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Merry and bright and oh, who are we kidding? Busy as all hell. Make your December that much less stressful by following these 28 steps now.  

RELATED: 11 Essential Holiday Party Survival Tips

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1. Send formal invites to your holiday party. Nab a prime-time slot and get your fete on friends’ calendars before the influx.

2. Then get your own social calendar organized. And don’t be afraid to say no if you’re overbooked/over it.

3. Buy a new cocktail dress. One that’s easy to throw on and makes you feel great--it will earn its keep this season.

4. And send past years' festive frocks to the cleaners. You don’t want to discover that marinara stain 20 minutes before Sharon’s party.

5. Stock up on wrapping paper. Because the rolls that are still available on Christmas Eve are truly depressing.

6. And stamps. Stay away from the post office after Thanksgiving.

7. Send out holiday cards. Don’t be the woman paying for overnight delivery on December 22.

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8. Write out a master gift list. Like most things in life, holiday shopping is easier--and more productive--with a game plan.

9. Then start ordering online. Save schlep wherever possible.

10. OK fine, hit the stores on the weekdays. Sneak out at about 3 p.m. for an infinitely less horrible shopping experience.

11. Pick up a gender-neutral gift of two. For surprise secret Santas and last-minute host gifts.  

12. Wrap presents as you buy them. Just be sure to label what’s inside and whom they’re for.

13. Have USPS pick up your packages at home. Stay away from the post office after Thanksgiving, pt. 2.

14. Lock in airfare and travel plans. Before ticket prices spike sky-high.

15. Pick your holiday menu. Hit Pinterest and set your recipes in place.

RELATED: 31 Comfort Food Recipes to Make Every Night in December

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16. Dust off the china.

17. Iron the linens.

18. And polish the silver.  

19. Replace old baking staples. When you’re buying a ham, the last thing you need in your grocery bag is a sack of flour.

20. Cook what you can freeze. A ready-to-go apple pie is always a good idea.

21. Work out and watch your diet. Because apple pie.

22. Then unearth your comfiest yoga pants. Because apple pie.

23. Rest up. Repeat after us: “I will not get sick on my holiday vacation.”

RELATED: 12 Genius Holiday Packing Hacks That Make Travel a Breeze

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24. Deep clean your home. Starting with the least-trafficked spaces first, and give extra love to the guest rooms.  

25. DIY ASAP. If you’re going to make that glittered pinecone garland, it’s time to carpe diem.

26. Then decorate. Why not enjoy the wonderful festiveness that is the holiday season for as long as humanly possible?

27. Hang the mistletoe. And work on elaborately planning how to get your special someone under it.

28. Solidify NYE. Cuz scrambling for last-minute plans really sucks all the fun out of it. (No shame in Chinese takeout and a great movie, folks--it’s bound to be an exhausting December.)

RELATED: 9 Ways to Wear a T-Shirt to a Party

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