If you’re panicking about how you’re going to get all your holiday tasks done in time to enjoy the holidays – stop. Your stress-free holiday starts now. Here’s how to get your home, your family, and your travel arrangements taken care of in the simplest way possible.

  • Let’s start with your tree. Forget spending hours digging the old ornaments out of the garage – and then having an allergy attack from all the dust they’ve collected. Instead, try this quick trick from design expert Nate Berkus: Buy grosgrain or satin ribbon in ivory, chocolate and red. Make sure it’s at least two inches wide. Then wrap it loosely around your tree from top to bottom. With the remaining ribbon, tie bows on the branches. Add strands of white lights and you’ve got a festive, elegant tree. The best part – no worries about broken ornaments!
  • Another holiday stressor – money! The American Psychological Association says money is the #1 thing that stresses people out over the holidays. The solution: Leave the plastic at home. If you know you can only spend a certain amount – withdraw that amount in cash. Divvy it up between all the gifts you need to buy – and then that’s it. You can only spend what’s in your wallet and you won’t have to worry about ringing in the New Year with a gigantic credit card bill. 
  • If dealing with your relatives is making you crazy – follow this advice from psychologist Dr. Joy Brown. Be curious, not furious. So instead of going ballistic when your mom starts picking on your clothes, your weight, your choice in men say, “I’m not sure what you mean by that? Can you clarify?” They’ll have to explain their insult – which will make them think twice about what they’re saying. Remember, the only behavior you can control is your own.
  • If you have to travel – first, ship your gifts ahead to avoid any delays going through security. Travel as early on Christmas Day as you can – instead of Christmas Eve. According to the Travelocity website, it’s a lot less hectic.