Holiday Hassles To Outsource
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13 Holiday Hassles You Can Outsource

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Holiday Hassles To Outsource
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HIRE SOME ELVES

During the holidays, to-do lists explode at a rate that can make enjoying the season seem downright impossible. But it doesn't have to be that way: Others are ready and willing to lend a hand, whether you dread untangling that mess of outdoor lights or wrapping all those oddly shaped gifts. If paying for holiday help seems frivolous, consider this: Researchers have found that spending money to save time does actually buy happiness. Here are 13 ways to outsource holiday chores and regain some holly jolly.

Tree Delivery
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TREE DELIVERY

If you love the smell of a fresh-cut tree but don't have the time to go pick one out, call up a tree delivery service. For instance, Green Valley Christmas Tree ships four different kinds of fir trees grown in Oregon and New Hampshire to homes nationwide. Prices start around $89 for a 5.5- to 6-foot tree, and you can choose exactly when it leaves the farm. Want a local tree? Check with area tree farms and nurseries to see whether they offer delivery.

Gift Wrapping
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GIFT WRAPPING

Some people love wrapping gifts -- and then there are the rest of us. If you fall in the latter camp, there are always mall-based services that spring up for the holidays. If you're shopping online, Amazon can send gifts in eco-friendly organza bags, a service that costs up to $6 a gift, according to Fortune. Even Walmart will wrap a gift purchased online for under $4.

Grocery Shopping
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GROCERY SHOPPING

Whether you need help preparing for a holiday party or don't have time to hit the grocery while you're out buying gifts, it's simple to outsource the groceries these days. Unfortunately, a lot of grocery delivery services are available only in certain metro areas, and they can also be quite pricey. A cheaper option with more widespread availability: grocery pickup. With Kroger's ClickList, you shop online and pick up your groceries without getting out of the car. Fees vary, but $4.95 is typical for non-rush orders.

Outdoor Light Installation
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OUTDOOR LIGHT INSTALLATION

Hate wrestling with all those outdoor lights each year? You can outsource those outdoor lights, but be forewarned: It isn't cheap. Expect to pay at least $400, according to Angie's List -- and that's if your house isn't too large or your desired light display too elaborate. Double-check what's included before hiring lighting pros, or you could be hit with extra charges for light design, fixes, and removal once the holidays are over.

Holiday Transportation
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HOLIDAY TRANSPORTATION

It's a familiar scene: Out-of-town relatives are getting into town while you're at your most frazzled, trying to prepare your home for visitors. Instead of being the airport or train-station shuttle yourself, consider paying for a taxi or even an Uber or Lyft to pick them up instead. But don't assume a ride-hailing app will always be cheaper. For short trips or high-demand times or areas, taxis can still be cheaper, notes Consumer Reports. Some airports also

General Organizing
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GENERAL ORGANIZING

Many families purge before the holidays -- especially parents of little ones dreading an influx of new toys. Others scan old belongings in hopes they can be use during holiday charity drives. If staying organized is your Achilles' heel, professional organizers can help tame the tide of "stuff" for roughly $30 to $80 an hour, according to CostHelper. Bonus: Some will even help with other holiday tasks like decorating or putting decorations away, shopping and wrapping, or mailing cards.

Donation Pickup
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DONATION PICKUP

Once you've got a healthy pile of belongings you no longer need, schlepping to a donation center is another chore that you can cross off your list by choosing a charity that will pick up your haul instead. One such group is the Salvation Army, which will let you schedule a curbside pickup. These services are often free, though donations are always appreciated.

House Cleaning
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HOUSE CLEANING

Hiring a housecleaner may seem like an unnecessary luxury the rest of the year, but it could be well worth the time during the holiday crunch -- especially if you'll be hosting houseguests. Don't need a top-to-bottom scrubbing? Save a little cash by having a cleaner stick to high-traffic areas that will be frequented by guests. Most services will give you a quote for a one-time job, but $200 to $300 is average for a one-off, according to HomeAdvisor.

Bite Squad
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DINNER SERVICES

No, you don't need to pay a personal chef, but there are plenty of ways to make dinnertime less stressful during the holidays. Like to cook, but not shop? Consider trying out a meal-delivery service like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron that send you everything you need for dinner -- they generally start around $10 per serving. A meal-assembly service like Dream Dinners can also cover you for a particularly busy week for roughly $6 a meal.

Gift Shopping
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GIFT SHOPPING

While online shopping has certainly made picking out gifts less of a hassle for many, you can completely wash your hands of it by hiring someone to do the shopping for you. While that could be via a formal personal assistant service -- Girls on the Go in Chicago, for instance, starts at $50 an hour -- you can also hire someone through an app like TaskRabbit to buy gifts (and wrap 'em, and send 'em at the post office) for a flat fee that you specify.

Christmas Cards
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CHRISTMAS CARDS

Christmas-card purists may cry foul, but holiday correspondence can be outsourced, too. If cheap and easy e-cards aren't your thing, Postable allows you to choose a paper card and personalize it with photos and a message in a realistic handwriting-like font. The company then takes care of printing and mailing the cards for you. It costs $2.50 a pop for 10 or more cards. Sent-Well will even send holiday cards bearing your message and handwritten by a flesh-and-blood person for $4 to $6 each.

Scale Down Your Belongings
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GIFT EXCHANGES

Tasked with organizing yet another gift exchange among friends, family or coworkers? Stop hounding everyone you know to draw names -- Elfster can handle all of your Secret Santa legwork for you for free. Provide the details and then Elfster takes over, emailing participants with their giftee, spending limit, and any necessary reminders. It even includes a wish-list function just in case you'd prefer not to get another tie or candle this year.

Holiday Baking
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HOLIDAY BAKING

Whether you stop by the supermarket bakery or the mom-and-pop cake shop, holiday baking is one of the easiest chores to outsource. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most taboo, as any parent who's gotten the evil eye after taking store-bought cupcakes to the school bake sale can attest. Solution? Buy your baked goods where you please, but rough 'em up so they look homemade. For instance, use dollops of whipped cream to hide overly smooth pie tops or (sloppily) frost store-bought cookies yourself.