Stress Free Christmas : Gifts for Friends and Others

So this year I have decided that I refuse to stress about our Holiday gift-giving budget. Therefore, I also refuse to purchase gifts for anyone who does not live in my house.
Now, that being said, do not think that I am simply a cheapskate (though sometimes I think I am), and don't think that I do not care about anyone; it's just that I am trying what I call a "Fly-ism" a la the FlyLady. And so...
I will not rush through the holidays.
I will plan everything ahead of time (way ahead).
I will delegate tasks and accept help from family and friends.
I will NOT overspend, overwork myself or under relax!
Ok, sounds good, right? Well here's the plan. Everybody that doesn't live with me gets home made cookies! Fortunately, I am a terrific baker (as my darling honey will tell you while he pinches a bit of the 20 lbs or so he's gained in the last 2 years - every ounce from my cooking). So along with the kids' help, this is going to be both thoughtful and budget conscious!
Step One: The week prior to Thanksgiving, the family brainstorms all the people we wish to give gifts to this year.
Step Two: Thanksgiving weekend we hunt through recipes and find our favorites.
Step Three: Dough Day! The first Saturday in December the kids AND I (instead of just me by myself) make all the dough we will need for all the different cookies. Wrap them all in plastic/wax paper/etc and put them in the deep freeze downstairs. (Side Note: For cookies that must be rolled, we can roll them, cut them, and freeze the cut cookies!)
Step Four: The Thursday after 'Dough Day' is Baking Day (this one is mostly me). Friday is Decorate Day (kids are helping once again). Saturday is Packaging Day, and Sunday will be Delivery Day. This works really well since delivering cookies tends to go along with sitting and talking and hanging out with the recipients for a bit.
Expensive packaging you say? Never! Just head down to the dollar store and pick up Take Out boxes, Wedding Favor boxes, or whatever you think would be cute and fun.
We are going to have so much fun!
So what do you think? Any ideas on what you can do differently this year to ease the stress? Recipe ideas? Let me know in the comments!


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