This year, make the most of November by planning ahead. Here are a few things you can do this month to save yourself some stress so you can enjoy the season:


  1. Clean up and de-clutter. If you're expecting a smorgasbord of visitors over the holidays, November is a good time to rid your house of dust mites and clear your living room of the last year’s worth of clutter. Don’t forget to use disinfectant on doorknobs and countertops — cold and flu season is on its way.

  2. Try out new recipes. Now is the time to perfect a recipe you’ve always wanted to try so you’ll have something to “wow” party guests at the Christmas potluck.

  3. Write your greeting cards. Sending a card in the mail to a long-distance friend is a thoughtful gesture that shows you care. It may seem too early now, but it will pay off when you’re too busy to do them later.

  4. Determine who you need to buy gifts for. Make a list for all the family members and friends you need to shop for. Don’t forget people you would like to appreciate such as the main caregiver who looks after your loved one at a seniors’ home, your children’s teachers, and their bus driver.

  5. Hit the mall or shop virtually. Take advantage of the smaller crowds this month or better yet, avoid them by shopping from the comfort of your home. Keep an eye out for free shipping deals and special online buys. Or check local flyers for coupons.

  6. Consider alternative gifts. Find out what your friend or loved one is passionate about and make an online gift in their name to a charity that supports that passion.