5 Smart Christmas Shortcuts

Save over six hours by trying these holiday time-savers and shortcuts.

Photo by Brian Henn

Kill two birds at turkey time. As you’re packing the fancy tableware post-Thanksgiving, wrap each piece of silver in acid-free tissue paper and seal handfuls in airtight plastic bags. (A combination of things, including humidity and compounds in the air, causes tarnish.) Then you won’t have to polish again for Christmas.
Time saved: 1 hour

Retire the family newsletter. With nearly everyone using social media, the old-school annual recap has become unnecessary.
Time saved: 2 hours

Bake in bulk. Make a massive batch of sugar cookies early in the season. You can freeze the dough or the baked cookies. (Thaw on the counter the night before serving.)
Time saved: 1½ hours

Reconsider the crystal. Hand washing delicate glassware for a dozen people is perhaps best left for an event that’s not in the middle of the most hectic season. Stick with your nicest dishwasher-safe glassware to make life easier before and after the meal.
Time saved: 1 hour

Skip the party playlist. Delegate DJ duties to a music-streaming service, like Pandora, that lets you choose from multiple preprogrammed seasonal channels or customize a mix (say, Perry Como + the Waitresses) in less than 60 seconds.
Time saved: 30 minutes

Streamline the shopping. Check out the Real Simple Holiday Gift Guide and see how many people you can cross off your list.
Time saved: Incalculable!