The holidays are a wonderful time of year to spend with family and friends, and to reconnect with those you may not often see. However, the festive season can also be a busy and expensive time. By January, many are left feeling exhausted physically, emotionally and financially. But don’t let the stress of the season stand in the way of the magic — follow these easy tips and tricks to enjoy a more relaxing and joyful holiday season.

Make a list: And check it twice. Getting organized this holiday season can save you time and money. When shopping for holiday gifts, having a complete list before you enter the store can prevent you from browsing the aisles for items you do not need. You will also have an estimated total cost before shopping, so you can stick to your budget.

Send e-cards: It is always exciting to receive holiday mail from loved ones, but between the postage and printing fees, sending your own cards can quickly add up. Sending e-cards, however, is a more cost-effective approach and you can send as many as you’d like. You can also apply the money you save to your gifting budget.

Wrap like a pro: Gift wrapping can be one of the most time consuming activities of the holidays. However, there are multiple hacks to expedite the wrapping process. For oddly shaped gifts — use paper bags and decorate with a silver paint marker. You can also spruce up plain wrapping paper using twine, ribbons and stencils.

Monitor for deals: Online holiday shopping has made it easy to avoid the craze of the mall. But another added benefit of shopping from home is finding ways to avoid paying full price. Once you reach the checkout page, do a quick online search for discount codes for that particular site. You will be shocked to find how simple it is to save a few extra bucks or even snag free shipping.

— Brandpoint


According to Forbes, the NHL’s most valuable teams are:

1. New York Rangers ($1.5 billion)

2. Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.4 billion)

3. Montreal Canadiens ($1.25 billion)

4. Chicago Blackhawks ($1 billion)

5. Boston Bruins ($890 million)

6. Los Angeles Kings ($750 million)

7. Philadelphia Flyers ($740 million)

8. Vancouver Canucks ($730 million)

9. Detroit Red Wings ($700 million)

10. Pittsburgh Penguins ($650 million)


17.3 percent: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation for married couples with children makes up 17.3 percent of their monthly expenditures.


Airlines to limit use of ‘smart luggage’

Some U.S. airlines are limiting the use of some “smart luggage” due to concerns about the safety of the luggage’s lithium batteries during the busy holiday travel season. Smart luggage can feature USB ports for charging devices, GPS to track the bag’s location, electronic locks, weight scales and some even double as a scooter for the user, but airline have expressed concerns about the bags’ lithium batteries that could cause a fire in the cargo hold without being detected. The bans will allow fliers to check the bags if the battery can be removed and carried in the cabin of the plane.

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