’Tis the season to be jolly…this you must remember. As an elf, to get through these busy, busy months I’ve devised a plan. A very easy plan that will keep you smiling and stress-free through this month of gift-giving, parties—and a special visit from YOU KNOW WHO!

1. Shop early & bElfie-DISH-post-03ae confident the deals are the best you’ll find! Psst. Restaurant.com gave me a little insider tip: Don’t wait for a better deal! Retailers and deal sites alike are offering some of the best prices and special offers now. No need to wait to closer to the big date to price shop. Some of the best deals are even offered pre-Black Friday. So, don’t stress that you’ll find a better price. If you know what you want—cross it off your list!


2. Keep the kids busy with these fun ideas. I put together a full list of ideas to keep the kids busy while you shop or dine! We all understand the lack of patience of the kiddos give Mom & Dad. And, the holidays don’t make it better, with long lines and so many toys to look at…but don’t touch! Now, on to the rest of your list, and trust me—these fun activities will do the trick! Click here for fun activities for the kids.

3. Enjoy time with friends and family. Don’t forget to enJOY the season. I’ve kept an eye on Santa each year and he’s a pro at balancing time in the workshop, delivering gifts…and time with Mrs. Claus. He stays focused on fun of the season—forget the stress! And hey, if it starts getting hectic, there’s always January to make those plans. It’s still a festive time of year to celebrate. Just turn the theme into a New Year or Kick-off 2015 party!

4. Brown craft paper and cranberries and mason jars… oh my! These are just a few things to add to your shopping list that will get AND keep you in the festive mood. Brown craft paper – and lots of it – to wrap all of your gifts. A simple bow or some decorations by the kids really make a gift look personal. Cranberries and mason jars are a simple way to decorate your home (and it’s inexpensive), and the cranberries will last at least the month of December (or you can buy fake ones at a craft store). Here are a few ideas I found on Pinterest.

5. Scents everywhere. Along with a simmering pot of creamy alfredo sauce, I love the scents of the holidays. Get in the festive spirit with some relaxing scents. Juniper, vanilla, spruce and cinnamon are sure to make your office, car or home smell delicious!

6. Make the holidays self-less. This is an important one that will truly make you feel like you survived AND enjoyed the holidays. For a REAL feel-good feeling, donate to a family in need or volunteer at a soup kitchen. The volunteer opportunities are endless this time of year so it’s easy to pick something you and your family are passionate about. You’ll feel warm and fuzzy all over for doing something for someone else.

7. Holiday fun or holiday overload?! My last and final tip to ensure a happy holiday season is to pick only your top three holiday activities to commit to. Instead of spreading your time thin trying to do everything, find three or four activities that are most meaningful to yourself and your family. Traditions will emerge and these memorable and repeatable adventures will continue for years to come!

Both Santa and I (Elfredo) wish you a very merry holiday season!