7 Easy Ways to Make the Holidays Less Stressful

Are you feeling less than jolly? The holidays can be a stressful time. When it comes time for holiday shopping and hauling your kids from house to house for celebrations, lots of people tend to wig out. It’s OK — holiday stress is a normal part of life, and you don’t have to let it get you down. These quick and easy fixes are sure to put you in the holiday spirit. ‘Tis the season!

  1. Plan Ahead

    Fortune favors the prepared mind, and this goes double for the holiday season. Anticipating times of stress and planning activities and to-do lists ahead of time is a simple way to decrease stress. Keep a calendar, buy plane tickets and make travel arrangements early, and enjoy a little pre-holiday peace of mind.

  2. Don’t Overcommit

    You don’t have to RSVP to every invitation, and you don’t have to go home for the holidays, either. The holidays should be a time to give thanks for what’s important to you, not a time to buckle under social pressure. There’s no need to stress yourself out by over-committing; you’ll likely still have work and regular life to schedule in, as well.

  3. Save Your Money

    The holidays usually involve gift giving, but there’s no need to stress

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    about your finances. If you don’t have the budget for gifts, you have lots of free options to show your holiday spirit to friends. A handwritten note, the gift of some time, or a heartfelt conversation can be the greatest gifts of all.

  4. Don’t Feel Guilty

    Let this be your mantra for the holiday season: Don’t feel guilty. Can’t make it to the company party? Don’t have enough money to buy everyone a great gift? Not in the mood to celebrate? It’s fine. Be proactive about your holiday decisions and attitude. Do what works best for you, or overbook yourself to exhaustion. Whatever you choose, don’t feel guilty when something’s gotta give.

  5. Communicate

    One of the best ways to decrease holiday stress is to practice communicating during this time. The electronic age makes this easy to do, and group e-mails, suggested calendar alerts, and the like can go a long way. When everyone feels included and informed, there’s less reason for stressful moments. You don’t have to get overly personal, either. Short, sweet, and to the point makes for easy dialog.

  6. Use the Buddy System

    Whether it’s cooking, partying, traveling, or shopping, the buddy system is a mutually beneficial way to operate during the holidays. Your sibling, partner, or best friend could be your holiday buddy. Check in with one another and combine efforts when possible. You’ll save money, time, and you’re certain to feel less stressed.

  7. Manage Your Expectations

    Gift-giving can be stressful, but so can receiving gifts. Entertaining family and attending events can also be stressful, and you can save your sanity by managing expectations. Expect good behavior of children, and a good attitude of yourself and your loved ones. But don’t raise your blood pressure due to unforeseen events, or even a bad day. Your holidays can be fun while also being a bit stressful, so make sure you’re realistic about what you expect.