Thanksgiving is around the corner, and Hanukkah and Christmas are right after it. You don’t need to do it ALL.  You already read my post about doing less this year…  and a great way to achieve that is by asking for or hiring some help! There are great ways to get the right kind of help to take a little stress out of this holiday season.


Here are some ideas, for fee or for free, that can help make a difference this year:

holiday help


1. Cater Your Events:  Bring in some food for your events,  either wholly or selectively.  Selectively would be something like bringing in a couple of trays of entrée, and then you prepare all the side dishes.  Or it may mean that all the desserts come from a great local bakery.  Wholly means letting the entire, gorgeous meal come from a great vendor!  Put them in your own serving dishes if you want to make it look a bit more home-made. 

2. Let Someone Else Clean:  Hire a one-time cleaning person.  While most people think of the cleaning person as a “before the company comes” activity, it may even be a “day after the big party” activity. Think about which you dread more, and start contacting people now to ensure you get the date and time you want!


3. Trade Child Care Sessions: Arrange some nights or afternoons with friends for swapping child care, so that you can run errands, decorate, or just plain treat yourself well!  You may even be able to get 3 parents in on the deal, giving yourself 2 free time slots to get things done.

4. Outsource the Decorating:  Hire a company to do your outdoor or even your indoor decorating for you. And the undecorating at the end of the season!

5. Let Them Come To You:  Don’t overlook the many services that will come to you:  Package pick up for mailing gifts, grocery delivery, florists for all the greenery, and of course, all the wonders of Amazon Prime.  (Think: “Gee, I really need this thing, but I won’t be able to get to the store for 3 days to get it.”  That’s when Amazon Prime can beat you to it.)

6. Get Your Linens Ironed:  Let the dry cleaners press your tablecloths, runners and napkins for you! And have them clean and iron afterwards, and hang the beautifully pressed linens in your closet to preserve someone else’s hard work. 

7. Have Someone Run Your Errands:  There are great services (or maybe even resources within your community) of people who will be willing to run errands for you when you’re busy. Think of the time-suck tasks on your plate: picking up items at the store, dropping off or picking up dry cleaning of that table-cloth, buy and deliver your alcohol for the party, wrap your presents, even return your unwanted gifts after the holiday is over.  Whatever your pet-peeve or time-crunched task is, you are likely to be able to find someone to do it for an hourly rate. 

8. Arrange a “Best Dish” Swap:  Connect with your neighbors or friends who are also entertaining this year, and see if you can arrange a “make double of your best dish” swap.  You love their pies and they love your sweet potato casserole?  Swap ’em!

9. Make Your Phone Be Your Elf:  Coordinate gift lists and gift giving with family, organize your own gift lists for your family, set budgets, track receipts, all with your smart phone! See something in a store and want to remember it for next time? Snap a picture of it and the tag. Keep a note with all the sizes of your nieces and nephews. Let all the info you need be with you when you need it. 

10. Get Help to Get Organized:  Of course, a day of a professional organizer help in the house can make a big difference as you’re trying to figure out how to maximize your space and minimize your stress!  Got a room that you SWORE was going to be overnight-guest-ready this year, but just haven’t gotten to it?  Dining room too overwhelmed with life to imagine a holiday meal being served in it? (Can’t fit a pro in your budget right now? Find a friend and buddy up with them for the day — “3 hours at your house, 3 hours at mine” can make a big dent!)


What are YOUR tips for getting help at the holidays?  You don’t have to do it all, so tell us what you let someone else do for you!