The holidays are supposed to be a time to relax with family and friends – a time when you can enjoy some great food and even better company. But preparing for the big day can leave you exhausted once it finally arrives. By planning for your celebration well in advance and putting some simple shortcuts to work, this season can feel a lot less stressful!

Give yourself the gift of time by following these six steps:

  1. Shop local. Avoid the crowds of big box stores by taking an afternoon off one weekday and hitting up local boutiques in Belleville, Edwardsville, Alton, or other cities in the Metro East. With superior customer service, a unique array of gifts to choose from, and in many cases, free gift wrapping, holiday shopping can become fun again! (One great local gift option? A gift card for house cleaning services from Annointed Hands!)
  2. Get your groceries to go. We do much of our gift buying online, so why not do the same for grocery shopping? You can build a list and buy your groceries through the Instacart app and have them delivered from Metro East stores like Schnucks and Fresh Thyme. Place your order for staples a few weeks before Christmas hits, and stock your shelves and deep freezer so you’re ready to go!
  3. Free yourself from perfection. We all want to recreate those holiday motifs we see in home décor magazines. But jobs, kids and, well, life, can keep us from achieving them. Keep decorations simple – only put up those decorations that truly hold a special place in your heart. Or, stick with a monochromatic layout. Decorations all in red or all in blue add an immediate splash of sophistication and glamour to your home.
  4. Start your baking. When you have a couple of free hours in the weeks leading up to Christmas, spend them baking up your holiday goodies in advance. Pie crust, cookies, breads, and many side dishes can be frozen and enjoyed later. Just avoid freezing milk- or cream-based goodies like custards, meringue and frostings which can separate and turn watery.
  5. Take the credit. Restaurants, markets and butchers offer a variety of holiday foods that you can spice up at home. For instance, get a ready-baked ham and cook up a homemade cherry sauce. Purchase a store-bought pumpkin pie, but dress it up with hand-whipped cream flavored with cinnamon or bourbon for an extra punch. These secrets take just minutes to prepare, but make any dish taste homemade.
  6. Wrap as you buy. Set up a gift-wrapping station in a corner of your bedroom or home office that stays up through the holidays. When you buy a present, wrap it immediately and set it under the tree. If you wait until all your purchases are made, you’ll spend precious weekend hours wrapping instead of enjoying your favorite holiday activities. (Even more important, early wrapping means less risk of snooping!)

According to experts, the best way to avoid holiday stress is to schedule time for yourself. By letting Annointed Hands handle your house cleaning, you can use those free hours to sneak in a walk or spa day, get away with friends for an afternoon, or just relax before all those out-of-town visitors descend on your home. To schedule your cleaning or to order a gift card, contact Annointed Hands today at 618.709.0238.