Managing the Stress and Feeling the Joy of the Holidays: 5 Things That Worked, and 1 That Didn’t

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I used to hate Christmas—so much so that I often bypassed it altogether. When I worked as a staff nurse, I did switches with people so I could work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and be off New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Christmas held no religious meaning for me, and as a single person with no kids and a very small gift budget, I didn’t have much use for the rest of it, either.

Now that I’m married with kids, it’s a whole new holiday, and I love making it fun and magical for them. But as we all know, it can be stressful. I’m not interested in “getting through” the holidays. I want to actually enjoy the season, so I look for ways to make it less stressful. Every year I learn a little more about what works for us, and what doesn’t.

So, here’s what worked this year: Continue reading