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Eight Ideas for De-Stressing the Holidays

snowflakeMany people love the holiday season—in fact someone once sang “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” oops I hope I didn’t ruin anyone’s day with an earworm!

This season people are worried about finances. Whether faced with a job loss, salary reductions, homes losing values, or savings lost to the stock market—many families are cutting back on holiday spending or feeling anxious about meeting expectations.

The holidays are meant to be joyful, not full of worry and woe. So, here are a few ideas that may help you and your family enjoy a relaxing and meaningful holiday season.

  1. Remember the spirit of the season. Help someone less fortunate. Give away some blankets to a homeless shelter, collect toys for a needy family, or provide a meal for someone.
  2. Be a friend. Are there people you know that don’t have friends or family nearby? Invite them over to share some time or ask if they’d like a visit. Call someone you haven’t called for a while to say hello.
  3. Remember the family members who are no longer present. It’s perfectly natural to feel sad. Holidays are often a time of reflection. If you have strong feelings of sadness, try to reach out to someone you trust to talk about your feelings.
  4. Discuss the issue of presents with your family. Some families only give presents to the children; others pick names out of a hat and thus cut down on what they have to buy since they aren’t buying something for everyone.
  5. Practice moderation in preparing holiday meals and consuming holiday goodies.
  6. Realize that malls, shops, restaurants, streets, and parking lots are likely to be crowded. Plan enough time. Or shop online. Wherever you do your shopping, make a budget and stick to it.
  7. Understand that others may be stressed out. Don’t take rudeness or irritability too personally.
  8. Reflect on experiences, events, and people that have given you pleasure in the past. Be grateful.

The bottom line: Don’t let money worries stress you out and ruin your holidays. That’s not what holidays are all about.

Snowflake photo available from Shutterstock.

Eight Ideas for De-Stressing the Holidays

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D.

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of adults and children with obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as personality disorders, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and learning disorders. Dr. Smith is a widely published author of articles and books to the profession and the public, including: Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies (2E), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder For Dummies, Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies, Anxiety and Depression Workbook For Dummies, Depression For Dummies, Hollow Kids: Recapturing the Soul of a Generation Lost to the Self-Esteem Myth, and Why Can’t I Be the Parent I Want to Be? Her website is:

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APA Reference
Smith, L. (2011). Eight Ideas for De-Stressing the Holidays. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Dec 2011
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