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The holidays are full of high-stress moments, no matter how much you love them or how much you don’t. Starting some of your holiday planning early can set you up for a season of joy, rather than spending too much, worrying too much, or doing too much. Here are 5 ways to relieve yourself from stress this winter.

Make Room For All That Is New

All of the upcoming holidays means more stuff will be brought into the home soon. Clearing out space now ensures that all the items you have will have a place to go, whether they are holiday gifts, hostess gifts, decoration or an abundance of food and drinks for your festivities. If you don’t use or wear something anymore, donate it. Throw away expired or outdated items in the pantry and fridge.

Check Your Winter Clothes

There are always certain clothes that are required during the holidays. Ugly sweaters anyone? Ensure that your mitten has a twin, your ski pants still fit, and your sweaters and coats are in good condition by checking them now. You can avoid spending money replacing clothes you cannot locate at the last minute by knowing where they are located and by inspecting your winter clothes now.

Let The Planning Begin

Holiday planning ahead has its perks. From shopping lists, to gift ideas, to budgets, preparing ahead saves time and prevents you from panic shopping or booking at the last minute and overspending on items you don’t need.

Creating menus and gift lists for your holiday parties and dinners now will prevent you from scrambling later. Making a list of travel needs or the stops you’ll make on the family road trip will ease the tension of holiday travel. You can make changes to these lists, of course, but preparing them well in advance ensures you’re making decisions thoughtfully instead of based on holiday stress.

Create DIY Gifts

It is gratifying to know when someone appreciates a handmade gift, especially when they know the time it took to create it. Now is a great time to start your homemade gifts of soaps or candles to save yourself from the stress of rushing before a gift exchange.

Take Your Holiday Photos Now

If you like to send out thoughtful letters and family photos every year to your loved ones, start prepping now. Take your photos and have them printed well in advance, and get ahead on writing your letters full of memories, updates, and events from the past year. Order your cards and stamps now, and you’ll be far ahead of others who swarm the post office last minute.

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