Are You Looking For Work Now? The Holiday Season Can Be A Dark Place To Be Without A Job


How many times have you tried looking for work or applying for a job but found yourself unemployed because companies are now winding down for the holiday season?

If you are unemployed, then the holiday season can be a dark place to be. You could be balancing your cash flow, expenses, family commitments, and Christmas gift buying.

It’s generally known that hiring managers in most industries will start winding down recruitment and hiring tasks from November onwards until January or February when these tasks start to pick up again.

Here are some actions you can take.

Be flexible

The holiday season can be a great reason to reach out to friends and acquaintances. You can reconnect with people who you may have fallen out of contact with.

Networking is a great way to seek out those jobs that are not advertised. Whilst some industries will definitely wind down for Christmas, there will be others that will require more staff. Seek them out.

If you do get a call, be prepared to be interviewed at unusual times. Be flexible to the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s busy holiday schedule.

Philanthropic organizations are active during the holiday period. Volunteering in these organizations can be a great way for you to network, gain additional skills and fill the gap that unemployment might otherwise leave on your resume.

As you would expect, people want to take time off during the holiday season. Employers may be actively looking for casual or temporary staff to fill these gaps left vacated by employees going on holidays. A casual, temporary or part-time job can be a great way to get your foot into the job market. It’s also a great way to manage your cash flow and earn some money.

Keep an eye out for a variety of part-time and temporary jobs available in retail and hospitality. The retail work includes sales, customer service, merchandising, stocking, and gift-wrapping. In hospitality, hotels, restaurants, and caterers need additional staff to run and manage their year-end events and parties.

Finding creative ways to make money

There are many more jobs you can do during the holiday season, to tie you over until the recruitment season starts off again.

Let’s talk about some examples of how you can earn some money.

My friend Joe has been unemployed for several weeks after leaving his sales job due to an organizational restructure.

What I like about him is his positive attitude to life.

When I asked him what he was doing, he said; “I am Uber driving now to maintain my immediate cash flow. It’s only a transition period for me until something else comes up.”

Acknowledging that he’s in a transition period takes courage, strength and a belief in his capability.

Interestingly Uber driving has been a popular method for many people including some of my friends to earn some money if they have a car that meets Uber’s requirements.

As a family man, Joe is motivated because he has bills to pay.

The main problem for Joe was that his car wasn’t fuel efficient. His profit margin wasn’t that great after paying for fuel and commissions.

He has to find ways to increase his profit margin so that he can take home more cash.

I suggested for him to look into a private transporter and local courier arrangements where he deals directly with his clients. By doing so, his profit margins may be higher with the added benefit of a regular income stream.

There’s no shortage of time-poor or busy parents who are willing to pay someone to drop off or pick up their school-age children from their homes. Joe could consider becoming a private transporter for school-age children, in addition to his Uber driving.

However, he needs to think about the long-term commitment especially when he finds his next permanent employment or job.

In between school drop off and pick up times, in addition to Uber driving, he could also consider transporting older or people who do not have cars to do their shopping or going for their appointments (e.g., medical, social, etc.).

With a regular pool of clients, he can build up his cash flow over time, whilst looking for a permanent job.

I also suggested that he considers becoming a local courier service provider to lawyers, accountants, shops, etc. operating in the community. This is where he could link up directly with these businesses to deliver same day delivery documents, parcels, and goods for customers.

In fact, Joe got a call from one of his business acquaintance about his availability to do an urgent delivery of a carpet to a customer.

Alternatively, he could also become a driver for courier marketplaces (platform) like Roadie or Zoom2U that connects customers and freelance courier drivers, similar to Uber connecting passengers and drivers.

Not forgetting UberEATS, my friend could also consider becoming a driver for this marketplace. UberEATS is another way to get food to people by freelance drivers similar to Domino’s Pizza delivery.

Unexpected things do happen

Whilst writing this article, I got this text message from another friend; “I saw your article yesterday regarding internet business. I just had my spine surgery couple of weeks ago now bed rest for a couple of months, so I am off work, so I was wondering regarding your article for internet business can you please let me know.”

We all have health challenges like my friend who sent me this text message. He cannot work for two months and he has to take unpaid leave during this recovery period. Like Joe, this friend is desperately looking for something he could do to earn money at home whilst he is recovering from surgery. He’s thinking about e-commerce. I suggested for him to look into being an internet marketer because of his circumstances and it’s only for a short-term during the holiday period.

An internet marketer sells other people’s products and services and makes a commission on each sale. He can sell products on Amazon or eBay.

There are so many YouTube videos to show him the how-to’s of internet marketing, how to sell on Amazon and eBay and how to market the products. With technology, there are no shortage of resources to help anyone with starting their online business or how to make money with a computer and internet connection.

The bottom-line

There’s no shortage of money making ideas when there’s a desire to succeed. It requires thinking outside the box, a different mindset. It requires flexibility and a strong why, or a strong reason to make money in addition to a normal job.


Source by Patrick Ow

4 Exciting Activities for Your Holiday in Morzine


When you decide to go to Morzine for your holiday, you may well want to stay in a catered chalet. Morzine has a number of these to choose from, and it can provide you with the freedom and comfort you need to enjoy your stay there even more.

But when you arrive in Morzine, what can you get up to? Skiing is the main attraction in the winter, and mountain biking in the summer. But there are plenty of other things to do here for everyone.

Here are four of the best to keep you busy during your time here.

1. Fishing

Morzine joins a lot of fishing enthusiasts, mainly for the excellent trout fishing on offer here.
One of the best places to go fishing is the River Dranse, but another place that may be worth visiting is Lake Montriond. Something to remember, though, is that you will need a fishing permit, and you can get one of these to a day or for your entire holiday.

2. Horse Riding

There is no better way to see the surrounding countryside of the Morzine area than by Horseback. Luckily, in Morzine there are plenty of opportunities to go horse riding. You can choose a number of places to organize your adventure, including Parc des Dérêches and the Ranch de l'Avenir. You can also choose to go donkey trekking if you prefer, so there is plenty on offer whatever experience you are looking for.

3. Swimming

If you want to freshen up and go for a swim then you'll have plenty of opportunities during your time in your catered chalet. Morzine has a huge outdoor pool next to the Palais des Sports, so if you head during the summer this will be at your disposal. It is the ideal way to cool off after an energetic day's cycling in the summer day.

4. Rock Climbing

There are some excellent opportunities for anyone who wants to go rock climbing whilst on a holiday staying in a catered chalet. Morzine has a number of challenging routes on offer, many of which are found on the Pas de l'Ours cliff. If you'd prefer to practice on an indoor climbing wall to start with, or the weather is too bad to go outside, you can find an excellent wall inside the Palais des Sport.

Get Active in Morzine

There are plenty of things to do in Morzine when you book a stay in a catered chalet. Morzine is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, and the above is just a small selection of all the things that there is to do during your time here. So get searching for your perfect chalet and start looking forward to your holiday!


Source by Liz Olkowicz

Holiday Knitting Jobs


How many times have you gone through all of the effort and expense to knit something as a gift for someone only to have it end up in some dark, moth-ridden corner of their closet? How many times have you knitted that "perfect hand-knitted Christmas sweater" only to wonder why it is not really appreciated? We have all been there at one time or another. Granted, it does not happen all the time but it does happen. This holiday season, why not knit some things that, even if they will only be used on the holidays, will always be treasured and cared for?

I remember when I was a kid; one of the best Christmas experiences that I ever had was after spending weeks wondering when my stockings would be hung by the chimney with care. There were countless jokes at the expense of the children there. Granted, they were good-hearted and not malicious in any way but it did make us kids wonder just what was going on. Imagine our surprise when we woke up Christmas morning to see the knitting job that had been done for us … and created gifts that even as children we knew to take care of and could fully appreciate.

There hung over the fireplace were some of the most beautiful hand-knitted Christmas Stockings that we kids had ever seen. We kept those hand-knitted Christmas Stockings for years to come and had they not ever worn out from being over-stuffed during the holiday seasons, we would still have them today. Some knitting jobs for the holidays really will always be appreciated and while they may end up being stored in the closet, they will never be discarded and forgotten there.

If you are looking for a knitting job to keep your memories (and your knitting work) alive through the ages, holiday decorations are another area that many people never really consider. No matter what your personal beliefs are, there are holiday occasions that you are very likely to celebrate. Why not concentrate on knitting holiday decorations that will be not only beautiful reminders of that particular holiday but also a reminder of the knitting job that you performed with such love for so many people to enjoy?

Remember those silly paper "chains" that you used to make in school to decorate during the holidays? Hand-knitted chains like these are fairly easy to make once you master the "linking" process and will last for years. Your knitting work may actually be brought out on more than just a single occasion when you do it this way. Tassels, chains and other ornamental hangings are usually much more beautiful and much more durable than a little colored paper and glue.

Rather than spend all the time up to the holiday season working on knitting projects that will be lost and soon forgotten, why not try working on a knitting job or two that is going to be not only appreciated, but very kindly handed down from generation to generation? The possibilities are endless!


Source by Liz Raad

Jazzing Up the Holiday and Christmas Decor


If you are crazy about Christmas, or maybe just like to impress the neighbors, then Yuletide is a good time to show off your festive spirit with a flourish of more modern, and possibly more flamboyant, Christmas decorations.

It is so easy to just drag out those same old 20th century artificial Christmas trees, with their worn and abandoned balls which lost their sparkle long ago. If, that is, they ever had any sparkle. Then there's the bedraggled tree topper fairy which Grandma left you in her will, remembering you had once advised it, out of politeness and curiosity, some 30 years earlier.

If you have had a good year, then surely it is worth seeing out the last few weeks of the year with a new, bright and cheerful display around, and outside, the home. If you have had a bad year, well, why not shake off those blues with a festive display of lights, decorations and ornaments that makes your previous holiday decorating efforts look simply bland?

Such is the variety of large and small Christmas ornaments these days that, once you have decided to take the plunge and festoon your home and garden with the best holiday décor you can find (and afford), then you will surely have a great time making your selection, planning the display, and then setting it all up around the home.

Style, Restraint and Beauty For Your Indoor Christmas Decor

It is true that the old style Christmas decorations still look great. There is nothing like a large Christmas tree with lights to act as a focal point for your living area, plus all the hangings ornaments we have all gotten used to over the decades. Even so, if you are ringing in the changes for your holiday décor this year, then there is much you can choose from that will add a modern touch to your decorating. Plus, there is no need to go overboard with vivid colors and garishness; mixing a bit of Christmas glitz with restraint can bring some pleasant effects.

There is no reason why you should not create a beautiful festive décor, incorporating traditional elements while adding a few contemporary developments too. You could start with the Christmas tree itself, if you are not intent on keeping to the real tree. Artificial Christmas trees have become much more realistic compared to the old ones, and may include effective extras such as pine cones and a frosted effect, so it is worth having a good look around to find one that really stands out from the crowd.

The other modern development with these trees is the option of having them prelit. With a prelit tree you can be assured that the lights are neatly spaced, giving a better effect and saving you a lot of time and frustration getting them set up.

It is not just the realistic artificial trees that can be effective. Even the blatantly unrealistic versions, such as pure white or gold, can look quite charming, especially as part of a color theme. When adored by the right colored lights, such trees, if of good quality, can look exceptional, whereas they first appeared on the market they could seem quite hideous and tawdry.

When it comes to ornaments, there is a much wider choice than there used to be, with different styles emerging. It is worth exploring some of the hand made and hand painted ornaments, especially those with a humorous touch, as some can not be only be very attractive, but unique and in some fine detail. Another possible source of decorations that are delightfully unusual, colorful and artistic, is through Asian imports. The plain old Christmas ball looks very pale indeed against a finely decorated Chinese equivalent. Whatever your tastes, if you have a bare tree to decorate, whether prelit or unlit, you will surely find a far wider choice of tree décor than you would have done even thirty years ago.

If you do not like, or do not have the time, to go searching around for tree decorations and ornaments, then there has been a further modern development just for you: a prelit Christmas tree with ornaments included. So, everything comes ready for setting up in the chosen place in your home, leaving you just with the final task of plugging it into a power source. If you want the whole process outsourced, you could even hire a local electrician to come and plug it in for you!

Finally, back to the tradition of nativity scenes for those who see Christmas as their celebration of the birth of Jesus. There is such a wonderful choice nowdays, both in nativity sets and individual pieces, which will help you maintain some old Christian traditions that will bring a new and fresh touch to your holiday season decorating.


Source by Roy Thomsitt

Great Holiday Business Gift Ideas for Your Marketing Strategy


In today’s competitive market, great holiday gift ideas for businesses and their employers/employees are quite hard to come by. Business gifts are a way to show you as a company have remembered that business, and value their custom. The nicer the gift, the more likelihood there is that you’ll be remembered. However, holiday gift ideas are even harder, because so many people utilize that aspect of business marketing at holiday times of year and try hard to think of new creative gifts which will delight the recipient.

Candy Jars with your business’ name and logo on. Definitely one way to get you remembered AFTER the holiday season when the employees are sitting popping candies from the jar after returning to work feeling that bit jaded. A bit of comfort eating every now and again is good for the soul, don’t let anyone tell you any different. What about gift certificates? Not so personal you might think, but why not be a bit impersonal? It is business to business after all, and this way you know they’re going to be able to spend that certificate on something they really need without having to ‘use up’ those seventeen hampers they got from their best providers.

If you really put your mind to it, you can come up with a veritable plethora of different ideas:

o Padfolios

o Business Card cases

o Cufflinks

o Umbrellas

o Letter openers, money clips, paperweights – the list goes on.

You can use these same tried and tested gifts, and enhance them a little – so they don’t seem so uniform. Tie a red ribbon with a Happy Thanksgiving card to the padfolio, umbrellas with a ‘Christmas’ version of your logo embossed upon it; sure it might not be used all year around, but people will see your logo at that time of year and think about your generosity. What about mothers’ and father’s day gifts? Perhaps cufflinks with a ‘courtesy of your business at father’s day’ card attached. Utilizing older ideas in a fresh and unique way will always get you noticed, it’s just that tiny bit more time and creativity which is obviously put into these things which make them that touch more memorable.

Never forget your own merchandise! Mugs, t-shirts, pens, binders and even diaries – these objects are designed to capture the attention of the people watching their boss sip coffee from that mug you sent, your logo will be remembered, and the office workplace always needs extra supplies so it should never be unwelcome. No matter what you sell, you can send gifts to show your unique ideas and pro-active attitude towards gaining future business with valued customers. There is no need to not consider more creative ideas, which other people very probably aren’t employing in their marketing campaigns – in fact you should make extra effort to make sure you are doing something very few others will do. Giving business gifts is more than just about holiday spirit, it’s about being remembered and gaining future work too.


Source by Leah Lee

Holiday Dangers – The Top Three Threats To Your Dog This Winter And How To Prevent A Calamity


The Holidays can be such a joy for many families. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or none of the above there are plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays with your whole family and that includes your pet. To be on the safe side, it is important to know that while there are plenty of times to include your pet in your holiday festivals, there are some things you have to watch out for. The holidays should be a time of joy, but those pet owners who are not careful may have a tragedy on their hands if they do not know what to look out for.

To help you make the holidays as painless and joyful as possible, here are the top three threats to your dog this winter and how you can prevent a calamity from occurring to dampen your holiday spirits.

Holiday Greenery

One of the best parts about Christmas is the fact that there are so many traditions that require upholding, and these are great ways to make sure that your holiday is as pleasurable as possible. Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe, poinsettia plants-these things all complete the Christmas atmosphere but they can all pose a threat to the health of your pet. All of the above are poisonous to your dog if enough is consumed, so just to be on the safe side never put any of these things anywhere where your dog can reach them. Have some type of gated system around the Christmas tree to keep your dog from getting too close, and put other plants up out of the reach of your dog, no matter how clever they may get.

Our canine companions have a tendency to get rather intelligent when it comes to figuring out how to get into things that can hurt them; cut them off at the pass and make sure everything is out of their reach.

Holiday Sweets

The holidays are a time of sharing and caring, and who said that we can not do that with our pets? While it may be tempting to want to pass a few pieces of candy from your Christmas dish to your faithful four-legged friend, you would be doing them much more harm than good. Sugar does awful things to a dog's system and chocolate does even worse. Baker's chocolate and concentrated chocolate can be a real killer, as is the case with other highly caffeineated products or those with a high concentration of chocolate.

If you are being tempted to share, think twice. Chocolate can send your dog into massive convulsions, and even a coma from which they may never return. Do the right thing and get a candy dish for puppy-approved Christmas trees so that every time you have a treat your dog can have one too. That way you will not have to worry about them wanting or getting any of what you have.

Cold Weather Products

When the winter months hit, people tend to break out a whole slue of products designed to help them combat the cold weather. This includes salts, antifreeze, and other things of that nature. There is no doubt that having a safe environment would be more difficult without salt for your sidewalks, and if you do not want your car engine to freeze antifreeze is a must-have, but did you know cause both internal damage to your best friend?

Antifreeze is the main culprit that gets dogs every year, and if you do not be careful you may have to deal with a tragedy along those lines this year. The bad thing about antifreeze is that dogs like the taste, so avoid a tragedy by getting pet-safe antifreeze alternatives or keeping it under lock and key, far away from where your pet will ever be able to get into it. Do not allow them to drink out of puddles or lick their paws after a walk either as it does not take much to get them sick.

The worst way to spend your holiday is to spend it mourning over the loss of your pet. Take the necessary precautions and protect your best friend from these and the many other dangers that winter months pose.


Source by Lisa Failla

Family Package Holidays Are Possible With Cheap Holiday Deals to Binibeca


Are you dreaming of cheap holidays to Menorca? It is now more possible than in years past to find an excellent bargain and plenty of cheap holiday deals to Binibeca. No matter what your financial situation, chances are that you can find family package holidays to Binibeca in Menorca that are sure to fit within your budget requirements.

Many people are worried about finances as of late-with good reason. The first thing cut back in many cases are family holidays. That does not have to be the case though. You do not need to take expensive family holidays in order to enjoy a great time reconnecting with family and getting away from the daily grind of work. You also need not find yourself stuck in a boring flat or apartment. It is possible to enjoy a nice change of scenery, beautiful Mediterranean sunsets, and a nice warm breeze without paying a premium price to do so.

Late holiday deals to Binibeca often include beach entertainment such as swimming, diving, and horseback riding as part of the package. Many resorts are offering these activities as a courtesy to guests these days and in order to encourage holiday goers to choose one resort over the next. If there are specific perks you are interested in enjoying during your stay, be sure to ask.

One popular pastime in Binibeca that is not going to be on the cheap side (but is well worth the price) is to take an air tour of the island. See Menorca from a bird's eye view and, if you are truly brave, take a few private flying lessons during your stay. By saving money on last minute holidays to Menorca you should have plenty left over to enjoy a guilty pleasure like flying lessons.

Also make plans to include a tour of Binibeca Vell during your stay. This tour will be like taking a step back in time. In fact, this is the recreation of an old fishing village that is built to nearly resemble an authentic fishing village of yesteryear.

Whether you find late holiday deals to Binibeca or book early in order to take advantage of the great low rates being offered right now, there are plenty of bargains that make getting cheap holiday deals to Binibeca easier than ever before. Book your family cheap holiday deals to Binibeca today and escape the drudgery of every day for a bargain priced taste of paradise.


Source by Wayne Bromiley

Byron Bay – An Alternative Australian Holiday Destination


About 180 kilometers south of Brisbane and 800 kilometres north of Sydney, the Byron Bay area is Australia's eastern-most mainland coastal region. Byron Bay enjoys a mild sub-tropical climate, with summer temperatures averaging 25 to 30 degrees Celsius and average winter temperatures only slightly lower at 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. The area's economy is primarily primarily on tourism and agriculture, with an estimated 1.7 million tourists visiting each year. Thriving small businesses focus on alternative, cultural and knowledge industries, and the area is home to a steadily growing population of writers, artists and filmmakers.

The town of Byron Bay is renamed for the rich diversity of its weekend markets, restaurants, shops and fashion outlets. The hilly hinterland is also known as something of a Mecca for alternative lifestylers who have enriched the local culture and economy with an intense variety of small alternative food, art, craft, health and natural therapy industries. An area of ​​spectacular natural beauty and glorious beaches, outdoor activities abound in Byron Bay, ranging from bushwalking and climbing in the nearby hills to surfing, diving, snorkelling, whale watching, gliding, hang-gliding, horse riding and bike riding.

The north coast of New South Wales is the traditional country of the Bunjalung people. Two sub-groups of the Bunjalung frequented the Byron Bay area, the Arakwal in the south and the Minjunbal in the north. Aboriginal people lived in and visited the Byron Bay area for over 20,000 years. They knew the area as Walgun (The Shoulder), a place of plenty with sheltered sandy beaches, abundant seafood, wildlife and rainforest fruits, and permanent clean spring water. Unfortunately, many coastal Aboriginal sites have been lost to sandmining and development, but the remaining sites provide strong evidence of a vibrant and versatile culture that thrived in an abundant natural environment. Middens, ceremonial Bora rings, burial sites and specifically marked trees have all been recorded in the area. The surviving midden and camp site at Cape Byron's Palm Valley is definitely the oldest of its type in the region at over 1,000 years old.

Cape Byron is one of the area's main natural attractions, and is located just 3 km from the Byron Bay Post Office. Cape Byron has a well-deserved international reputation as one of the most beautiful locations in the world, featuring lush rainforest, rocky cliff faces, magnificent views of the Byron Bay hinterland and ocean, and excellent vantage points for watching whales and dolphins from the Cape Byron headland. At least two hours should be allowed for a comfortable walk around Cape Byron's 5km walking trail. The trail passes through coastal heath, littoral rainforest, banksia forest and many beautiful vantage points. Cape Byron's Aboriginal heritage lives on today, with members of the Arakwal clan, traditional custodians of the Byron Bay area, playing an active role in the preservation of traditional sites.


Source by Miguel Scaccialupo

Different Types of Holiday Accommodation


Are you looking for action, adventure or plain relaxation to get rid of all the stress from work? Then a vacation in one of the mostought after destinies in the world is your best choice. There are plenty of things to see and experience from outdoor adventures, tours, wine tasting, dining, wildlife viewing to shopping. However, before you can enjoy all these amazing things you must plan your accommodation first.

How to find the best accommodation? All you need to do is decide whether you want to relax by the beach, next to a lake, or close to an important city in order to enjoy the urban life. After you take your pick, there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. Here's the list:

Hotel – There is an array of hotels from popular world-class establishments to small country pubs. If you want to explore the city, the museums and the shopping centers, staying at a hotel near to them is your best option. Most hotels are stylish, unique and come with multiple rooms which may vary in size and type. On the other hand, country pub hotels are clean and stylish with pleasant facilities.

Apartments – They are found all over the country and offer guests the comforts of being at home while on vacation. Apartments are a great choice when traveling with the whole family or group of friends since it can cater up to 6 people. It also includes a kitchen, living room, dining room and 1-3 smaller rooms closed off from the living area.

Self Contained Accommodation – Like the apartment, a self contained accommodation offer the same comfort you get from home while on vacation. Commonly referred to as your own home away from home, it provides all the privacy you need and desire. There are plenty of self-contained accommodations that have one or three bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, lounge and laundry area.

Holiday Parks – This is perfect for back packers or campers. Holiday parks also known as camping grounds can be found in towns and rural areas. They are generally family oriented and come with playgrounds or recreational facilities. A holiday park can be a cabin, permanent caravan, flats or motels.

Luxury – There are plenty of luxury accommodations for those who want to live on high standard or high level service and luxury. They range from exclusive resorts, secluded beach or Lake Front lodges with superb facilities, exceptional food and extremely high professional service.

A vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world is not prefect without experiencing the kiwi-friendly hospitality and quality accommodation. With so many fantastic attractions and activities to fill your day, you need a comfortable place to help you relax and have a good night's sleep.


Source by Paul J Easton

8 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress


As we gear up for the holidays, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and under stress. After all, there's so much to do, and so many details – major and minor – to organize and exceed: There are candidates to buy (and wrap!); a home to decorate; food to prepare; relatives to appease (think: mother-in-law!). The list feet endless.

Yet, with a myriad of tasks and only 24 hours in a day to get them done, how is it possible not to let pre-holiday stress rear its ugly head and get you stressed out? After all, stress is inevitable … right?

Well, maybe not. You can have a stress-free yule if you have the right tools, and the right mindset. Here, 8 ways to enjoy your holidays – without stressing out over them.

-> 1. Watch your pennies.

Picture this: Your kids have been begging for the latest Nintendo Wii; your sister's been hinting for a Prada tote; your husband would love a new set of golf clubs … The "gimme" factor has taken hold, and the list of I-gotta-have-its goes on and on.

Sure, it feels good to spend your hard-earned cash on those you love. But when the Visa bill appears in your mailbox, the feel-good factor fades to that darker, uglier fear of: "How the heck am I supposed to pay for all this?"

The secret – which is really not secret at all – is to pace yourself financially; to not blow your wad all at once. To stay within your budget, not beyond your means. Not being able to splurge on the latest or greatest is tough, and disappointing your friends and family is the last thing you want to do. But staying awake at night, worrying about how you're going to finance your holiday spending spree is far worse.

The stress-free solution: While store-bought gifts are certainly the easy way out, the allure of home presents never goes out of style. And the feel-good giving factor? Priceless. (For crafty inspiration, go to ).

-> 2. Walk away from the buffet!

Eating and drinking at holiday get-togheters may seem as natural as snow in December. But overindulging comes with a high price tag: weight gain.

To avoid extra padding this holiday season (and we're not talking about the down comforter on your king-size bed), avoid overindulgence like the plague. That does not mean you have to abstain from all yummy holiday fare. No way! Just do not use the holidays as an excuse to go nuts! The key? Moderation; moderation; moderation.

The stress-free solution: Have a small but satisfying pre-party snack – a container of fat-free yogurt; a 100-calorie packet of microwave popcorn or oatmeal; 10 almonds; a cheese stick – to keep you from attacking the dessert table. (For more food-related tips and charts – including a daily fitness and calorie-intake / nutrition counter –
go to: .)

-> 3. Plan ahead.

If you, like most Americans, buy the majority of your holiday gifts at the last minute, you're not doing yourself any favors. Not only does split-second shopping add up to sack-loads of stress – not to mention poor decision-making – it ends up costing you more money than if you 'planned ahead and done your holiday shopping pre-Labor Day.

Turning back the clock is not an option (who really thinks of buying snowshoes in September, anyway?), But that does not mean you can not plan ahead for next year. As soon as your tinsel has been tossed and your lights unstrung, hit the post-holiday sales and squirrel away your bargains for upcoming events all year long – birthdays, anniversaries, bridal and baby showers, holiday gifts, and so on. You'll be glad you did.

The stress-free solution: Shop online! Although you may not score any serious bargains, worry not: the savings you'll get in sanity are well worth the price. (For no-fuss shopping solutions, organized by occasion, go to )

-> 4. Shop off-peak.

If you must hit the mall on December 24 – and do not say you have not been warned – do yourself a mitvah and go at off-peak hours. According to my cousin Sara, who can sniff a bargain at 300 yards, the best time to go for a mall crawl is from the hours of 4.30pm to 6.30pm – dinnertime! I tried it (on Black Friday, no less) and discovered that, while not quite a ghost town, the pre-dinnertime mall was pretty darn quiet.

The stress-free solution: Use your noodle to think outside the box (or the mall, as the case may be).

-> 5. Keep expectations realistic.

For many of us, the holidays can be an emotionally nerve-racking time, with so much emphasis placed on being cheery, jolly and gay (the happy kind, not the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy kind). But not everyone feels like dancing around the yule log during the holiday season, especially if there's been a sad event, tragedy or loss in the family (a death; a divorce; a separation; etc).

The stress-free solution: If you can keep your eye on the prize – gratitude for health; a home; a fulfilling job; a supportive family and friends – you're less likely to feel "less than" because your life is not all roses, sunshine and smiley faces (which are all overrated anyway).

-> 6. Live in harmony (or at least fake it).

Holidays tend to bring families together – which is not always a good thing, especially if your family is more Osbourne than Osmond. But that's OK. No family is perfect, and yours does not have to be either.

At the same time, the holidays are not the time for overwrought emotional conflicts, ugly family feuds, or airing dirty linen. If you're mad at your Aunt Blanche for ____ (pick a transgression), there's no rule saying that you can not keep it to yourself. Your living room is not a Jerry Springer soundstage. In other words, back off!

The stress-free solution: Avoid emotional family confrontations – at least until the mistletoe's been taken down.

-> 7. Delegate tasks.

Sure, everyone thinks you're Superwoman – and in many ways you are. But that does not mean you need to do the holiday shopping, wrap the gifts, clean the house, cook, serve and clean up the dinner, and stay in a cheery holiday mood, all at the same time. You deserve some help!

Asking is one way to get help. But telling those around you what you expect from them – what you need – is often the most effective way to get things done.

The stress-free solution: "Do not ask, do not tell" does not work in the military, and it will not work for you during the holiday season either. So, ask. Tell!

-> 8. Add a dash of fun.

Running around like a headless chicken does not serve any purpose, other than making you feel like … a headless chicken. Beside, there's got to be a better way of preparing for the holidays. How about trying to actually enjoy them for a change?

Of course, putting your feet up and enjoying the sleigh ride is easier said than done, especially when your to-do list rivals Santa's. But there is a way: Try to enjoy the process of holiday prep.

For instance, instead of robiously plowing through your holiday-card list, put on some festive music (my pick: James Taylor at Christmas), grab a hot toddy and a pretty pen, and start writing. Before you know it, your list will be complete and you'll have actually enjoyed the process. What a concept!

The stress-free solution: Channel your inner Mary Poppins and think: "In every job that must be done / There is an element of fun / You find the fun and snap! / The job's a game!" Hey, if it worked for Mary …


Source by Melissa Roske