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Oh I am such the rule follower. However, today I’m going to share about breaking the rules and doing things early. December is such a busy time, why not move a few of those ‘to-dos’ to November? I did all of the following early the last two years. What a blessing it was to really enjoy the process as well as be free in December.

Send cards early. We send Thanksgiving cards rather than Christmas cards. It really just gets greeting cards in the mail about a week early. We tell our friends and family how thankful we are for them! Cards are in the mail and you are on to cruising through the holidays.

Give teacher gifts early. We carry the same theme with church and extracurricular teachers. We give these special folks a little gift the week before Thanksgiving and let them know how much we appreciate them the whole year through. Teachers get so many gifts at Christmas. Giving something the week before Thanksgiving allows them to enjoy an early treat.

Grocery shop early. I pick up Christmas baking items I need in November when I do the Thanksgiving shopping. When we want to do Christmas cookies one day, we already have the ingredients we need. Pull out the sprinkles and go!

At the same time, break the rules and keep the holidays simple with…

Easy Recipes. Though I enjoy cooking, there is really no reason for a mama to wear herself out in the kitchen trying to make beautiful creations from a long list of ingredients.

These recipes are very simple to do at the last minute – some even in the microwave. White Christmas Snack, Artichoke Dip, Southern Living Two Step Pound cake (divide into small loaf pans or cut cake in half and give to neighbors), microwave fudge.

Keep gift giving simple. Since there are so many cute, inexpensive gift ideas, I’m keeping a list over in It’s Easy. I love the journal jar!

Play. Thanksgiving is just a month away now, so I had to feature this wonderful little find. I know I had my turn at the Kids’ Thanksgiving table. How about you? “let your kids color their way to a festive Thanksgiving table.” This looks like so much fun!

Enjoy. The whole point of breaking the rules, finishing items early and keeping it simple is for your and your family to enjoy this time of year. Make memories as you are making gifts for others. Laugh together as you have everything spread out. Put on the Christmas music a little early.

The only rule is to have fun!

updated from the November 2009 archives

Your turn! Please share your fun, easy holiday tips.