The Christmas Countdown Begins

At the time of this posting, there are just 27 days — less than a month — until #Christmas. If you celebrate #Kwanzaa, you get an extra day to prepare, but those celebrating #Hanukkah will need to be ready just nine days.

You may view the #holidays as the most wonderful time of the year, but with that wonder comes a lot of additional expectations and stress. You need to get gifts for the family, go to the office party, plan a big family feast, send cards, bake cookies — and time is running out!

Take a moment to collect yourself. “You can only do so much,” says The Mayo Clinic. “Be realistic with how much you can handle this season. Forget about perfection, and relax and enjoy the company surrounding you.”

Start with a plan. Get the calendar out and write down the most important events and deadlines. Assign days to complete specific tasks such as shopping, baking, cleaning and decorating, but be flexible — things can and will get delayed.

One set of important dates to remember is the shipping deadline for holiday gifts. For merchandise shipped via standard ground services with FedEx, the deadline is Dec. 15, and at UPS and USPS, it’s Dec. 16. Two-day shipping should get the goods to you in time if ordered by Dec. 20.

Keep up on healthy habits, too, so you don’t sacrifice yourself in service to the season. “If you already have a training or exercise routine, don’t let the holiday season throw you off,” says Calendar.com. “Exercise and physical activity can help clear your mind.”

Set expectations that are manageable, and be clear about them with family members and guests. Don’t set yourself up to make a big sit-down feast if you don’t have the bandwidth, for example — you can have a potluck or something even more casual.

Say no when you need to do so, and take time for your own relax-and-recharge sessions, whatever form they may take. Whatever you can manage during the season should be good enough. The clock may be ticking, but it’s your holiday, too.

Have a safe, happy and stress-free season!

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