by Ellen Blake
original post: November 24, 2019
updated: November 7, 2020
Holidays 2020 – not business as usual (updated 11/7/2020)
Wow – what a difference a year makes. Lots of us shopped online before the pandemic, but this year we rely on online venues even more heavily. So many of our favorite stores closed temporarily or for good, and alot of us don’t venture outside much anyway due to the pandemic. Not only do we shop more online, but the type of gifts we purchase are different as people made lifestyle changes while quarantined at home. Many of us do not plan to wrap gifts as we are not able to celebrate in person; we’ll just send the gifts directly. I noticed more people in my neighborhood already put up their Christmas lights (it’s not even Thanksgiving!), but I understand they want to nurture the holiday spirit early – it’s been a rough year. Stay tuned for our new list of online resources for 2020!
Original post 11/24/2019
Holidays. I love them and I hate them. A pile of unwrapped gifts here, a box of stocking stuffers there. Not nearly done with the cooking and party guests arrive in two hours. Every year I tell myself I will start earlier and organize better, but life gets in the way. I need help.
Websites and Apps to the rescue: Holiday Shopping Online
This year I am going to do what I can on my computer or phone. With just a few clicks I can get the help I need to help with decor, invitations and holiday cards, even gifts for the difficult people in my life. Of course, these services come at a cost, but if it prevents me from becoming stress and run down, it might be worth the extra expense to do some holiday shopping online
I won’t outsource all of my holiday tasks as some require a personal touch. But I will consider doing so for the other items on my out of control to-do list to save me some time. I’ve found some of the apps and websites offer reasonable prices for online shopping tasks. Below are some websites/apps that might be helpful for you.
Are you one of those people who loves extravagant decorations inside and out, but are not excited about the work, especially the jobs which require a ladder? Outdoor holiday lighting services are available in most cities, though they tend to be costly. You might try Taskrabbit.com (also available as an app), available throughout the U.S. to hire someone to help on a hourly basis. The rates vary depending on where you live, but I’ve found the pricing doable. Another service offered on via app is hidrent.com. You can hire off duty firefighters on a very reasonable per-project basis in Az, Co, Fl, Id and Tx and help give back to those in your community who risk their lives on a regular basis.
If you tend to be a do-it-yourself type of person with decor, but find yourself short on time to get to the store, browse through the many Etsy shops that offer craft supplies. If you are really in a pinch, creative vendors on this site also sell many handmade items that might be just what you are looking for.
If you like homemade treats, but are either short on time or baking is just not your thing, Etsy is also a wonderful marketplace for traditional and artisan sweets. You can find anything from basic cookies to gingerbread houses to beautifully decorated chocolates on this website. Many options are available to help with the main meal when you can’t, or don’t want to, do it all. Consider ordering a ham or turkey at Honey Baked Ham. You can order a few of their delicious sides while you’re at it. If you are having company for the holidays that plans to stay awhile, think about buying a weeks’ worth of meal kits from HelloFresh or Plated(about $60 per week). HelloFresh also recently started selling meal kits for under $20 at Costco.
A lot of people choose to post holiday greetings on facebook or send e-cards these days, but I still love to send and receive cards with a more personal touch in my mailbox. You can order inexpensive pre-made cards online on a large variety websites such as Shutterfly and Vistaprint which allow some options for customization. Once the cards arrive, though, you still need to stuff, address and mail them. Postable is a service that takes it a step further and actually mails the cards for you.
The Bottom Line
There’s nothing wrong with getting a little extra help during the holidays if needed. We all need to take care of ourselves and hopefully by now we are able to accept that perfection is not necessary for a wonderful holiday season. Letting go of some of the work will decrease your stress level and as a result, lead to a more relaxing time for everyone.
If you know of other good websites/apps to help with holiday related tasks, please share in the comment section below!