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The holidays are a time to spend with the people you love. But it can be easy to get caught up in the bustle and feel like you missed out. We’ve got some ideas to make the most of the season and make sweet, lasting memories along the way.

Our Top Tips for Making Your Holiday Simple and Stress-Free

It sometimes feels like the holidays get more frantic every year. Between neighborhood potlucks and visiting family, office parties and the holiday bake sale (the one you forgot about until the morning of), it can feel like the season turns into a sprint.

But every one of those things you’re running to and from has the potential to be a special holiday moment. And finding some “holiday hacks” to get you through will make each thing on the list more enjoyable. Here are our top tips for keeping your holiday fun:

1. Count down the days, but don’t skip ahead.

Count down the days, but don’t skip ahead.

We absolutely love Advent calendars, don’t get us wrong. But the countdown can turn into a march toward a deadline if you let it run your holiday schedule.

Instead, use the countdown as a way to build in activities you want to do around the other things you feel like you have to do. Make time for your favorite holiday movies, or baking with kids — not for the aforementioned bake sale, but just because! Try combining the two with this DIY Advent calendar that ties an activity to each day (and some chocolate, of course).

2. Go for easy gifts that are still unique.

Go for easy gifts that are still unique.
If you’re still working on gifts the week before Christmas, you’re in good company! Holiday gift baskets are an easy solution for everyone on your list: friends, family and co-workers. Mix and match fillers based on your giftee for a present that shows what makes them special. You’re not limited to snacks and candy, either: Pop in a candle, bottle of wine or something related to their hobby, like measuring spoons. Then give your basket an extra personal touch with these printable candy bar wrappers and gift tags.
Here are some ideas for holiday-themed basket fillers:
  • HERSHEY’S KISSES Hot Cocoa Candies: These HERSHEY’S KISSES Milk Chocolates have gooey marshmallow creme in the center. Include a whole bag in your gift basket, or use the individually wrapped candy as filler! They’re perfect for your friend who looks forward to cocoa season all year round.
  • REESE’S Peanut Butter Mystery Shapes Snack Size: Part of the fun of unwrapping these REESE’S Peanut Butter Mystery Shapes is wondering what’s inside: a bell, a stocking or a snowman? Add a little chocolate peanut butter cheer to your family’s baskets.

  • KIT KAT® Sweet Cinnamon Miniatures: You could go the extra mile and bake cinnamon buns for your giftee … but who needs to when you’ve got these holiday breaks! Each of these KIT KAT® Bars is individually wrapped to look like a little toy soldier.

3. Find ways to get everyone involved in the baking.

Find ways to get everyone involved in the baking.
Like gift wrapping, holiday baking can become a chore that gets left to “Santa.” As Christmas draws closer, you might wind up working round the clock to make sure the day goes off without a hitch. Make it fun all the way through: Gather family and friends and have a holiday baking party!
  • Snowman Spoons: You don’t have to get fancy with chocolate molds to make something memorable. Simply sit back and relax with a steaming mug of milk and a flavor-swirling chocolate spoon. Use white baking chips to make these snowmen with sprinkle scarves!

  • Chocolate Shot Glasses: These edible shot glasses will take your Christmas party to the next level. Fill them with eggnog for a holiday toast — then clink, sip and take a bite from the milk chocolate cup. Just be sure to make an extra for Santa’s milk.

  • Winter Wonderland Snowman Brownies: Your cookie cutter works on brownies, too! Use powdered sugar to make the snow and cocoa powder for the winter hats. The kids will love helping you give these snow-pals their milk chocolate buttons.

4. Stack your tasks by making decorating an activity.

Stack your tasks by making decorating an activity.

If breaking out the decorations feels like a lot, give yourself permission to try something different this year. Just like we mentioned earlier how you want to schedule joy into your planning process, make decorating stress-free by combining it with bonding time. Craft these DIYs using Hershey candy in front of a movie marathon. In the end, you’ll have a specular centerpiece and lots of laughs to boot! 

  • Holiday Candy Topiaries: Set the table with something straight out of Candyland. We’re a fan of creating topiaries from holiday candy for an enchanting alternative to store-bought decorations. Get started by eating some ROLO® Creamy Caramels in Rich Chocolate Candy so you have enough foils to make a tree!
  • KISSES Wreath: Give guests a sweet welcome with this wreath made from HERSHEY’S KISSES Candy! Their holiday foils will shine like baubles on the Christmas tree.

Don't be afraid of a holiday hack or two.

Doing it all yourself is awesome. But don’t feel like you have to! We’re here to help you have your best holiday season yet. However you celebrate, we hope these holiday hacks help you have a fun and stress-free celebration. Because the most important part is to make nice memories and spread some heartwarming cheer.

For more easy ideas for holiday entertaining, check out our crowd-pleasing party snack hacks.