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How To Beat Holiday Stress

It seems as though Christmas has become a month-long game of Where's Waldo.

If we want to remember the real reason for the season,we have to look for Him. It's not that He is intentionally lost in the midst of all the commercial hype and holiday obligations we are all bombarded with... it just sort of happens. You know what I mean?

There are just so many other things during Christmas that tug at our attention. In fact I know a lot of women who are so stressed out around the holiday, that they find it difficult to enjoy at all. They break their backs (and their bank accounts) making sure that every year is a perfect experience for their children. Making sure that they are keeping up with the other women and families in their life in the way of holiday baking, neighbor gifts, decorating, Christmas cards and letters, etc.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Here are five ways to beat holiday stress:

1.) Start preparing for next year, this year.
Hit the 'After Christmas' sales and pick up wrapping paper, treat tins, mugs, holiday candles, cards -anything you used this year that you'll need again next year. You'll pay A LOT less and it will be one (or two) less errand(s) next year.

2.) Call your child(ren)'s teachers early and ask what their plans are for any holiday parties.
This way you won't be surprised when they come home announcing they volunteered you to make 45 cupcakes or cut out 28 Santa hats and beards that are for the class party tomorrow. (Speaking of teachers, as a former one I can tell you that a small note of praise and gratitude will mean infinitely more than the snowman mug, the box of chocolates, or the plate of cookies. And it's a lot cheaper/ easier for you.)

3.) If there are ward/ company/ extended family/ friend/ neighbor parties that you don't want to attend, don't.
Send a card to the host/ hostess explaining your appreciation for the invite and your regrets that you won't be able to attend. If feel you need an excuse, say you have "prior family obligations" No one is going to argue that family comes first at this time of year. Do something as just a family that night instead and don't feel guilty about it.

4.) Participate in cookie exchanges for your goodie plates, or drop the tradition all together
Sub it for something easier and less time consuming like candles, simple ornaments, cards or family caroling.

5.) Simplify Santa Claus and the gift buying for your kids.
It's difficult, I realize this, but I've seen how a lot of different families do things and I know that there is true wisdom and value to the "less is more" concept.

Remember, Christmas does come around every year. If we simplify and plan ahead, I know that we can ENJOY the season, remember the Savior, and still get everything done.


Heather likes to think of herself as A Goddess in Progress, which is where she normally spills out the personal triumphs, failures, discoveries, and random details of her life.


*Photos by Kevin Dooley and Flickr

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