Have your kids address the Christmas or Chanukah cards. Have everyone coming to dinner bring in a dish. Let the kids make the ornaments and bake the cookies. The holiday preparations can be a burden if you are doing everything by yourself, but lots of fun when everyone pitches in.

Take time for yourself every day.

Many people get depressed during the holidays. This year just make sure that every single day you have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be something big and expensive. It can be a hot bath, a new magazine or a phone call to a friend. Most people get so busy in the holidays that they forget to enjoy themselves. If you always go to the gym and work out, don’t quit just because it is the holidays.

Keep your perspective.

Go with flow. Everything isn’t going to go according to plan so don’t get your hair in a net if cousin Jean doesn’t like her gift or Uncle Carl didn’t remember to send you a Christmas card. Remember the bottom line is to have fun. If the turkey is burnt to a crisp, order a pizza. Forget having a Martha Stewart Christmas. She puts each strand of tinsel on one at a time. It is okay if you just toss it on in globs.

Hire it out.

This is usually the busiest time of the year and most people find themselves doing more entertaining than any other time. Why not hire a housekeeper every week during the month of December so that you will feel free to relax and enjoy your friends and family instead of worrying whether the dust bunnies are escaping. If you don’t like wrapping presents have somebody else do it. Hate to cook? Order a ham or turkey cooked by your favorite grocery or restaurant.

Simplify your gift giving.

Use a gift registry service (available at Sears) so that your friends and family don’t waste any more time or money buying things you don’t really want or need. As my grandma says, " I’m all for people telling me what they want so it is easy." Or pick out a great gift for all the men and another for all the women and give everyone the same thing this year.

Examine your holiday traditions.

Ask everyone in your family what are the three most important things that really make the holiday special. Then focus on those things. You may discover that nobody really wants all those holiday cookies, but really love the tree decorating party. Do what makes the holiday special and forget the rest of the stuff. One really memorable activity or event is what really makes a holiday. You don’t have to do it all.

Be an angel.

Go out of your way once this holiday season to do a good deed for someone else. Bring cookies to the retirement home in your community, slip a dollar into the Salvation Army bucket, bring leftover turkey dinner to the guy who works at the all night gas station. Do some small thing to help another or brighten someone’s day that you wouldn’t normally do.

Set up an automatic holiday savings account.

It may be too late for this year, but you can get a jump on next year by setting up an automatic savings plan at your bank. They will debit your account and put a fixed dollar amount in your savings account every month. This way you will have a ready stash of cash for the holidays next year!