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1. Get real

If you're travelling this week, chances are you're coming home with gifts. So plan ahead and be ruthless about what you need for the trip. Consider your gym gear, for instance. Just leave it at home. Oh, you're going to workout Christmas morning? Sure, keep telling yourself that.

2. Ditch the books

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You might have cozy visions of curling up by the fire with a good read, but chances are if you're known for being a bookworm, a novel or two will be waiting for you under the tree. Be patient.

3. Cull your toiletries

Your hair can survive a few days without your favourite shampoo; go with the hotel minis or whatever your mom keeps in the guest bathroom. And if you're visiting family, grandma doesn't care whether you're wearing eyeliner/your signature scent/beard oil/etc. She's just happy to see you.

4. Unplug (at least a bit)

Unless you truly need it for work (and aren't you on holiday?), leave the laptop at home. Your suitcase will feel lighter – and your spirit will as well. Planning on catching up on Outlander during the flight? A tablet will do the trick.

5. Reduce the bulk

Winter is a season of cumbersome gear, but it is possible to downsize. Opt for thinner layers (merino wool is good) as opposed to thick knits (as hilarious as that ugly sweater may be) and roll them up in a compression bag. If you're staying with family, consider going without your own outdoor accessories. After all, what Canadian closet isn't overflowing with spare mittens and tuques?

Cook and author Julie Van Rosendaal shows you how easy it is to make a great meringue.
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