Banish resentment. If it is an obligation, reconsider your need to do it. Will Aunt Sue really perish without your chocolate meringues?
Avoid common stressors. Do parties make you panic? Skip them altogether or be selective about where you go to deck the halls.
No competition. Why does this year need to be better than that great Christmas of '87? Try not to get into the pattern of outdoing yourself every year.
Shop online. There are no long lines to contend with in the virtual malls of the world, and fewer sights, smells, and sounds to overwhelm the senses!
Shop ahead. For those overwhelmed by tasks, shopping all year round can help alleviate last minute stress. Of course, it may be too late for this year, but take this tip with you into the new year.
Lasso the credit cards. What is a reasonable amount to spend on the holidays this year? Now divide by the number of gifts you must buy. That's your dollar limit: Stick to it. Unfortunately, spendaholics are likely to use the holidays as an excuse to buy. Remember: Credit card bills can lead to post-holiday blues.
Rejuvenate your spirit. Reacquaint yourself with the church or synagogue. Or shine up your spirituality with a class on visualization or meditation.
Avoid commercialism. Take the kids to a free Hanukkah menorah lighting in the park. Or meet new friends by joining up with the neighborhood carolers.
Make your self the gift. Have the children gather unused toys for donation. Or do something with those years of piano practice by organizing a holiday concert at a nursing home.
Ban martyrdom. Why not take others up on their offer to help? You are not a bad hostess if you let Aunt Mary bring the dessert, have your brother-in-law scrub the casserole dish, or put the teenagers in charge of wrapping presents.
Find time for you. Pamper yourself with a half-hour pedicure or get a massage. Does painting give you pleasure? Then make the time to do it!
Declare victory over vices. There is no harm in a little fudge or an occasional glass of champagne, but think moderation. Too much alcohol or sugar can alter moods and disrupt sleep patterns.
Avoid weighty issues. Guilt is a likely byproduct of overindulgence. Give away extra treats that arrive as gifts and don't make three batches of peanut brittle. If you have a momentary lapse of judgment, don't sweat it. That's what those nasty New Year resolutions are for.
Keep it moving. It's easy to shelve plans to work out during the hectic season. But resigning yourself to the couch will only make you feel worse. Twenty minutes, three times per week, should continue to be your goal.
Get out and do! Activity, either social or physical, will do more for the spirit than watching the Brady Family Christmas Special.
Holiday salads anyone? Three well-balanced meals will help keep your moods at an even keel.
Surround yourself with love. Avoid inviting people to your home out of obligation. It may be difficult to turn away a relative, but it is worth your sanity.
Create childhood memories. Make the holidays special for the kids. By reinventing the season, you escape your own issues. And you won't transfer the blues to your children.
Expand your support system. Friends may be busy with their own families, but that doesn't prevent you from making new friends. Take a class or join an online chat group. Post on message boards when it's convenient for you to talk!
Laugh often! Rent funny movies or surround yourself with those who make you laugh. It's not easy to laugh and be depressed at the same time.