We all hate the rush during this time of year. It’s supposed to be fun, but somehow, you may find yourself stressed and running out of time and ideas. Not to worry! You can find a way to get it all done and not feel overwhelmed with our tips and tricks for making this holiday season easier for you.

When hosting your own party, don’t forget photos! More often than not, the host or hostess is so busy mingling that there are just not enough party photos taken. Ask a close friend to be the photographer for the middle hour of your party – the time when most of your guests are there and the festivities are in full swing!

Don’t be caught empty-handed! Stock up on a case of great, budget-friendly wine, several bags of festive sweet treats, simple ribbon and some holiday cards. Keep the stash in your garage or even in the trunk of your car, so that no matter where you’re headed, you have the perfect holiday gift for hostesses, hairdressers or even teachers.

Simplify the Cooking! Choose to make only one holiday treat this year that you can bake in a large batch. You can certainly bring the same baked item to both your office party and your children’s school festivities. Opt for cookies or brownies, which can be easily frozen in batches.

Volunteer to bring the cheese! If asked to bring an appetizer, a simple cheese plate is easy to assemble and is always a fan favorite. Simply purchase a sharp cheese (like Cheddar), a soft cheese (like Brie), and one that has a little visual interest such as a goat cheese rolled in nuts or havarti with dill. Two boxes of different crackers and grapes or strawberries are all you’ll need to complete the presentation. Feel free to ask a hostess for a serving plate when you arrive and arrange the spread on site!

Be Prepared for Tipping. Have envelopes prepared ahead of time for your postal service person, garbage collector, babysitter, housekeeper, etc. Keep them ready to go so you are not rushing around looking for your wallet when the mail truck arrives on December 23rd! Also a great idea to keep a box of holiday cards and a pen in your car. Coffee shop gift cards are always a fan favorite – purchase a handful to have just in case. You can always save them for next year or use them yourself!

Buy stamps for NEXT year. If you opt for Forever stamps, you can buy an extra roll or two to eliminate the lines at the post office next year!

Check the Weather. No need to change your holiday outfit the hour before you are set to leave for a party (or, worse, the hour before your guests are set to arrive)! Check the weather now for up to 10 days ahead. That way, you will be able to plan your attire ahead of time!