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Prep yourself for the stress of the season

Once Thanksgiving arrives, other end-of-the-year holidays are just around the corner. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by stress this season.

Keep track of your kids’ school special events and days off

Thanksgiving is the kick-off to your kids’ school special holiday events and programs. Check the school’s schedules and update your own calendar so you won’t miss a single Christmas program, half day or holiday feast. Don’t forget kids will likely have at least two weeks off school for winter break, so plan ahead for winter camp or fun activities to keep your kids occupied during the break.

Check out one good-humored woman’s approach to the holiday calendar >>

Prepare in advance

An entire holiday meal is tough to pull off all in one day. So prepare as much food as you can in advance. Sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing and casseroles can be prepared days before and then reheated on the big day. Ask your guests to pitch in with items like appetizers or desserts and enlist your kids to help set the table.

Spread out your shopping

Instead of trying to get all your shopping done in one fell swoop — whether it’s on Black Friday or Christmas Eve — spread out your holiday shopping spree into smaller shopping segments.

Order a few things online, pick up stocking stuffers during your regular errands and split up shopping trips to coincide with your paydays so you never have to feel strapped for cash during the holidays.

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Have your kids (and husband!) check in before accepting holiday party invites

When the holiday party invitations start rolling in, hold a family meeting — and bring your calendars! Prioritize each invitation by the ones you must attend, ones you want to attend and ones you can skip this year. Make sure each member of your family gets to attend at least one coveted holiday party.

Expect the unexpected

It’s practically a given that at some point over the holidays, you’ll receive some unexpected guests. Some may pop by to drop off gifts or some out-of-towners may surprise you with a visit. Be prepared for anything by stocking your pantry with a few bottles of good wine, crackers and jars of marinated olives and artichoke hearts. Pack your fridge with some good cheese, crudité and thinly sliced meats like salami and — voila — you’re set for anything!

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Remember the true spirit of the season

Regardless of your religion, the holidays have become more and more commercial and less and less focused on the true spirit of the season. Instead of stressing over getting in line on Thanksgiving night to score the perfect Christmas gifts for your kids, spend some quality time with them bonding and making memories that will last much longer than the latest toy.

More on the holidays

Holiday stress? 10 Ways to relax and enjoy the season
?Money- and time-saving holiday shopping tips
?An old-fashioned Christmas

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