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Neighbors of Kane County

Simple ways to save money and enjoy the holidays

Nov 16, 2015 10:37AM ● By Neighbors Magazines

(BPT) – It may be the most wonderful time of year, but at times it can also feel like the most stressful. This holiday season, take a fresh approach to save time and energy so you can be merry and bright. Here are some tips, tricks, and suggestions that will help you relax, unwind and enjoy all the best parts of the holidays.

Batavia Park District and other local venues offer all you need for holiday festivities

You will find many events, far and wide, irresistible. When you are choosing what to attend, keep your travel time in mind. Local events have benefits: they save you time, they are easy to plan for, you’ll save money, and younger kids will find as much joy in Mooseheart’s Santa as they would in Macy’s Santa.

The Batavia Park District has a holiday line up that makes it easy to enjoy the season locally: a holiday craft market, breakfast with Santa, Polar Express, house decorating contest, and the Celebration of Lights. Mooseheart’s drive-through light display is spectacular, and Santa will be there for the kids. At Abbey Farms you can cut your own Christmas Tree. A Christmas Story opens Nov. 25 at Paramount Theatre, Aurora. The Tanner House Museum, Aurora, will be decorated by local artists (FREE self–guided tours on selected days throughout the holidays). Dec. 12 & 13, enjoy “Magical Holiday Concerts” at Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin. The Morton Arboretum in Lisle and Naper Settlement in Naperville, are both transformed into holiday worlds of their own.

Wrap while shopping

It’s a given that shopping early avoids the last-minute frenzy, but you can save even more time and stress by getting gifts wrapped while out and about. Many department stores offer gift wrap services. Even some local stores will wrap your gifts, all you need to do is ask.

Streamline holiday cards

Sending cards is a holiday tradition, but it shouldn’t cause unneeded stress. No need to worry about a dated address book—an easy trick is to cut return address labels from each card you receive and place in an envelope. Now it’s easy to send cards to loved ones and update your address book without hassle.

Use simple recipes with great results

Using pre-made foods is one of the simplest (yet yummy) ways to create holiday bakery delights. Check out for simple, amazing recipes like Entenmann’s Dreamy Chocolate Bars that feature crumbled Rich Frosted Donuts as the secret ingredient. While you’re baking, double the batch to have an extra on hand for a hostess gift.

Cater your dinner

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal; but in some cases, when your life is filled from morning to night with “must-do’s” it is just not worth the stress. There are some fantastic local catering services, like Enticing Cuisine, that will make your holiday sooo much easier. Many North Aurora and Batavia restaurants can accommodate your tastes, from quick pizza to a four or five course dinner.

Opt for an open house

Having a holiday gathering adds to the season’s merriment, but where will everyone fit and how will you feed them? Instead of a formal dinner, opt for an open house with hors d’oeuvres. You’ll have less work and more time to spend with friends and loved ones as they come and go.

Go tech free, at least for an hour or two

Smartphones ringing, emails beeping, texts buzzing—technology is time consuming, impersonal and sometimes downright discourteous. From Thanksgiving to New Years, consider designating tech-free times for your family each day. Use this time (one to two hours) to relax and focus on each other, perhaps with a hot cup of cocoa—the emails and messages will still be there later.

Schedule a salon visit

In the middle of all the stress, it’s important to take care of yourself. With a long holiday to-do list, it’s hard to find time for you. That’s why treating yourself to a haircut or manicure can do wonders for your holiday spirit. Plus, you’ll look and feel fantastic when you attend all those festive get-togethers.

Embrace holiday breakfasts

Start every day off right by enjoying a delicious breakfast with your family. No need to spend hours in the kitchen cooking; instead include iconic breakfast classics that you and the kids love. For example, Entenmann’s Donuts are undeniable when paired with fresh fruit for a quick breakfast delight. Or maybe, you’ll just want to have fresh fruit and a hot drink ready to go. Keep it simple but don’t overlook the importance of a healthy breakfast to start off an active day.

Planning your holiday activities is the first step to limiting the inevitable stress. There’s only so much you can do. Whenever possible, let someone else do the work and enjoy the moment. The Batavia Park District will have everything ready for your enjoyment. Just show up and enjoy the time with your family.