Christmas is the busiest and most stressful time of the year. Period. Yes, you found the best presents you know everyone will envy. Yes, you wrapped them in the prettiest paper and largest bows. Yes, you will place them perfectly around the tallest and fullest tree you could find – although you nearly poked your eye out bringing it through the door. But it’s the best!!

Every year I say the same thing. I say that I will take it easy, not go overboard on the spending, not bake every night until the rooster crows, and I always promise to have some fun with my nearest and dearest. Fail! I do it again and again!

The Christmas holidays don’t need to be overwhelming. Let me explain. If it is in your DNA to buy the most expensive or most unusual gift, then expect stress. If you absolutely need to make more cookies than your sister Jane baked last year, then yes, expect stress. If you must have the brightest lights in your neighbourhood and decorations, yes, you’re right, expect stress.

Here I list some fabulous tips that I have adopted to reduce my stress to near none, and plaster the biggest smile on my face that everyone wonders what I put in the eggnog!

1) Make a list of things to do! Creating a schedule of daily tasks that must be done always helps me feel accomplished every night before I go to bed. Yes, I now sleep stress-free during this time of year because I budgeted my time according to what needs doing and for when! Check!

Making a list

2) Learn to say no! You can’t possibly attend all the parties you typically say yes to and bring a dish as well! So, I don’t lose any sleep over saying no to some of the invitations. I now send a note that I will host them for cocktails after the holidays so I don’t burn any relationship bridges!

3) Take naps! Napping between decorating, baking, and shopping will yield incredible results! My energy level now stays high with this tip and magically I get even more done than when I’ve pushed through.

4) Keep your sleep schedule! If you are lucky to have some time off during the holidays, do your very best to keep to your regular sleep schedule. Nothing throws me off schedule more than very late nights and drowsy mornings! So, no matter what, I stop when it’s time to get to sleep! “Put off to tomorrow what you can’t finish today,” I always say!

5) Stay on budget! Nothing stresses most people more than getting their credit card bill after the holidays! Do it differently this year. I set a budget and stick to it, no matter what! If you have a big family like mine, do a gift exchange instead of getting everyone a gift. That’s what we do now!

Staying on budget

I don’t buy the typical wrapping paper but create my own by visiting a dollar store for some supplies and make a day out of some fun arts and crafts. It’s very meditative! Otherwise, stop with the gifts, and give to charity! Boom, shopping done and it never felt so good.

6) Eat well and exercise. If you stick to eating well while tempted by so many treats and you continue your usual daily walks or Pilates video, your body and mind will be grateful and reap the rewards! I make sure to get on my exercise bike early in the morning to get my 30 minutes in while everyone sleeps!

7) Carve out fun time. Don’t forget to take time to rest, relax and enjoy the holidays with those you love. Plan outings that won’t stress you by being away from your long to do list. I say “yes” to a trip to the local café with my bestie to easily restore some sanity and share a few laughs!

And there you have some of my easy tips to fill your holidays with lots of Ho! Ho! Ho! rather than a bunch of Ho Hums! May your celebrations this time of year be filled with love, joy and peace!!

Angela, Your Sleep Expert