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Neighbors of DuPage

Simple ways to save time and enjoy the holidays

Nov 25, 2015 10:18AM ● By Neighbors Magazines

(BPT) - It may be the most wonderful time of year, but at times it can also feel like the most stressful. This holiday season, take a fresh approach to save time and energy so you can be merry and bright. Here are some tips, tricks, and suggestions that will help you relax, unwind and enjoy all the best parts of the holidays.

Darien Park District’s is a good start

There are so many events, far and wide, that you will find irresistible. When you are choosing what to attend, keep your travel time in mind. Local events have benefits: they save you time, they are easy to plan for, you’ll save money, and younger kids will find as much joy in Darien’s Santa as they would in Macy’s Santa. This year Santa has accepted an invitation to enjoy pizza with kids at the Darien Park District. Throughout the holiday season, kids and adults can go skating at the Sportsplex. Darien Park District makes it easy to enjoy the season locally. See pages 18–19 for more information, dates, and times.

Wrap while shopping

It’s a given that shopping early avoids the last-minute frenzy, but you can save even more time and stress by getting gifts wrapped while out and about. Many department stores offer gift wrap services. Even some local stores will wrap your gifts, all you need to do is ask.

Holiday craft show

The nice thing about holiday craft shows is that you get all those holiday specialty crafts in one place. If you’ve got a busy season ahead of you, the craft show will save you a lot of time running around. The Park District’s “Dickens of a Holiday Craft Show” is Nov. 14. See page 18 for more information.

Streamline holiday cards

 Sending cards is a holiday tradition, but it shouldn’t cause unneeded stress. No need to worry about a dated address book—an easy trick is to cut return address labels from each card you receive and place in an envelope. Now it’s easy to send cards to loved ones and update your address book without hassle.

Ready to eat, and simple recipes make the holidays a joy

If you’ve ever ordered a fruit arrangement from Edible Arrangements, you know what a pleasure it is to have someone else prepare it for you. Using premade foods is also one of the simplest (yet yummy) ways to create holiday bakery delights. Check out for simple, amazing recipes like Entenmann’s Dreamy Chocolate Bars that feature crumbled Rich Frosted Donuts as the secret ingredient. While you’re baking, double the batch to have an extra on hand for a hostess gift.

Cater your dinner

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal; but in some cases, when your life is filled from morning to night with “must-do’s” it is just not worth the stress. There are some fantastic local catering services, in and around Darien that will make your holiday sooo much easier. Many of the Darien restaurants also offer a range of services accommodate your tastes and needs, from quick pizza to a 4–5 course dinner.

Opt for an open house

Having a holiday gathering adds to the season’s merriment, but where will everyone fit and how will you feed them? Instead of a formal dinner, opt for an open house with hors d’oeuvres. You’ll have less work and more time to spend with friends and loved ones as they come and go.

Go tech free, at least for an hour or two

Smartphones ringing, emails beeping, texts buzzing—technology is time consuming, impersonal and sometimes downright discourteous. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, consider designating tech-free times for your family each day. Use this time (1–2 hours) to relax and focus on each other, perhaps with a hot cup of cocoa—the emails and messages will still be there later.

Schedule a salon visit

With a long holiday to-do list, it’s hard to find time for you. That’s why treating yourself to a haircut or manicure can do wonders for your holiday spirit. Check out Wild Orchid Salon, one of several great local salons that will literally wash away your stress. Plus, you’ll look and feel fantastic when you attend all those festive get-togethers.

Embrace holiday breakfasts

 Start every day off right by enjoying a delicious breakfast with your family. No need to spend hours in the kitchen cooking; instead include iconic breakfast classics that you and the kids love. For example, Entenmann’s Donuts are undeniable when paired with fresh fruit for a quick breakfast delight. Or maybe, you’ll just want to have fresh fruit and a hot drink ready to go. Keep it simple but don’t overlook the importance of a healthy breakfast to start off an active day.

Planning your holiday activities is the first step to limiting the inevitable stress. There’s only so much you can do. Whenever possible, let someone else do the work and enjoy the moment. The Darien Park District will have everything ready for your enjoyment. Just show up and enjoy the time with your family.