I love Thanksgiving so much I would say it vies for first place in my favorite holiday lineup. I love and adore a classic Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. I love the fall weather which always accompanies the day. I love the fact that Thanksgiving ushers in the winter holidays, offering me a front row seat on the very best time of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving

I love all of those things. In fact, I kinda’ wish that every day were Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is too important in our lives to be considered briefly en masse on this, the fourth Thursday of November.

Giving thanks and counting our blessings is good for us. It reminds us of the positive things in life. Gratitude turns bad things into good things and reminds us to thank others.

Just imagine what might happen if our annual single-day tradition of giving thanks were to become a daily routine? Medical professionals suggest we would be rewarded with better health, as medical research reveals more about the strong connection between gratitude and good health.

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As we face the crush the Holiday prep, could you possibly use some help? Try these tips and ideas on for size.

Double up

When you cook this month, double your favorite meals and freeze the leftovers. Then, when you’re in a frenzy the few days before Christmas, you won’t have to fret about making dinner, too.

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Electronic cards

You can save a lot of time and money when you send electronic Christmas cards, or eCards. There are lots of free sites—DaySpring.com and BlueMountain.com offer the best selections.

Shop from home

Shopping online can save a lot of time, frustration and gasoline. Finding free or reduced shipping makes online shopping even better. Dec. 14, 2018 is Free Shipping Day. Check FreeShipping.com for retailers who will be participating.

MORE: 9 Ways to Avoid Christmas Debt Even If You’re Short on Cash

Get cash back

If you’ll be shopping anyway, you might as well get some of your cash back. Ebates is by far the easiest and most efficient way to do that. An Ebates account is completely free, easy to set up. Then every time you shop online, make sure you have your Ebates account activated (it’s so easy—you’ll see once you have an account). And you can use your Ebates account in-store, too!

If you’re curious why I’m such an Ebates fan, yesterday I got another Ebates check in the mail—cash back for things I would have purchased anyway, including the rental car Harold and I used on our recent New England getaway. I didn’t expect it, but I’ll take it!

The hardest part about using Ebates? Remembering to use it! Ha. However, they do make it pretty easy. I believe I’ll stop forgetting, now that it is putting money back in my pocket.

RELATED: 3 Ways to Find Extra Cash for Christmas Read more

Look up the word ‘impulsive’ in the dictionary and prepare to see my face. In my basement pantry, I have bags of of chocolate chips to prove it. They are the ghosts of a Christmas past—left over from one of my Gift-in-a-Jar marathon projects.

And those two containers of candied fruit that must be ten years old by now, which I keep because they’ve become such a novelty? They appear to be the same as the day I bought them.

Baking supplies on a wooden board, horizontal, close-up

 

Baking supplies are notoriously on sale at rock-bottom prices starting now in anticipation of Thanksgiving and continuing through the end of the year.

I still have bags of all-purpose flour from last holiday season, which I bought for $.99 each, which I’ve stored in the freezer. Sugar is cheap during the holidays, too. Ditto for other holiday baking ingredients from marshmallows to sweetened condensed milk, dates to nuts.

One of my basic rules of grocery shopping is this: When it’s on sale, buy enough to last until the next time it’s on sale. Baking supplies become so cheap this time of year, now is the time to stock up.

Which begs the question: How long will baking supplies last in the event you decide to buy enough to last the year? It all depends on the items and if you have the storage space to keep them at their optimum.

Here is a handy guide:

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Whether you are invited or doing the inviting this holiday season, choosing a potluck over a more formal dinner party can relieve a lot of stress. When everybody brings something it takes a great deal of pressure off the host and offers guests the joy of contributing to the festivities. 

Casual-potluck-dinner

Hosting duties

If you’re hosting you need to …

1. Pick a theme for the menu, like Comfort Food, Thanksgiving Bounty, or Christmas Favorites.

2. For one dozen people, at the least, you will need approximately two or three appetizers, two side dishes, bread and butter, two desserts, one salad, and one main dish.

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To pull off an all-cash Christmas in the face of a credit-aggressive retail industry will be like holding back the sea unless you arm yourself with a very important tool.

 

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You won’t have to run out and buy this tool because I am absolutely sure you have it already. And you won’t have to go on a whole-house search to find it either. This all-important tool is as close to a magic wand as you will ever get and as powerful as you choose for it to be. It is your attitude.

You can choose a joyful, expectant, can-do attitude with bold determination—an attitude that says, “No matter what, I am not going to spend money I do not have to pay for Christmas. Period.” With that kind of attitude, even the powerful consumer credit and retail industries will be no match for you. You will prevail.

Here are nine simple ideas to get your attitude revved up and your determination switched into high gear!

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The simple act of gift-giving has become extremely complicated. I blame that on the consumer credit industry.

Think about it: You can be completely broke but still spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts—and believe it is not only your right to do so but that you are obligated to do it.

The culture has created a message that we have to spend a lot on Christmas gifts to be socially acceptable.

Christmas vintage presents on a wooden background

Gift-giving is a custom that has pretty much run amok. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose to make wise and reasonable decisions about the gifts we give.  

How many of you cannot recall the gifts you gave last Christmas? How about the gifts you received? Come on, let’s see those hands. Okay, that’s just about everybody. 

It’s not because we’re total ingrates that we have trouble remembering the gifts we gave or even the ones we received. Read more

Who among us hasn’t at some time during the hectic days of December said those old familiar words, “Next year I’m going to get started earlier!” I don’t know what you meant by “earlier,” but today seems about right.

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Here for your consideration are three ideas meant to encourage you to head-off the heartbreak of post holiday stress disorder brought on by procrastination, under-planning, and overspending. Read more

If you’re a little put off by the mention of Christmas this early in the year, hear me out. I’ve got a great idea for how you can really enjoy the season, bless your children or grandchildren and start a new family tradition all at the same time.

I guarantee that the kids in your life are going to love you for it, too. But it requires some amount of preparation. That’s the reason it may appear that I’m rushing things a bit.

Photo credit: 2littlehooligans.com

Step 1

Between now and Dec. 1, collect 24 different books that are in keeping with your family’s holiday values and beliefs. You can find books at thrift stores, library sales, bookstores and online.

Step 2

Wrap each book as a beautiful gift. Place all 24 gifts, marked only with a number between 1 and 24, in a large basket or festively-decorated box. Keep all of the wrapped gifts hidden until Dec. 1.

Step 3

Each night before bed allow the children to select and open one of these “gifts” that corresponds with the date on the calendar, then read it together. Repeat each night through Christmas Eve.

Step 4

Put the books away in a secret place and you’ll be ready to go again next year—and every year—starting with Step 2. Read more