Ten holiday tips on gifting, entertaining and celebrating without the stress

The holidays are about seasonal traditions and making merry with family and friends, but sometimes it can be overwhelming to have so many events to attend and to-do lists to complete. In fact, more than 80 percent of Americans find the holiday season to be “somewhat” or “very” stressful, according to an About.com poll. As you plan celebrations and gift giving, forget the stress and consider these 10 tips to keep you organized, spirited, and best of all, relaxed and ready to enjoy the season.

1. Start the day with a smile – The holidays are a season of giving and sharing. Treat your coworker to a cup of coffee or holiday treat, or simply wish a stranger a happy holiday season. An unexpected surprise for a friend will make her day and also keep your spirits high.

2. Be ready for anything – Alleviate last-minute stress by having goodies on hand should a visitor stop by unexpectedly. You don’t have to go out of your way. Stock up on simple, easy-access essentials like your favorite holiday snack mix and Starbucks(R) Christmas Blend. Impress guests by brewing one cup at a time, especially for them, with a Starbucks Pour-Over Kit.

3. Personalize it – Make every gift stand out with personalized wrapping paper. Jenn Sbranti, editor-in-chief and founder of Hostess with the Mostess recommends using creative rubber stamps or stencils with festive-colored inks and paints to decorate white or kraft paper with your favorite holiday images. Take it up a notch with a gift-wrap-making party complete with festive music and your favorite holiday snacks and drinks.

4. Give gifts that everyone will love – Know someone who can’t go a day without their favorite coffee or espresso beverage? Look no further than the coffee shop around the corner or for a gift that everyone loves, like a new coffee mug, travel tumbler or a gift card. Quick and easy, these gifts are no-brainers and sure to please.

5. Treat yourself – Remember to do something nice for yourself too. Whether it’s indulging in quiet time with a new book by the fire or an afternoon treat, relax and enjoy. Grab a Starbucks Chocolate Creme Whoopie Pie for a perfectly sized treat less than 200 calories. Pair it with a Skinny Peppermint Mocha for an afternoon break.

6. Give back – Make a donation, big or small, to your favorite charity. Whether it’s giving to a local animal shelter or contributing to the neighborhood food bank, every bit helps and there’s nothing better than giving back during the holiday season.

7. Start fun, new traditions – Instead of the same old holiday cookies, create a major “wow” factor with holiday cake pops. Gather family and friends to bake and decorate with the new Starbucks Cake Pop Kit. For a festive presentation, display the finished cake pops in pretty boxes lined with gift wrap covered Styrofoam. Your creations will look like they came from a seasoned pastry chef and stand out among all the traditional cookie baskets.

8. Old holiday movie night with the kids – Introduce your kids to the classics. From “Miracle on 34th Street” to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” these movies are sure to bring back fond memories for you and create a memorable impression on your kids.

9. Plan ahead for travel – Airport delays and long flights can take their toll. Keep your energy level up and frustrations down, even in the most trying circumstances. Bring along your favorite pair of cozy socks, invest in noise-cancelling headphones, a good book, and a stash of Starbucks VIA Christmas Blend for a perfect cup of seasonal coffee on the go.

10. Recharge with a non-holiday day – You’ll enjoy the hustle and bustle of the busy season more with a break. Refresh with a non-holiday day of activities. Hit the salon, check out that exhibit you’ve been eying at the museum, or take a leisurely stroll. A day away to recharge is the best cure for seasonal stress and frustration.

Celebrate festive gatherings and joyous occasions this season stress-free and make the season merry and memorable with friends and family.

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