Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

8 Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season Enjoy More by Doing Less

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

8 Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season Enjoy More by Doing Less

Article excerpt

This holiday season demands weeks of preparation--buying gifts, mailing cards, planning parties. Author Christine Klein (The Simpler Family, Robin Lane Press 2001) offers some advice to relieve the stress and regain the spirit of the season when the holidays become too hectic to enjoy.

Plan the celebration that YOU want, not the one the others expect it to be. Ask yourself this question: "If our family could spend the holidays the way WE want, how would it be different?" If it's too late to alter the course for this year's celebration, it's a good time to drop hints about your new plans for next year.

1 Lower your expectations.

If you expect perfection, you will surely be disappointed. The kids will be restless at church. At least one toy won't work. One or more of your relatives will be irritating. And your house will not look like Martha Stewart's. Plan on it.

2 Skip the cards. If the holidays are too hectic to send cards, send Happy New Year or Valentine or St. Patrick's Day greetings instead. You'll have more time to prepare them and your recipients will have more time to appreciate them during the less-hectic time of year.

3 Keep the decorations simple. Hang a wreath on the door and position a spotlight nearby. Or place an electric candle in every window. Sometimes the simplest decorations can be the most attractive.

4 Let the children do the decorating. Somehow a tree that is slightly off-kilter with ornaments hung only as high as a child's hand can reach is more perfect than a tree decorated by adults. …

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