The stress of the impending holiday season is enough to take an experienced host out of their Thanksgiving turkey, tryptophan-induced coma and turn them into a Christmas-crazed, Black Friday maniac.  With these six helpful hints, avoid the fervor of the masses and retain your sanity.

1. Delegate! Although hosting the perfect holiday celebration may feed your ego, it may also provide you with sleepless nights before the big event.  Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks.  Send your spouse to the store with a list of last-minute items; have your kids vacuum and clean up around the house.  When a guest asks what they can help with or bring, don’t look a gift-horse in their courtesy offer.

2. Watch the clock. If you know the post office or the grocery store becomes chaotic at 4:30 pm every afternoon, plan your trips accordingly.  Avoiding long lines, impossible parking and crazed consumers will help you keep your cool.  If you cannot fit these tasks into your schedule at any other time, see tip number one!

3. Check vacation balances at work. Don’t be afraid to ask a member of management or Human Resources to check your vacation and floating holiday balances.  Many companies do not roll vacation balances to the next year; if this time is not taken, it is lost.  Use this forgotten vacation time to finish last-minute details and errands.

4. Stay healthy. Get eight hours of sleep each night, drink enough fluids and take your vitamins.  While you’re busy taking care of guests, family and friends, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

5. Shop online. Although there’s something immediately gratifying about leaving the store with a fistful of shopping bags, shopping online can eliminate the insanity of the in-store experience.  Many online stores offer free shipping, “receive by Christmas” guarantee dates on a huge variety of gift ideas.  Shop online and avoid the mob flocking to the local mall.

6. Remember the “reason for the season.” Instead of allowing the stress and circumstances to overwhelm you, take a moment to reflect on why your family and friends are gathering.

Follow these six tips this holiday season and watch your tension levels melt away.  Don’t traumatize yourself by obsessing over unfinished tasks.  That’s what family is for.


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