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5 tips for a happier holiday season

Happy holidays! Happy 'getting stressed out, trying to do too many things and please everyone' season.

Oh, wait. That's not promising. I never understand why the holidays are always so stressful! They should be a time where we can relax and enjoy our loved ones.

Maybe this is the year to mix it up a little and make the holidays easier and more enjoyable.

1. Forget perfection

Sometimes gingerbread men will be missing a limb. The tree may have a bald spot. The hot dish may not taste exactly like your grandma’s. Know what? None of it matters. Decide what's truly important to you over the holidays, and focus on that.

2. Enlist help

Once you drop the desire for Hollywood levels of perfection, it gets much easier to ask for help and delegate tasks.

Recruit the kiddos! Have them sign the names and address holiday cards. Wrap gifts in plain brown paper and the kids can stay occupied decorating with crayons and ribbon.

3. Stick to a budget

Much of the holiday stress people feel can be attributed to money woes. Make a list and check it twice, making sure the gifts you choose are within your budget’s reach. And when you're tempted to overspend, remember that things are rarely as meaningful as a kind thought or gesture. Homemade and DIY are all the rave now! People will see how much more thought went into something you actually made yourself. Here are some ideas from The Frugal Girl

4. Shop local

Sure, the average stuff you get at chain stores are easier, but overly crowded and not very original. Visit your local coffee shop, bakery and massage office (Hey! That’s me!) to get gifts and gift certificates that really mean something.

Look for a winter farmers’ market or local expos where you can buy jars of local honey or handmade ornaments. Keep a stash in your car with some gift bags for last-minute “I can’t believe I forgot to get a gift for my kid’s teacher” type situations.

Bonus: you’re supporting small business at the same time!

5. Get a massage

Taking care of yourself makes you better able to take care of all the people who depend on you! Here's to a wonderful holiday low on stress and filled with fun!

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