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How to keep your cool this holiday season

Although it should be a purely positive occasion, the winter holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year for many women. Make this holiday season an enjoyable one with these simple tips.

woman writing holiday list

Get things done early

Although some things you won’t be able to get done until the big day gets closer, there are plenty of tasks you can complete well in advance. Leave the week before Christmas for the last-minute tasks, and make sure to get these out of the way well before Dec. 25 approaches:

  • Buying presents: It’s never too early!
  • Wrapping presents: If you wrap them as soon as you bring them home, you won’t have to worry about anyone sneaking a peek!
  • Putting up outside decor and lights: This can be tiring and tedious, so get it done at least three weeks in advance if possible.
  • Planning out Christmas meals: Make a list so you know exactly what you’ll need to buy when Christmas approaches and can put it out of your mind until then.
  • Doing an overall cleaning: Sure, you’ll want to do a quick tidying up closer to the date, but get any big jobs like dusting and reorganizing out of the way a few weeks before.
  • Putting up indoor decorations: If you have a lot of decorations, make the process a little more manageable by committing to unpacking one box every other day at the beginning of December.
  • Getting a final head count on guests: Of course you don’t want to be pushy, but you have a right to know how many people are coming so you can plan accordingly. So don’t be afraid to fight for those RSVPs!

You may feel silly getting your tree out a month before Christmas, but if that’s what it takes to ensure you’re calm and together when the holiday approaches, then do it!

Delegate a few tasks

Kids may want to play with their video games, and spouses may want to retreat to their offices, but it isn’t fair that you do all the work while everyone else unwinds. Remind them that it takes everyone to make the holiday the special time they want it to be. Little kids can help with decorating and the occasional cleaning chore, older kids can help prepare meals, and adults can contribute to some of the bigger decor tasks, such as hanging lights and getting things out of storage. Don’t attempt to take on everything yourself, because your getting stressed and cranky isn’t helpful or enjoyable for anyone.

Do what makes you happy

The tendency among many women when the holidays arrive is to give up on their basic sources of enjoyment in their efforts to get everything done. But when you spend day after day doing things for others and never thinking of yourself, you can quickly wear yourself out, and then you’re no good to anyone. If going for a half-hour jog in the morning or enjoying a glass of wine and a chapter of a book at night makes you happy, don’t give it up just because you have lots to do. Pick one thing a day to do just for yourself, and make it a priority. After all, you have a right to enjoy the holidays just as much as everyone else!

Don’t sweat the small stuff

During the holidays you will almost certainly be faced with a rude in-law commenting on your “dry” turkey or a child who won’t sit still. As frustrating as these occurrences are, it’s important to remember that the holidays aren’t about perfection. They’re about doing the best you can and having a blast while you’re at it. So enjoy the good moments, and let the less-stellar ones breeze past you.

More on stress maintenance

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