Sure, the holiday season only comes once a year, but sometimes when September or early October rolls around it feels like Dec. 25 is just a few short days ago. The stores are stocked with gift wrap, lawn decorations and presents, and the radio station has even begun playing Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.” But you buck up like you do each year, because deep down you love every second of it. Of course it would be nice to avoid the hassles, headaches and harping (no, not the tranquil and melodic harping of little angels). As always, you have a plan, but lean on your tablet, smartphone and laptop to secure peace and harmony for one and all.
1. Find a Reliable Calendar
If you’re looking for a way to keep it all together, keep track of all your plans in your calendar. Track everything from when to buy the Thanksgiving turkey, to determining any last-minute gifts you need to buy, to getting a head count for Christmas dinner. Use Google’s free calendar that is desktop-based, but is still accessible via your smartphone, or Evernote.
2. Holiday Lodging Accommodations
Regardless of whether you and your family are traveling to your respective parents’ home or the parents (possibly both sets!) will be coming to your neck of the woods, people don’t always have room to put someone up, even for a few nights. Maybe some family members have less than stellar relationships. If so, it’s best to keep everyone in a comfortable sleeping situation so they don’t wreak havoc on your happiness. Whatever the reason, Kayak will help you find the best accommodations for your spouse and kids in another city or for your visiting relatives. Kayak, available on Android and Apple products, will also take the load off of you in helping you make travel arrangements and finding car rental agencies.
3. Keep Photos Classic and Classy
Taking a family photo is sometimes the bond that everyone needs to feel closer, hopefully giving everyone pause for thought of how grateful they are to be in such a loving family. But as you know, more often than not it creates fussing and gnashing of teeth. You get everyone through it with your calm and soothing presence. Dig deep, you know you’ve got this! Once you mentally picture knocking everyone’s heads together, (complete with a coconut sound giving you an extra giggle) help everyone into place, remind them to smile and let them know you will print the Christmas photo cards and send them out for everyone if they stop being so naughty and cooperate.
4. Make Light Work of Shopping
Pull out your laptop, smartphone or tablet and start shopping. Pricegrabber found in a study that, as of September 2012, 31 percent of smartphone shoppers already had an app specifically for shopping.