Secret Weapons to Lower Holiday Stress

By Rose Kennedy and Diana Reese

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family picking out Christmas tree
Blend Images/Veer

1. Be choosy about traditions

We tend to cling desperately to traditions. After a while, it starts feeling as though it's impossible to let go, no matter how tough to do midnight Mass, cut your own Christmas tree, make latkes from scratch with your elderly neighbors, visit the Santa three towns away, and have a lavish Merlot and crown roast supper with the cool friends from college. But setting priorities, even when it comes to which traditions to honor, can be a step toward holiday sanity.

Kathy Varner O'Bryan in Richmond, Virginia, has taken a simple first step. "I started sending Christmas cards every other year," says the child welfare paralegal, whose children are 22, 7, and 5. "I get the same enjoyment with half the stress."


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