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How to reduce the stress of the holidays

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Eliminate last-minute holiday stress

With the countdown until Christmas in full swing, your stress levels are likely out of control. But don't let this festive time of year freak you out.

With a little planning and even some downtime, you'll be ready to celebrate the holidays... sans meltdowns!

Be willing to delegate

If you are overwhelmed by the thought of staying up all night on Christmas Eve wrapping gifts for the kids, hire some elves. Surely teens in the neighborhood will want to earn a few bucks helping you out. Don't wait until the last minute to make your lists and check them twice. Meet with your helping hands (husbands, moms and best friends) in advance to see how you can all help one another out... because everyone needs a little help during the holidays.

Consider these other simple shortcuts for busy moms >>

Don't sweat the small stuff

Don't let freaking out over the minutia derail you from focusing on the big picture — and the real reason for the season. Whether you forget to buy a gift for your cousin's new girlfriend or neglect to put out the cranberry sauce for Christmas dinner, it's nothing to stress out about. The holiday season should be about enjoying the company of your family and friends, not worrying about every last detail.

Shop smart

Don't stress over last minute holiday shopping. Keep your gift list with you at all times (whether on your smartphone or a small notebook in your purse) in case you get a chance to swing by that new boutique in your neighborhood or the toy store across from your office. Don't overextend your budget — that will frazzle you even more. Comparison shop online to find the best deals.

If there's no time left for shopping, take advantage of late-night store hours to get your shopping done. You don't have to purchase something for every single person on your gift list. Combine individual gifts for married couples and families into one group gift instead. You can also create handmade gifts at home rather than buying something. Homemade Christmas ornaments or fresh baked goodies are always appreciated.

Read about these personalized handmade Christmas gifts >>

Simplify entertaining

If you have tons of relatives in town for the holidays, don't feel obligated to go all out with cooking and baking every day. It's easy to treat your family (and yourself) to a holiday meal out without spending a bundle. Try websites like RedPlum.com, Restaurant.com and Groupon.com to find restaurant coupons and gift certificates at discount prices.

Take some "me" time

Take some "me" time throughout the holiday season so you don't end up so stressed out that you start chucking gifts across the room and tearing down decorations on Christmas Eve. Schedule a pedicure or a massage at the salon a few days before Christmas — be sure to book in advance as these services are in-demand during the holidays.

If you can't get away for a splurge, treat yourself every night before bed with a soothing bubble bath or some relaxing yoga poses.

Check out these other stress-busting tips for busy moms >>

More holiday tips for moms

iPad apps to help moms cope with the holidays
Stress-free holiday shopping tips
New mom's guide to surviving the holidays with a newborn

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