It’s that time of year again where everyone is stressed, rushed off their feet, pulled in a million directions, and trying to do much too much in too little time. We know it happens every year in December, just before the holidays, so why are any of us surprised?

And more importantly, why can’t we all just give each other a break? There isn’t a person I see on the streets, on the subway, in stores, or people I know personally who doesn’t look like they could use a break right about now.

No doubt you’ve all been in stores recently — it’s mayhem! I feel for anyone who works in retail — customers are snappy. They’re pressed for time, annoyed at themselves for having to spend money, and the merchandise just gets tossed about without a thought.


A friend of mine is throwing a holiday party and the amount of time, effort and energy she’s putting into this event is overwhelming. From décor to themed food, and presents for everyone invited, this woman has made herself crazy with the length and intensity of her To-Do list.

But she’s certainly not alone in her endeavours. It seems many people are in her same situation: Desperate to put on a "perfect" party at all costs to themselves and their own peace of mind.

Here are some suggestions to help you get through the late days of this holiday season, without making yourself (and your family!) mega-stressed:

  • It’s not too late to make lists — of gifts still to buy, of cards still to be sent, of things to do to get ready.

  • Prioritize this list. If your great-aunt Mildred’s neighbour doesn’t get a card this year, will it really be so bad?

  • Get out your calendar and mark down all the events you’ve been invited to attend. If you’ve double-booked, or just feel there are too many, decide thoughtfully which ones you can skip this year. People understand that there are only so many days and nights in a month for celebrating.

  • Budget. Stock up on inexpensive hostess gifts — a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, a pretty scented candle — so you’re not scrambling at the last minute and end up spending more than you had hoped.

  • Make sure that your partner has seen the party schedule, too, and has agreed to it.

  • Make one night just for you and your immediate family — or yourself, if single — chill out, get into your PJs, watch a movie, eat popcorn and just nest.

  • If you have a partner, plan one evening for you two, alone. Time to connect, be romantic and stay in sync.

  • Finally, don’t beat yourself up over whatever doesn’t get done. We all lead busy lives and some things just fall through the cracks. There’s always next season ...

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