6 Ye olde cookie exchange
Organize a group of friends and have everyone make two to three dozen of their favourite holiday cookie, bar or square. Then get together and swap so everyone has a little of each. It saves you hours in the kitchen and comes in handy when people drop by unexpectedly. A few samples wrapped in cellophane also make great hostess gifts.
7 Festive-coloured potpourri
It's an easy design accent and can make the house smell like someone's always baking. If you're not into potpourri, scented candles, oils or incense will do the same. And when you feel the holiday stress taking hold, stop and take a deep breath. Warm scents like lavender or cinnamon will relax you.
8 Easy decorations
You'll find an abundance of Christmas decorations in the stores. But often the most elegant and effective are those you make yourself. And you can get the kids to help. Use branches, leaves, acorns and berries from your backyard to create centrepieces or festive confetti that can be strewn across mantles and tables.
9 Colourful creations
Buy a few yards of fabric in rich colours or textures and use them as table runners or chair covers. Patterned ribbons are also an inexpensive way to dress up candle holders and serving utensils. Or use them as festive napkin holders.
10 Get help with the housework
If you haven't got one already, the holiday season is a good time for a cleaning service. If you do have one, you may want to book them for an extra visit.
11 Involve the kids
They can help decorate -- everything from rooms to cookies. So even if they're in the way, they're helping you get the job done.
Image courtesy of Williams-Sonoma