Christmas used to be my favorite holiday of the year, and I figured once I had kids, it would be even better. Instead, though, I find myself dreading it more and more each year. There are just so many things I have to do before the big day that once it finally gets here, all I really want to do is take a long nap.  What can I do to manage some of the holiday stress?

I thought the same thing! I clearly remember thinking, on the Christmas when I was pregnant with my older daughter, how much better this whole Christmas thing would be "next year, when the baby is here."


After doing the Parent Holiday Shuffle for the past six years, though, I might be able to help you out.  Here are some top tips, tested by yours truely. 

1.       Talk to your immediate family and find out what's the most special thing about Christmas to them. Then get rid of everything else.  Well, as much of everything else as you can. If your daughter says her favorite thing is dinner at Grandma's on Christmas Day, hold on to it. If your son looks forward to chopping down a live tree every year (and honestly? In my family, it's my younger daughter who'd be all over that if we let her near a saw), then don't go out and buy a prelit fake tree. Keep in mind that it's everyone's holiday, and everyone will have things that are special. Don't assume you know what those things are, though.

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