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First, I hope your holidays are filled with love and happiness and that loved ones surround you. The holidays are a perfect time to reflect on the joys of your life and not to be a cause for stress. The last thing you want is to dread the holidays and lose its entire meaning.

You will never have THIS holiday again. Please take a moment to think of all the people who will not have another Christmas with their loved ones this year. How many of them lost a loved one throughout the year and will have to reflect back on last year’s holiday to remember their last time? Were they so busy they do not really remember the last holiday with their loved ones? Were they stressed and grumpy and didn’t appreciate the holidays and the loved ones who surrounded them? We never know what tomorrow will bring, so do your all to make sure that this holiday season is a joyous one for you and all your family and friends.

Here are some tips on how to have a stress-free Christmas:

1. Just like Santa, make lists and check them twice! Seriously, lists are your best friend during the holidays to keep you organized. When you are organized, you manage your time well. When your time is managed well, you have much less stress.

2. If you plan to send Christmas cards, make it easy for yourself! Use pre-made return address labels. You should also have your address book set up as labels within a Word document. This not only saves you so much time but it also saves your aching hand. If you want to completely go sans-writing, order a photo card and have your message, names and year pre-printed on the cards. This way all you are doing is stuffing and sealing an envelope and placing a stamp on it. Easy-peasy!

3. Do not save all your to-do’s for the weekends. Even if you set aside an hour a night, you can get a lot accomplished. Do at least one thing a day. Use your calendar to etch out what you will do which day or night. I personally enjoy having a line-up of Christmas movies along with my favorite drink and simply plopping in the middle of the living room floor and wrap as many presents as I can or have purchased already.

4. Have a budget. Know in advance what your budget is for gifts, food that you need to prepare, and décor (Christmas tree, etc.). Make lists and stick to them, especially when it comes to your budget!

5. Get plenty of rest. Do not feel bad for taking care of you during this time as well.

6. Have fun. Doing all this work is just work unless you have fun doing it. Make as many memories as possible along the way. When decorating the Christmas tree, order pizza that night for dinner, have Christmas music playing in the background, and have everyone help.

7. Take photos. Consider uploading your photos to an online photo store and create a collage of your favorite photos. Do this for your family members and send to them post-holidays as a thank you.

8. Give thanks. When your entire family is present and focused, either right before a meal or right before opening gifts, ask each member to say what they are most thankful for over the past year and why. Taking time for traditions such as this make the difference between a good family gathering and a memorable family gathering.

9. Remember that you can say no. You do not have to accept every invitation that comes your way.

10. Plan ahead for next year. Shop the sales after Christmas and re-stock your supplies. As much as you may be ready for the holidays to be over, take the time to put things away in an orderly fashion so that you are ahead of the game the following year.

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