We all know who The Grinch is—that nasty, green-colored creature of Dr. Seuss’ imagination. He stole Christmas, nearly ruined everything, and then repented at the eleventh hour. Well, you don’t have to literally steal gifts out from beneath the tree to ruin the holidays for yourself and your family—all it takes is the wrong attitude. The source of grinchiness during the holidays is usually the season itself, and all the demands it makes on an individual. The stress of having so many things to do, so many places to go and so many people to please, in addition to one’s usual to-do list is enough to push anyone over the edge.

If you’re feeling your inner Grinch start to crawl out of his cave, try a few of these techniques that should have you back to your regular, cheerful self in no time.

  • Make Lists: Make a list of recipes you want to make over the holiday season. Make a list of gifts you need to buy. Make a list of crafts you’d like to make. You get the idea! Use a binder, websites like Pinterest, or apps like Evernote, to keep it all easily accessible.
  • Simplify: Overwhelmed by hosting a holiday meal? Make it a potluck. Stressed at the thought of running all over town to purchase gifts? Buy them online. Keep it simple!
  • Learn to Say No: Don’t feel as if you have to attend everything you’re invited to. And be sure to schedule days when you’re doing absolutely nothing except sitting bundled up on the couch with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa.
  • Take a Break: If you’re introverted and are feeling emotionally exhausted because you have family around 24/7—make sure you take frequent breaks to get quiet, alone time. Balancing time with others and time by yourself is always important.
  • Everything in Moderation: Now is not the time to be on a strict diet, but it’s also not the time to overindulge. Seek balance by staying hydrated and eating a sensible, balanced diet most of the time, so that you can enjoy the season’s special treats without guilt.

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  • Get the Kids Involved: Kids can do everything from decorating cookies to trimming the tree—as long as you’re not a perfectionist who insists on having it exactly your way, which brings us to the next point.
  • Let Go of Perfection: TV personalities like Martha Stewart can make some women feel like they’re underachieving if they aren’t simultaneously doing a craft with their children, baking cookies, trimming a tree, and preparing a three-course meal for 12 people. Enough already! These kinds of expectations are not only unrealistic, but unnecessary. Remember that Martha Stewart gets paid to do that for a living.
  • Follow Your Bliss: Remember those lists you’re going to make? One of those lists should be Fun Activities that you enjoy this time of year—either by yourself, with your spouse, or as a family. If you’re having a stressful day, pull out that list and do something on it—whether it’s listening to favorite Christmas carols, going ice skating, or taking a well-deserved nap in front of the fireplace.
  • Reflect on the Season: Whether you’re religious, spiritual, or none of the above, remember the “reason for the season”. Take time for quiet reflection. Attend religious services or simply pause a moment to count your blessings and get perspective. Your “bad day” that revolved around every store being out of the video game your son wants is nothing compared to a “bad day” for many less fortunate people.

Happy Holidays!