Holiday time can be incredibly stressful with additional family needs and work obligations and trying to meet with friends as well. This can produce so much addition on stress that we don’t realize how much stress that we are experiencing during holiday and vacation periods such as Christmas and the month of December.

There’s just one advice I can give to manage holiday stress. It works well for me and I hope it does for you too.

Ready? Here goes:

Manage your expectations.

You know, not everything is perfect. I always look back to one of my favorite movies, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase. Pretty much anything that can go wrong does go wrong in this movie. His expectations were very high. Everything is perfect and everything should be a Norman Rockwell scene. This just doesn’t happen in reality. Can I get an amen for that?

My biggest suggestion is to keep your expectations realistic and to not put additional pressure on yourself and your family during the holidays. It’s okay if the turkey is a little lop-sided or your cake doesn’t come out quite right. Those are the types of things that create memories for you or your family.

If you remove some of those expectations of perfection during this time, you can really relax, enjoy your family and just enjoy your time together. You don’t necessarily have to pick the perfect gift for someone or create the perfect meal. There is such an incredible amount of pressure put on people and people put on themselves for the holidays. And really, the holidays are about family and friends – being together and celebrating your beliefs. It’s not about the perfect table setting or the perfect gift packaging or the perfect whatever.

Bottomline, let yourself relax and enjoy the holiday season.

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