It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and also one of the most stressful. This year, keep the joy and lose the holiday stress with these tips!

  1. Gift Less. We aren’t talking about being a Scrooge, but how many gifts do you really need to buy? Most of us have plenty, and buying for every member of the family as well as for friends can become expensive and daunting. Instead, just buy for the kids on your list, and if you want to, draw names for the adults.
  2. That’s a Wrap. For the gifts you do buy, wrap them as you go. This way you won’t have a pile-up that could seem overwhelming, especially if you have several other things on your to-do list.
  3. Cut Back the To-Do List. If something doesn’t get done, what will happen? If the answer is “nothing” then take if off your list of chores. This time of year is busy enough and is meant to be spent enjoying time with others, not stressing about it.
  4. Minimize Décor. Instead of spending an afternoon putting up lights, change to a flood light to add some color. You can also cut back on the inside decorations, keeping it to a simple tree and table centerpiece. This will also make clean-up a breeze after the holidays.
  5. Bake and Buy. Holiday baking is fun until it becomes tedious and stressful. This year, bake a couple batches of your favorite holiday treats and buy the rest.
  6. Get Online. Whether it’s for gifts or groceries, the stores are extra busy this time of year. Crowds and line-ups often add unnecessary stress, avoid them by doing your shopping online.
  7. Enlist Help. If you are hosting a big meal, party or gathering let others bring a dish. Potlucks allow you to have all the fun with a fraction of the work.
  8. Do a Light Cleaning. Focus cleaning and de-cluttering on the main, or public, areas of the house. Bedrooms and other rooms where guests won’t be gathering can be left until after the holidays – or simply for whenever you have time.
  9. Hold an Open House. Instead of spending the holidays going from one family members’ house to another, or hosting 5 different dinners yourself, why not plan an open house? This way everyone can be invited for the same day, and you can do all your cooking, cleaning and entertaining once.
  10. Stay Home. There are lots of different events going on this time of year and as fun as they can be, trying to make it to everything can become a chore. Choose a few select events to attend and then give yourself permission to just stay home.

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By Christine Tompa