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Readers Respond: Tips for Holiday Stress Relief

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How do you reduce stress during the holidays without sacrificing the enjoyment of the season? Share your best strategies for holiday stress relief. Share Your Best Ideas

Simple + Fun = Best Time Ever

The days of extravagant menus and weeks of shopping for gifts that were nice but unwanted are over. I keep the menu down to favorites, and I ask what the kids want so they are happy and I'm happy with the gifting process. There may not be as many surprises, but there is a lot more satisfaction. Happy holidays to everyone.
—Guest Judy @GrandparentsPlus2

Spend Less

A few years ago my family (the adults) transitioned into having a "Santa Swap" gift exchange game rather than buying for each individual. Instead of each of us buying a gift for everyone, we agree on an amount (usually $30) and each person brings 1 gift of that value. We draw numbers and take turns opening, stealing and swapping gifts until every gift is open. It makes shopping fun and less stressful because now there's a lower amount to spend and less people to buy for. It's also fun trying to get a gift appropriate for anyone. We all look forward to it because you never know who'll get your gift and we make sure to steal gifts because it's more fun that way. After the game we tend to barter and swap gifts and share whatever we "won" or "ended up with" ;)
—TaraLReed

Holiday stress

This year, I'm using a couple of vacation days from work to do my holiday shopping and baking, while the kids are still in school. Not sure if that will help, but it's got to be better than last year's alternative, which consisted of trying to squeeze everything in at night or on weekends and going nuts. :-)
—parentingyoungadults

Keep It Simple

I used to start my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving and wouldn't get finished until Christmas Eve. This year, I started Friday. I'm already done. I keep it simple now. I asked what my family wanted. If they said nothing, they get a gift card. I am disabled so if someone wants something specific, I call the store to see if they will hold it at the front desk. Most stores will, which is a big help to my new keep it simple rule. I'm not forced to go up and down every aisle in search of something. I get home quicker. I'm in less pain. I get to spend more time with my family -- what the holidays are all about.
—Guest Lillie

Family Time and Back To Basics

Stress seems to be even more prevalent in today's economic climate. Pressure at work, struggling finances, and possible layoffs can take a toll on the family. And the stresses we face in these times are not forgiving of the season. I resort to a lot of family time. We make Christmas shopping a family event, at least to a degree. We go in groups and share the experience, admiring the decor and excitement of the season as much as the bargain-hunting. A family drive to see neighborhood holiday lights can be loads of fun! Pop up some popcorn, grab some sodas, and load up the car for a tour of Christmas lights. Sharing these experiences will remind us that everyone faces some degree of stress during the holidays, and puts things into perspective. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself or hide your woes during the holidays. Seek comfort in those you love. They are the ones (hopefully) who will love you just as you are!
—Guest Keith Bryant

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Tips for Holiday Stress Relief

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