If you become a stress-ball during the holidays and consider the whole thing a hassle from beginning to end, youíre not alone. According to a recent survey, nearly half of North Americans say the holiday season is so stressful they wish they could skip it all together. Why?

  • The hectic pace. Thereís literally too much shopping, wrapping, decorating, and baking to do Ė and simply not enough time for it all. The fix: Stop trying to do everything! After all, is it really a disaster if your tree doesnít have ornaments on the back Ė or you donít have a tree at all? Or if you bring store-bought cookies to the holiday pot luck?
  • Tense family get-togethers. Itís where old rivalries and arguments rear their ugly heads. The fix? Set some positive goals. Whether itís spending quality time with an older relative who wonít be here forever, or going out of your way to learn more about the history and quirks of your extended family.
  • Money. Itís the biggest reason people stress out over the holidays. 40% of those surveyed said the holidays will be a financial burden. And almost three-quarters said theyíll start the New Year in debt. Whatís the fix? Stop at one gift. Once you buy something for someone, cross them off your list. And donít buy anything else, no matter what other ďextrasĒ you find that are perfect for them. Donít forget to set a budget, too. Choose the maximum youíre willing to spend for everything. Then, make a list of the gifts you need, and divide your budget accordingly. And once you hit your spending limit, stop shopping.

How do you handle holiday stress? What works for you and your family?