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How to hack Christmas with kiddos

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Holiday concerts, gift exchanges, class parties, oh my! With kids’ activities into the mix of already overflowing December calendars, the trick is to make it simple. Here are five simple holiday hacks to make the month a little less hectic.

1. Go digital with Christmas cards
While everyone loves seeing a rare handwritten card in the mail, writing out 50+ cards takes time. And if you’re anything like me, I have to pare down my address list fit the quantity of cards I order. Consider using one of many email options (like bluemountain.com, smilebox.com) to get everyone in one simple click.

2. Gift cards, gift cards, gift cards
That teacher, bus driver, mail man, garbage collector — forgo the DIY Pinterest gifts and treat them to something they’ll actually use, a gift card to a local joint or the ever-popular Amazon.

3. Cater in the meal/host a potluck
If you choose to host a holiday, don’t spend your time planning, shopping and cooking. Consider having everyone bring their favorite side dish or best yet, cater. Even grocery stores have holiday platter packs at a good price.

4. Choose just few traditions that stick
It’s easy to want to make the holiday uber-magical. However, your child doesn’t know if you want to incorporate Santa letters, cookie exchanges, Elf on a Shelf. So consider the cost (financially, mentally and stress levels) before you let them know. Instead of doing it all, choose only a handful of annual go-tos that are low-maintenance. We do an alternative Elf on a Shelf and family cookie decorating. Done.

5. 4 presents per kid
It’s easy to have Santa go overboard with presents. But before you max out the credit cards or drive all over looking for the perfect presents, make a template. One effective I’ve learned is buy “one they want, one they need, one to wear and one to read.” Leave the expensive Lego kits and video games to the grandparents.

Here’s to a happy simplified holiday season!