MANILA, Philippines – The holidays are fast approaching and with it comes the fast-paced schedule that most mothers are familiar with.
During this season, our list of responsibilities grows longer. We have to prepare for celebrations, finish buying gifts, and still manage to carve out time for ourselves in the process.
Motherhood often demands MacGyver skills to make our lives easier. The best strategy is to work smart, not work hard.
Of course that doesn’t mean that we can’t use a little help every now and then. Use these #HomeMagic tips and tricks to make entertaining and preparing for the holidays just a little easier:
For gifts and shopping
Keep it simple. Gifts don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. People near and dear to you would appreciate simple gifts made from the heart. For example, grandparents would love a framed picture of all the grandchildren. You can also use photos for Christmas cards and tags.
MAKE IT PERSONAL. Giving gifts from your kitchen is always appreciated. Photo courtesy of Michelle Aventajado
Order online. There are so many online businesses now that can personalize gift items for you. Simply personalize, click, and pay.
Condense your errands. Make sure you plan your shopping excursions effectively. Plan your mall errands. Map out the route in your head so that you don’t have to backtrack.
Bring a buddy. Having a companion with you to help carry the packages can make your shopping trip less stressful. If there are errands that can be entrusted to someone else, choose what you will do and the rest, you can delegate.
Shop LOCAL. You don’t have to travel far to source really cute and thoughtful gifts. Try bazaars near your place, or look for smaller Mom and Pop shops that offer distinct products and services.
COOL CONVENIENCE. Shopping locally at bazaars near your place is not only better for the environment, it also means avoiding some rush-hour traffic. Photo courtesy of Michelle Aventajado
Shop comfortable. When you are filling up Santa’s bag with gifts for everyone, it can feel like a workout. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes while shopping. Nothing says comfort like throwing on fresh-smelling, comfy active wear.
Service with a smile. Take advantage of free gift-wrapping services. It leaves less for you to do and most big stores already offer this. Better yet, stock up on cute holiday gift bags so that you don’t have to wrap the last minute gifts that you pick up.
For entertaining at home
Ask for help. When entertaining, you don’t need to do it all. Order some of the more time-consuming dishes from your favorite restaurants. When hosting a get together for the immediate family, ask each member to bring their best holiday dish, pot-luck style.
Work smarter. When you’re juggling so many tasks, little tricks can go a long way. For example, use a quick dry softener like Downy to ensure faster drying time when washing and pressing your holiday linens for the table. Preparing the dining table ahead of time makes it easier on the day you are expecting guests.
ALL SET. Setting the table the day before gives you more time on the day that you are entertaining to tend to your guests. Photo courtesy of Michelle Aventajado
Cleanliness is next to... With all of the mall hopping, reunions, and Christmas parties to attend, you will be exposing yourself to a slew of germs. Wash your hands frequently, get enough sleep, and use antibacterial soaps and fabric softeners to wash your hands, dishes, clothes and towels.
Make memorable moments count. With all the hustle and bustle, one can lose sight of some of the quieter moments that can be enjoyed with the little ones. Cuddle up before bedtime with the kiddos with a good book and a soft blanket.
The nose knows. Studies have shown that the sense of smell is highly linked to memory. Clove and cinnamon automatically remind us of the holidays. Your guests can feel at home not just through your baking and cooking, but also by laying out pillowy-soft blankets and fresh-smelling sheets.
Keep calm and celebrate. Even if your holiday meals and gatherings do not come out exactly as you planned, remember the reason behind the season. This is the time of year that is filled with gratitude, family, and friends.
The coming of the holiday season does not have to be stressful, if we plan well and prepare in advance, it can be felt by those who live with you, and by all those who enter your abode. Careful planning, helping hands, and products we choose to bring into our homes should only make our lives easier as we navigate this joyous time of year. – Rappler.com
EDITOR’S NOTE: Post has been edited for brevity.
Michelle Aventajado is a Filipina-American who grew up in New York and now considers Manila her home. When she's not busy raising her 4 children, she enjoys teaching, reading, and writing about her passions. Follow her blog Momma 'N Manila as she documents her adventures and growth in parenting.
#HOMEMAGIC is a useful resource for mommies and homemakers who want to bring love and
warmth to their families. Watch out for more magical ideas to create delight
for the entire family, at every season and opportunity.
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