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Decrease stress for a happier holiday season 


Holiday stress comes in many forms including pressure to spend money, make the perfect meal and buy the perfect gifts. Avoiding stress can be difficult. Other people, magazine articles and the television are all telling us what we have to do, cook or buy to have a happy holiday, but we have a choice to not fall for it.

Have a plan and stick with it. Issues may differ from family to family, but some examples are:

  • Decide, along with the rest of your family, what a meaningful holiday is consists of.
  • Budget for gifts, activities, etc. without the use of credit cards. Spending more than you can afford will cause more stress in the long run.
  • Decide how many parties/activities your family can attend. Over-committing can cause events that should be fun to become dreaded obligations.
  • Reserve time to help others by volunteering at a homeless shelter, providing food for needy families, visiting shut-ins or nursing home residents, etc.
  • Split responsibilities as appropriate between family members.
  • Acknowledge the presence of sadness or grief if someone close to you has died recently or you cannot be with loved ones.
  • Be realistic. Understand that no family’s holidays are perfect. What we see on television is just that – television. Do not have unrealistic expectations of how the celebrations will be.
  • Accept that traditions can change because of changing family situations. Start new traditions.
  • Set aside grievances and differences and accept friends and family as they are. Find a more appropriate time to discuss problems.
  • Take some relaxation time for yourself. Get a massage, read or listen to music.
  • Get plenty of rest and continue healthy habits.
  • Remember that you can’t do everything. It is OK to say no.


The holiday season should be joyful, not stress-filled. Keep things in perspective, use humor and be realistic.

Live happily in the moment of togetherness with friends and family without being in a rush. Remember that the world will not end if the meal isn’t perfect, and for gifts, it really is the thought that counts.