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How to Have a Simple, Stress-Free Holiday Season

Updated on April 30, 2013
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Most of us love the holiday season. The hustle and bustle can be exhilarating. The festivities are often quite enjoyable. The food, the gifts, the lights, and the music give many of us great joy. Despite all of these positives, however, the holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year for most people. But, is it possible to enjoy even more by stress less during the season? Sure it is.

Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress

Stress is an unhealthy alert response that will eventually wear the body down. Though we generally associate stress with the negative events of our lives, it is important to remember that even those positive aspects of live can cause of great (and often unnecessary) stress. Many of us become overwhelmed in the face of holiday preparations. From meal planning, to shopping, to decorating - we often feel it necessary to do it all and we give ourselves very little time to get it all done. If you are interested in having a holiday season that is stress-free, it may be necessary to make some very real changes to your normal holiday routine.

1. Instead of trimming the tree, trim you to-do list. Chances are everything you need to do this holiday season really don't have to be done. Prioritizing is the key. Ask yourself, "what will happen if I don't do this?" If the answer is nothing (or nothing much) consider foregoing that particular chore.

2. Wrap as you go. It may be tempting to buy all those gifts and save the wrapping for an all at once job, but resist this urge. Start wrapping early and wrap as you go purchase. Even if you do not have bows and labels, go ahead and wrap that box. Pencil in the name where the bow will go and attach the adornment later.

3. Simplify your decor. Consider decorating smaller spaces this year. Instead of lunging home a giant tree, consider miniatures instead. Consider a simple door wreath as oppose to a yard full of outdoor lights and inflatables.

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4. Buy instead of bake. Holiday fare can be purchased at your local supermarket, discount store, or bulk warehouse. Pre-baked treats taste great and save you from the added hassle of kitchen duty.

5. Cut the gift giving list down to size. Many families limit gifts to children only or organize a gift exchange that limits the expense or the number of gifts. Consider drawing names and purchasing only one gift, ensuring that everyone gets one.

6. Stay in good company. Many holiday task are better done as a group. Consider "card pooling by Inviting friends over to complete cards together. Bake together or even wrap gifts together. Making it fun goes along way to relieving stress.

7. Clean areas with public access only. Instead of doing a full sweep of every nook and cranny of your home, only clean those areas accessible to your guest. Avoid heavy duty cleaning and chores such as carpet cleaning for after the holidays.

8. Avoid the fine china. It may be tempting to use your best china for holiday festivities but remember clean up is coming. Use festive paper plates instead.

9. Enjoy what's right in front of you. The holidays is one of the most beautiful time of year. Many of us are so busy preparing that we forget to take a few minutes to truly enjoy this beauty. Look around and actually enjoy the decor and scenery. Smell the cookies and enjoy the music. After all, the holidays only come once a year.

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