What’s one thing you can never purchase or reverse, but you can give it away and spend it? Time. During the holiday season—between trying to meet end-of-the-year deadlines, parties, entertaining, decorating your home and shopping for gifts—it may seem as if there is never enough time. By following a few simple tips and taking some well-deserved shortcuts, you’ll give yourself the gift of time so you can enjoy a more relaxed winter season.
Holiday Timesaving Tips
- Make your travel arrangements now: Don’t wait until the last minute to decide that you want to fly to Manhattan to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve or go to your sister’s house to open gifts. Make your travel arrangements now and schedule your professional life around your personal time-off. Yes, this might seem difficult, but you are allowed to focus on what you enjoy most at least once a year.
- Book private flights to your destinations: Holiday travels without the usual stress? Yes, please! One of most effective ways to save time if you plan to travel is to fly on a private jet. When you fly private, there’s no need to arrive at the airport two hours early, spend time in countless lines, or run through airports to catch connecting flights. Instead, you simply show up at the FBO (fixed base operation) and board the private plane. Private jets are faster than commercial airliners, so your travel time will be shorter. Since your luggage always travels with you, it’s available as soon as you get off the plane.
- Make a list: Before shopping for presents, make a list of the people you want to give a gift to. Take this list with you on a trip to the mall or your favorite shopping boulevard. Or, keep the list by you as you shop online. If you don’t know what to give, give everyone the same thing. Items like engraved glassware, gourmet fudge or crystal ornaments are always a hit.
- Don’t wrap presents: Wrapping gifts, curling bows and adding tags can take hours. Give yourself a break this winter and pay someone to wrap the presents for you. Many online retailers provide gift-wrapping services for a minimal fee. Several brick-and-mortar stores also offer complimentary gift-wrapping services—all you have to do is ask. If you already finished shopping, use a concierge gift-wrapping concierge service, such as the Kalamazoo Gift Company.
- Don’t send holiday cards: A plethora of online stationery services will address, stamp and send holiday cards for you. Look for one that allows you to import your contact list instantly, like Postable. Then choose the card you like the most and type a message. The stationery service will print the messages in an attractive handwriting-like font, address the envelopes, stuff and lick them, and send them for you.
- Cater the festivities: It’s OK to not prepare mass quantities of food from scratch. If you love the apple pie from a particular restaurant, order a few or more for a party. If your favorite restaurant offers catering services, book them for your holiday meal. Buy cookies and truffles from the downtown upscale bakery that you can’t resist. When you cater your holiday meals, your family will spend more time entertaining than in the kitchen.
- Hire an interior decorator: If you love the look of holiday swag around your home, but don’t like doing the decorating yourself or are pressed for time, outsource the work. An interior decorator will work his or her magic to transform your home into a winter wonderland. After the New Year, hire a cleaning service to put the decorations away.