Here comes Christmas and New Year’s – and it feels like they are coming at us faster than a winter storm, a blitzing linebacker and a spaceship coming out of hyperspace.

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Here are 10 things you can do to slow your holiday season down a bit and let yourself breathe.

1. Allow yourself to gain a little weight

You don’t want to overindulge, but completely neglecting the good stuff is not any way to enjoy the season either.

Compromise at 3-4 pounds. That means you had a good time, but can still fit into your new Christmas gifts.

Added bonus: It gives you a built-in New Year’s resolution.

2. Don’t be afraid to say no

It might be hugely gratifying to get everything done, just because you know how to do it and you want to make sure everyone has a perfect holiday season. More likely, it’ll be hugely exhausting, and you’ll end up worn out and sick of the holidays (and/or just sick).

Share the load and give yourself a holiday treat – rest.

3. Giving out of obligation isn’t necessarily generosity

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of doing the Christmas shopping and forget what the gifts are supposed to mean.

Simplifying the number of gifts you give does not make you less generous – and the people who you might be simplifying off your gift list do not have the right to make you feel guilty about it. True generosity and compassion are year-round attitudes and practices – they are not defined by Best Buy gift cards.

4. Go ahead and ditch a pointless tradition

Maybe going holiday skiing was a fun trip one winter. But now it’s like herding cats to get everyone to the mountain and it costs a fortune.

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Family traditions are meant to bring joy, not frustration and resentment.  Keep the ones that do what they’re supposed to do and let the others go.

5. It’s OK if your Christmas card is late this year

Christmas cards can feel like that one last thing that never quite finds the window to get done. Like the presents and the parties – it’s the thought that counts.

6. Treat yourself

While you’re trying to deal with everyone’s wish lists, remember to treat yourself.

Giving yourself a reward is completely understandable after a day at the mall trying to find that last present. That spa around the corner has a 60 minute massage with your name on it.

7. Shop online

In that same vein – why are you forcing yourself to the mall? Shop online and save yourself the hassle.

Budget carefully, look for sales – and do it in your jammies on the couch in front of the fire.

If you’re concerned about using credit cards, buy some Visa or MasterCard gift cards with cash and use those to do your online shopping.

8. Enjoy your own party

If you’re going to take on throwing a Christmas party, do your best to try and relax and enjoy it. Parties are often stressful for the hosts, and this isn’t the time to add more stress to your life.

It’s not going to be the worst party your guests have ever attended and it’s probably not going to be the best one either.  Stop stressing out about it and have some fun.

9. Help someone out

It’s the season for goodwill toward men, so help someone buy their groceries and pay their heating bill. That’s a gift that gives both ways – helps them in tough times, and lets you feel like you’ve helped someone. It’s rewarding.

10. Give yourself an end of the day break

At the end of the day, curl up in front of the lit Christmas tree with a cup of hot cocoa or tea. Perhaps play a little quiet Christmas music, and enjoy the season. After all, it only comes but once a year.

Joshua Trudell About the author:
Joshua Trudell is a freelance writer, photographer and graphic designer living in New Hampshire. Follow Joshua on Twitter and Facebook and check out his website.
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