Do you like to work ahead as much as possible in everything, including preparing for the holidays? If so, here are a few tips to help get you started, because the more you have done ahead of time, the less stress you’ll feel during the holidays.

• Make a list of everyone you need to buy presents for, and do your shopping early.

Then, once you purchase the presents, wrap them and put labels on them immediately. I set aside a container for presents and keep the list taped to it, so I know at a glance what I still have to do.

• Make a meal list in advance.

If you’re going to be hosting a meal, put together a folder with the recipes you’ll need and a corresponding grocery list. Then, when it’s time to go shopping for the ingredients, you’ll be able to see exactly what you have to purchase.

If you don’t want the bother of making everything from scratch, keep a list of restaurants and companies that do a “take-out” meal service you can pick up the morning of your party – anything from your local Boston Market to a catering company you’ve enjoyed in the past.

• Start a “master schedule.”

Write down everything you need to do throughout the holidays, and keep this schedule handy in a central place, such as on the refrigerator. If you’re invited to someone’s house, include all the details on the schedule. This way if you have to cancel, you won’t have to look for the invitation to find a phone number.

The holidays can be a very stressful time of year, but the more you have done in advance, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy the festivities!

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