Top 9 Sanity-Saving Christmas Hacks

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most stressful — between travelling, buying gifts for everyone and handling loads of decorations and clutter, you’ve got quite a bit of work to do this Christmas season. Here’s how to make sure it goes off without a hitch.

9. Limit Your Other Commitments

The biggest deterrent to what you get done is time. As you’re getting out of work for the Christmas week, make sure you’ve tackled everything you need to, so you aren’t stuck working over Christmas. Get ready for guests ahead of time, and prioritise what you actually need to do (you don’t need to go to every party and get a gift for every acquaintance). Image: goodrob13.

8. Avoid Stress When You Travel

If you’re travelling over Christmas to be with family, you’re going to be facing double the travel stress of a normal weekend. Check out our start to finish guide to stress-free travel for tips on packing, getting out of work, and getting to your destination pain-free (and check out our top 10 tips for heading home on a weekend, while you’re at it). Image remixed from Chris Brindley.

7. Give Better Gifts

If you’re struggling to find good gift ideas this year, we’ve got some resources to help you out. First, do a little research on your giftee and find something without being cliché. If that isn’t helping, check out our official Lifehacker gift guides for all sorts of ideas, from apps and web services to mobile phones and even custom-built computers.

6. Give A Used Gift With Finesse

Maybe you don’t have a lot of cash to spend on gifts, or maybe you have something you aren’t using that you know one of your friends would like. As long as you’re up front about it — and as long as it makes sense for the gift — you can give a used gift, or regift an item someone gave you. The key is being honest. That said, if you want to do it without getting caught, we have some tips on doing that too — just be prepared on the off chance your recipient finds out!

5. Get The Most From Your Gift Cards

Whether you’re giving or receiving gift cards this year, there are some tricks to getting the most for your money (and getting rid of gift cards you don’t want). Just be sure you give them away quickly before they start losing their value. Image: Arvind Grover.

4. Wrap Your Gifts Like A Pro

Chances are you know how to wrap a gift, but what about when it’s something in a less-than-traditional shape? We’ve shared a number of ways to make up for it, that will work with nearly anything. Of course, you could always just put them in a cereal box first, then wrap as usual. Image: Robin Phinizy.

3. Get The Better Of Your Unruly Tree

So you’ve picked out the perfect tree for your living room and maybe even put together a clever watering system to keep it green. But once Christmas is over, it’s time to pack it up — which almost seems harder than cutting it down was. Here’s how to pack your tree without spending a cent.

2. Dig Up The Post-Christmas Clutter

Christmas preparation may be stressful, but at least you have the time off to look forward too — the post-Christmas cleanup is a much sadder tale. Luckily, with a bit of patience this year, you can make next year’s holiday prep much less stressful. Here’s how to pack up your decorations neatly and declutter your house now that you have a load of new stuff lying around. You should also check out how to keep that Christmas music in iTunes without it annoying you the rest of the year. Image: SAJE/Shutterstock.

1. Turn Your Unwanted Gifts Into Cash

Chances are, not every gift you got was a winner. That doesn’t mean you need to let it collect dust in your closet, though. Instead, return it or sell it for something better. Most stores are pretty lenient about taking things back after Christmas.

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