1. Just Say No. It isn't possible to attend every Christmas party and see every family member. Try taking the path of least resistance and be gentle with yourself when you can't see everyone.
2. Give a donation instead of buying a superficial gift. Does your third cousin really need another scarf? Have you noticed the stores seem to bring out more crap to sell you when it is closer to the holidays? Instead of giving into the pressure of shopping, how about buying your third cousin a card with a donation made out to the United Way or another worth while charity.
3. Let the kids figure it out. Who says you have to do everything? Let the kids decorate the house this year. Sit back and let them.
4. Exercise. This is the best way to give your mind a rest and to release stress. It will also help you sleep better at night.
5. Make time for your partner. Take at least one night out and spend it with your partner doing something other than gift shopping. Have a bottle of wine together and giggle your way through the evening.
6. Schedule a "do nothing day". Literally, sit there and do nothing, just for a day. The most important thing is for you to give yourself the gift of doing nothing. It's better than meditating and it's free.
7. Read a book that has nothing to do with the holidays. If you feel inundated with holiday propaganda, then listen to your feelings and take some space.
8. Call at least one friend you haven't spoken to in a long time, not to wish them a happy holiday, but to say hello. Making the time to connect with someone is better than any card.
9. Sleep in. Take at least one sick day even if you're not coughing and put a wet cloth on your forehead so you don't feel guilty about it.
10. Don't let anyone tell you how you are suppose to feel. Do everything you can to be gentle with yourself. If that means carving out time for yourself, or asking everyone to bring a dish to the Christmas dinner, or letting someone else throw the party at their house, or even avoiding a relative you can't stand, always remember that your heart and salvation need presents too.
Now that's a lot of work! Even an army of little elves would have a hard time putting that together. Try using one of those tiny trees instead, or better yet, simply print this picture and put it on your fridge. Presto! House is decorated! I hope these tips help make your holiday the best ever.
Merry Christmas and Ho ho ho!