Practical Holiday Tips

Ship Those Gifts

Did you have a productive Black Friday? 

Snag great deals on Cyber Monday?

Do you still have holes in your gift giving list? 

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Now is the time to make some headway and purchase the remainder of your gifts.  Feel the satisfaction of crossing off to do list items. Begin mailing presents to those who live out of town. 

Don't have time to go from store to store and then the post office battling the traffic and long lines?  Consider ordering gifts online.  Have the retailer gift wrap and ship to save you time and possibly some money.  Look for product discounts and free shipping options to stay within your holiday budget.

Be web savvy.  Stick with sites that use https in their web address.  Ensure that the website belongs to the official brand merchant.  If your credit card company offers virtual account numbers, they are an awesome way to keep your card secure. 

Need additional suggestions for keeping on track during the busy holiday season? Contact to get sorted right away.

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Want to stay on top of your holiday to do list?  Before the mad rush of the season is in full swing, begin aggregating your mailing list data.  Ensure that addresses are up-to-date.  Have you corrected any name changes due to marriage or divorce?  Added the newest family members since last year's mailing? Or perhaps you need to edit labels to account for those who have passed on.

To speed up the greeting card process, consider creating a spreadsheet with all of the pertinent label information.   Yes, it is more work upfront, but with a few minor edits each year, you will thank yourself that you invested the initial time.  Once all of the name and address information is entered, use a word processor's mail merge to create the labels.  I use Excel for the spreadsheet and Word for the labels, but you can use whatever programs you like.  

I prefer to add a holiday graphic to each label to dress them up as seen on the left.

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Consider using the same spreadsheet to track gift ideas and purchases.  Or you can use The Practical Sort's Gift Tracking Guide click here to access.



Best Holiday Travel Times

Chances are you have already booked your Thanksgiving holiday flights.  And if you are traveling into or out of PDX, your travel should go relatively smoothly as it ranks #10 on Forbes list of on-time performance airports.

However, if you are planning a road trip, according to AAA 45.5 million other travelers will be on the roads which is a 3.2% increase over last year.  AAA states that these drivers will also pay the highest gasoline prices since 2014. 

Travel & Leisure recommends Portland travelers avoid the roadways Wednesday and Friday 4 pm Thanksgiving week.  Ideal times are typically Thanksgiving and Sunday mornings at 6 am.  Click on the highlighted sources if you wish to view their airport best and worst lists and suggested travel times.

Before you start your car review this checklist:

1.  Check your destination's weather for your trip's duration to ensure you are packing appropriate clothing.

2.  Planing to travel in high elevations and through the mountain passes?  Put tire chains in your car if you do not have studded tires.  Ensure that your tires are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended PSI.

3.  Toss in some extra blankets, water, snacks, first aid kit with flares, gloves, extra socks, hat, dry set of clothes, ice scraper, snow shovel, jumper cables, phone charger, and flashlight.

4.  Let someone know that you are leaving and your expected arrival time.

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5.  Fill up your gas tank.

6.  If you are bringing a covered dish to the dinner, check to make sure that you have serving utensils along with all the items needed to do last minute preparations before plating.

7.  Remember the host/hostess gift? 

8.  Set timers for your home lights and stop the mail and newspapers if you will be away for a more than a day.  Don't forget to toss in your overnight toiletries kit.

Safe travels and enjoy your celebration.


Holiday Preparation is Key to a Successful Celebration 

Last week's tip was a reminder to place your order for your Thanksgiving turkey, ham and any fixin's to go along with the meal.  Provided that you have already done so, here are some additional last minute tips to ensure that you are prepared for a special celebration.

1.      Check your rsvps to confirm # of guests expected

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2.       Iron your table cloth and napkins

3.       Purchase a centerpiece

4.      Ensure that your grocery list has all necessary ingredients to avoid last minute trips to the store especially on the holiday or the immediate days prior when the pickings are slim and lines are long

5.      Begin baking

6.      Stock up on beverages to pair well with the entrees and dessert.  Don't forget coffee and tea (caffeinated and decaf).

7.      Count and rinse the china, stainless, and glassware if they have not been used in ages.  Do you have an adequate supply of each?

8.      Do you have enough seating or do you need to borrow some chairs and tables?

9.      Place guest towels in your powder room

10.     If your oven is not large enough, begin cooking items ahead of time that can be refrigerated or frozen then reheated

11.      Prepare guest rooms for overnight visitors


Have a fantastic Thanksgiving celebration filled with much warmth and happiness from The Practical Sort.