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Stress-Free Holiday Ideas

How to manage it all and still enjoy "the reason for the season."
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It seems that nowadays the holidays have become a hassle instead of fun. Between shopping, cooking, relatives and kids, it's hard to manage it all and still enjoy "the reason for the season." I try and make my holiday season as stress-free as possible. I live by a few ideas during the season that tend to help me make it through the holidays -- without pulling my hair out.

1. Shopping

Shopping can be the most stressful part about the holidays. The thought of bustling your way through traffic and jam-packed stores can bring fear to anyone. Once you make it to the stores, then comes the daunting task of trying to figure out what to buy everyone! AAAHHHH... I like to handle this problem with the world wide web. I am an avid online shopper. Online, you can find a slew of great gift ideas and also great deals. I get all of my holiday shopping done weeks ahead of time, and without the stress of having to leave my house!

2. Cooking

Cooking is always fun for me. I love searching the Internet and magazines for seasonal recipes. I also know preparing a big meal for many people can be extremely stressful. I like to get everyone involved. To make it fun, I give everyone in my house a task. It can be a simple task, such as washing the dishes and being responsible for taking out the trash, or even something bigger like roasting the turkey. The bottom line is that it's fun to spend time together and enjoy each other. Cooking together also takes a lot of stress off of one person trying to handle everything themselves.

3. Relatives

Don't panic -- they aren't that bad! Trying to entertain a household is a lot of work. Before my relatives get to town, I put together a schedule of events happening around town. I give everyone the scheduled list and have them choose something they would like to attend. This is so simple and easy. It keeps everyone entertained, plus it's fun!

4. Kid Entertainment

Most parents fear the days their children are off from school. Let's be honest here, school is a much-needed break for parents, and the kids are learning, so you can't beat that! When the kiddos are off from school, the key is to keep them active and involved in what's going on. Idle time for kids is never a good idea. Get the kids involved with cooking, decorating and gift-wrapping. Kids love to give you their input, so getting them involved will make them feel important and apart of what's going on.

5. Enjoy!

Remember why we all come together for the holidays! Remember to enjoy the reason and enjoy your family. Don't let the idea of how things should be overwhelm you. Always do what you can and let the rest just happen. Be happy... and happy holidays!