With the elections under our belt, Remembrance day almost here and the Christmas holidays just over the horizon, we now have some time to concentrate on some more important, but often overlooked issues. I myself am a procrastinator, so it always feels good to get things done early. It eliminates stress in such a stressful time of year, so I will take it where I can get it. Number one on my list is probably the most important right now.
1.Forget about politics.
After such a heated election cycle it is important to wind down and put the stresses of politics aside. We are entering a season of Joy and happiness, you can not achieve this state of mind while caught up in such a divisive topic. When you are together with family do not bring up the elections or political issues, they will only be a source of contention. We only ever talk about politics when they bother us anyways, and we are always looking for a ‘debate’. Why do we want to talk about this with loved one at such a joyous time? Forget about the lies and deception until after the new years. Even though most of you will not let up on social media, I implore you to follow this one rule while in the company of friends and family at least. It will make your holidays much more enjoyable.
2. Get your tires changed.
If you have not already made your appointment to have your tires changed, get it done. Appointments book up extremely fast once the snow starts to fall. If you are a last minute appointment maker, you know all about this. Make your appointment now and get it done. Winter tires will still be effective in our current temperatures and will not be damaged in any way, so you really have nothing to loose, except maybe a headache. I know a lot of parts in northern Canada have already received their first snowfall, don’t get caught in a slippery situation.
3. Winterize your house.
With the cold weather already here, the extreme cold coming fast and the carbon taxes on the rise, it is becoming more and more important to reduce heating costs. One way to do this is to increase the efficiency of your homes insulation ability. The obvious areas for cold to escape are doors and windows. There are very cheap solutions to increase the insulation in these areas that can be found at your local dollar discount store.
A special plastic film, made to be installed over window openings, can significantly increase the R rating of your home, especially if you live in an older home. Even newer homes with modern windows can benefit from this small addition during the winter months. They are easy to install alone, and usually only require a blow dryer. do this on every window that you do not need to open.
There are also slips for the bottom of your doors. You can usually find them at discount dollar stores, but if not, Walmart should have them in stock by now. There are many styles, ones that slip right on to the door, and other heavy ‘snake like’ ones that just lay there. Place either type at the bottom of your outside door, and say goodbye to drafts. Even if you are in an apartment, having one of these on your front door can keep YOUR heat in YOUR apartment, instead of heating the hallways.
4. Send out Christmas cards.
If you are like me, you typically send cards literally at the last minute, and sometimes after it. I always envied the people who were able to get their cards out early. How do they find the time? How can they even remember to do it? Well in my older age I realize its just preparation. I am sure they simply put it on a list, or read it in one somewhere.. On the internet maybe. In a political blog perhaps. Regardless, all it takes is to put it on your list now, get it done before November, and you can be that envied person, especially if I am on your list.
5. Get your Christmas shopping done.
Shopping, the bane of my existence, especially during the holidays. I can not stand shopping centers when they are packed. Typically I like to try to grab things through the year, as a lot of people seem to do. With the amount of people at the stores in the weeks leading up to Christmas I am pretty sure at 3/4 of us practice last minute shopping. Christmas shoppers have no consideration of people around them. Getting shopping done in November limits my need to go out in December. I usually always have to get last minute stuff, but having the bulk of it done is important. Get out there now and get it done. Hopefully the next on the list will help you pay for it all.
6. Skip a payment.
Finding the finances for these extra expenses can be difficult to manage sometimes. Luckily with some mortgages, loans and even some insurance packages, there is an option to skip a monthly payment. You can usually use this clause once a year. Look into your policies and inquire with your bank on what they can do about December payments. Having a little extra money going into the holidays is always a weight off ones shoulders. You do not have to worry quite as much about how you are going to pull it all off. A simple call to find out what options you have could put hundreds even thousands extra in your pocket.
7. Stock up on booze and other items for hosting.
Even if you do not drink, having an offering to family and friends is always nice over the holidays. Grab some beer, some rum and some eggnog, or maybe a bottle of wine. It is always good to have these items on hand around the holidays just in case someone decides to pop by unannounced.
I like to get the bags of mixed shelled nuts and place them out with a nut cracker. Not only are they a nice decoration, they are a perfect snack for your guests while you are socializing. They can be expensive around Christmas, so I usually go to somewhere like the Bulk Barn to get them. Seems to be cheaper that way, and I decide how much, since 1 bag is never enough and 2 is usually too much.
8. Get some baking done.
You may not be a greatest baker. You may not bake at all. But who does not love a good cookie or square or some kind of baked treat around Christmas? I know I put on at least a couple of pounds over the season exclusively from treats. I am usually not a big sweets person, but there is something about shortbread cookies, date squares and fruit cake that just warms the cockles of my heart. Now I can not bake these like my grandmother did, but I certainly try every year. There are great websites like allrecipes.com that have excellent recipes with clear and simple directions. It really is easy, and it can be satisfying as well. These treats also make great additions to your gifts to family. Pick up some bags and ribbons, make a bow or 2 and voila, You have an epic gift.
9. Make holiday visit arrangements.
Now a lot of Christmas preparation comes out of necessity, due to the inevitable ‘pop-in’. We all have those family members that will just stop by over the holidays, and end up staying for hours. Its great, but if you were not prepared, it can make for a dull visit.
One way to avoid being ‘that person’ is to make visit arrangements. Get it out of the way now if you can so that everyone has time to prepare. Christmas is a hectic season, we try to fit everything in at the last minute, but if you have your visit planned and organized, just like everything else in life, it is more enjoyable.
If you plan on having a get together, you could give times and request an RSVP in your Christmas cards. Follow up individually in case of a lost card in the mail. You don’t want Auntie feeling left out.
10. Remember to not drink and drive
This should go without saying, but it still has to be said. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. The legal limit is ZERO. Do not think that you can have a drink and wait an hour to drive, that in a lot of cases is not good enough. If you have 1 bottle of beer, wait 2 hours from your last drink to be safe. If you have more than 1 drink, just don’t drive at all. It is not worth ruining another families Christmas, forever. If you do drink and drive, you are a horrible person. Remember that when you pull your keys out of your pocket. Remember that a taxi costs much less than a life, and maybe everyone will get home safe this year.