They schedule a visit with Santa
Surprise! Did you even know you could do this? Forget about standing in that forever-long line while your infant and toddler are (understandably) melting down. Make a reservation online for a visit with your local Santa, breeze in a few minutes ahead of your appointment time, snap a few cute pics while your kids delight in their special visit, and then take everyone out for a much-deserved lunch. Think of it as like a fastpass at Disney, except slightly less magical because, well, it's the mall. Feel free to post that cute pic on social media, but avoid posting these other things around the holidays.
They send holiday cards
Super-organized families have most likely locked in a seasonal photo session by September or October, but don't feel like you have to use a Pinterest-perfect picture to send out cards this year. Snap a silly pic of the kids or pets using your phone and head to a site like Shutterfly or Vistaprint. Order cards early enough that you can plan to tackle a few every night over a couple of weeks, so it isn't an overwhelming task. To keep it even more simple, forgo the photo altogether and write a short, heartfelt note before dropping store-bought cards in the mail. Or save yourself the trouble entirely and send sweet, festive ecards instead! Make sure you follow these etiquette tips for all of your awkward holiday encounters.
They handmake holiday gifts
We're not talking about something like these cute little mason jars gifts that could reasonably be put together in one afternoon for your kids' teachers or your favorite neighbors. Think more intricate and impressive—like this embroidered gelt pouch for dreidel games. By starting early in the season, there's time to craft something perfect for everyone on your gift list. Follow this gift giving etiquette all season long.
They buy gifts early
No matter how organized you are, crafts are not everybody's thing, and that's okay. If you're buying gifts this year, start early. Have a list of ideas ready by mid-November to help you score Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and take advantage of other seasonal bonuses—like free shipping—when you order gifts online. Don't forget that one awesome way to spread holiday cheer in your community is by shopping local! And don't fall for these Black Friday shopping mistakes!
They bake holiday goodies
Is there anything better than a tin stuffed with an assortment of homemade holiday cookies? You can treat your friends and family to baked goods too, and it doesn't have to take up an entire weekend. Start small. Choose one easy holiday cookie recipe to make with the kids and brighten the season for a babysitter or special family friend.
They use a holiday calendar
You'll pull out the Advent of course, but it's a good idea to use a holiday calendar or planner too. Between work celebrations and class parties, gift swaps and seasonal volunteering, there's a lot to keep track of in the weeks between Halloween and New Year's Day. Keep a detailed schedule handy so you know what's coming and aren't caught by surprise. These time-management tips can keep you on track.
They say no
iStock/Eva Katalin Kondoros
Despite our valiant efforts to do it all, it isn't always possible to make every event and participate in each school, work, and community activity. Choose what's most important to you and your family and don't feel pressured to take on more than you can reasonably handle. The holiday season is supposed to be about spending time with the people we love, spreading cheer, and reflecting on what we feel grateful for—and sometimes that means saying no to others and saying yes to ourselves. Here's how to say no without hurting anyone's feelings.