1.  Establish realistic expectations. It is very easy to buy into the idea that we can create the “perfect picture Christmas”      and that will make everyone happy.  This can become a recipe for creating increased stress and anxiety around the season. Organize your time by being realistic about what you can and cannot do and accepting that things often do not turn out the way we plan.

2.  Take good care of yourself and your family by eating healthy foods, getting plenty of rest, and pace yourself by spreading enjoyable activities throughout the entire season. Save time for yourself by recharging your batteries and letting others share some of the responsibilities.

3.  Stay in the present and enjoy what is happening here and now.  Don’t set yourself up by comparing today with the “good ole days”, especially considering that our memories tend to be skewed.  You will find that being present allows you to feel more calm and centered and enjoy what is actually going on.

4. Identify and honor your thoughts and feelings.  Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons to feel sad and lonely.  Be compassionate with yourself  and others and allow for the fact that some years the holidays may not be  so merry and bright.

5.  The holidays can be a time to reflect on and be grateful for the blessings of the past year.

Adapted from Surviving Family Gatherings and Other Seasonal Stresses by Web MD