Life Strategies

3 Ways to Break Bad Holiday Shopping Habits

’Tis the season of temptations. No wonder you end up busting your budget every December. Learn how to resist your worst buying habits and your favorite retailers’ enticements, from free hot chocolate to, yes, even “Jingle Bell Rock.”    

Inexpensive Gifts Everyone on Your List Will Love

Real Simple readers share the most useful gift ideas.

An Introvert’s Guide to Holiday Parties

Can we loop you in? Your next round of holiday cocktail parties will be less awkward with these strategies for asserting—and inserting—yourself.

Why 1 Mom Decided to Raise Her Children Around the World

Despite spending a year in Nice, Emma Donoghue never mastered French. But she learned a more important lesson: The places you go show you all the weird in the world (and that’s a good thing).

Gifts That Give Back—That Your Friends Actually Want

There was a time when you had to choose between delighting a recipient and making a small move for social good. But now you can win on both counts. Here’s a batch of handpicked beauties your friends and family will love that also happen to boost really worthy causes. Read, get inspired, click, give... and collect the hugs. Everybody wins.

15 Sunday Rituals to Make the Week Ahead Easier

Real Simple readers share their favorite activities.

This New Form of Journaling Will Make You Ultra-Organized

And don’t worry—creating a personal bullet journal isn’t as overwhelming as it seems on Instagram.

The Ultimate Holiday Return Policy Guide

When the holidays have come to a close and you have a pile of gifts that just didn’t work, the last thing you want to do is schlep to the store only to find out you can’t make a return. There’s nothing more annoying than waiting in the long returns and exchanges line at the department store or boutique. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as painful as it seems and you’ll still be able to return your item to get something that you’ll really want to use. If you don’t feel like reading through the fine print on the gift receipt or website, you’re in luck. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you with this list of popular retailers and their holiday return policies. With some, you’ll have to return as soon as possible (like within a week or two), but for others you have a bit more time to figure out if you want to keep the item or exchange it for something else. We even included whether you can return the item for a refund or gift card, or exchange it for something else in store. Plus, there are guidelines on if there are any exceptions to the policy—for instance, if you can still bring it back to the store if you’ve opened the packaging, or if it was personalized with your initials. Take a look at the list on the next pages and write down some notes so you don’t have to stress.

8 Morning Routines to Establish Before Turning 30

Daily routines that just might turn you into a morning person.