• After Christmas sales are a great time to buy not only gift wrap (look for solid colors that you can use all year long), and holiday cards and decorations, but also next season’s winter wear. Things like scarves and gloves can be great bargains. And even coats can go on sale. Take advantage — especially if you have kids — and buy up. — A.K. in Tennessee
• For every side dish that requires extra preparation time, plan for one or two that don’t. For instance, if you are preparing a casserole with many ingredients and complicated instructions, serve a package of vegetables that require nothing more than steaming.
• How to peel potatoes: Boil whole potatoes with skin on for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes). You should be able to stick a knife all the way through without resistance. Then remove them to an ice bath for 10 seconds each. The skin will slip right off.
• Researchers tell us that the best time to interview is late morning on a Tuesday. You will avoid the interviewer’s likely Monday/ Friday crunch, and have his or her full attention. Do your homework on the company, and get ready to shine!
• “Have kids make their own whipped cream with a jam jar! Fill a screw-top jar (glass, chilled, works really well) halfway with heavy cream, a little sugar and any flavoring extracts you like, then seal and shake. Kids also can make butter with cream in a jar. You may add a pinch of salt instead of sugar, and shake longer.” — A.A. in Florida
• Wine buyers tip: Experts say to multiply the number of adult guests by a half bottle to determine how many bottles of wine to buy for your holiday gathering. Add an additional glass of wine per guest for every hour after dinner you expect guests to linger.
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