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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

Santa’s 11 Secrets to Ease Your Holiday Stress

Twas the day of Black Friday when all through the store, not a person was smiling from ceiling to floor. The bargains were hung on the fixtures with care, in hopes that frayed shoppers soon would buy there.

Sound familiar?  And there are still weeks more of holiday shopping madness. Take it from Santa’s little helpers – you need to chill!  Santa asked us to deliver his secrets to ease your holiday stress.  Here are Hints for a Healthy Harmonious Holiday.

  1. Reflect on the True Meaning of the Holiday.

Pause, take a deep breath, and question the importance of your holiday traditions. Most holidays are not historically rooted in commercialism or competition for the most decorations in front of the house.

  1. Practice “Less is More.”

Who needs a pile of gifts that eventually get stuffed in a closet collecting dust?  Why send holiday cards to people you don’t bother with the rest of the year?  Does anyone really need all those Christmas cookies? Start a tradition of giving time or talent instead of more stuff. We pets love it most when you simply spend more time playing with us.

  1. Ask for Help.

Even when you simplify, there is a lot of extra work around the holiday season.  Allow yourself to ask for help.  Most people are willing to assist when they are given ample time and the freedom to tackle in their own say.  Who knows? You might like what they do better.

  1. Mend Fences Before Holiday Gatherings.

There is always that difficult uncle or jealous sister-in-law who poses a threat to holiday harmony.  When possible, mend fences or establish boundaries ahead of time. If this is not possible or reasonable, limit or avoid holiday events where these people will be present.

  1. Reach Out to Someone in Need.

Perhaps there is that lonely aunt who will spend Christmas alone in a nursing home.  Imagine her gratitude and delight to receive a package of hot cocoa mix and a nice visit from you.

  1. Stay Balanced.

Enjoy those candies and eggnog on the holidays not through the whole month.  Take your precious dog out for an extra long walk after that big meal.

  1. Create a New Holiday Tradition.

Pursue at least one tradition that truly holds meaning for you. This could include reading an inspirational poem or sacred text, teaching a child how to bake, making a special ornament in memory of a deceased loved one, volunteering in a soup kitchen or animal shelter, attending a religious ceremony or singing favorite Christmas carols with friends.

  1. Write it Down.

Keep a notebook or smartphone handy to write down tasks, ideas, gift lists and dates.

  1. Modify Your Expectations.

Not everyone enjoys a Normal Rockwell holiday season.  Reduce your disappointments by resisting the temptation to compare your holiday happenings to those you observe on television, movie or within your own life.

  1. Practice Gratitude.

During this holiday season, focus more on what you have than what you want.  Better yet, focus more on what you have and not so much on what others have. More often than not, the people you envy are not as happy as you imagine.

  1. Laugh!

When the work is done, please remember to laugh and have some fun. That is one of the reasons for all that work anyway.


Santa told us to tell you this.  Follow these 11 tips, and you will receive no lumps of coal in your stocking.   Your tree will illuminate brightly with love for the infant Jesus, your family and friends and yourself.  Have a very Merry Holiday Season!  Look forward to the promise of a new year.


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Santa’s 11 Secrets to Ease Your Holiday Stress

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2018). Santa’s 11 Secrets to Ease Your Holiday Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Dec 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.