How to Have a Happy Holiday!


The holidays can be a very stressful time of year. There are parties, gifts to give, family tension, financial challenges, travel and much more. In 2021 the American Psychiatric Association conducted a poll of approximately 2,000 adults, of whom 41% said that their worrying increases during the holiday season. About 31% of the respondents said they expected to feel more stressed in 2022 than they were in 2021.

The 2022, New York Times article by H. Seo, C. Person, D. Smith, D Blum, A. Haridasani Gupta, “How to Actually Enjoy the Holidays” offers some ways to help reduce holiday stress.

Managing Schedules

Setting boundaries for yourself. If you are overbooked and continue to add events you will be overwhelmed and unhappy. So, learning to set boundaries for yourself this time of year is important.

Here are 2 tips for setting boundaries:

  1. Decide what is important. Look at your calendar and figure out where to put your time and energy.
  2. Get comfortable with saying “no.” According to Inger E. Burnett-Zeigler, a licensed clinical psychologist, “you can simply say “no,” because ‘no’ is a complete sentence.” She also suggests saying “no not right now” and or “I can’t do this, but I can do that.”

Avoiding Family Feuds

During this time of year family tensions can be high. Dr Pillemer, a family sociologist reminds us the holidays are not a time to “fix” each other.  He suggests a few things to help avoid conflict and tension amongst family:

  1. Do not engage. If there is an upsetting topic and there is no way to cordially interact simply do not engage.
  2. Watch and listen. If an argument unfolds watch and listen as if you are a third party. See how it makes you feel.  You don’t need to be in the middle of the drama.
  3. Give physical Distance. Stay with friends, get a hotel, make the visit short, and give yourself a break when needed,

Have a Budget

Money can become stressful during the holidays.  Rick Kahler, a financial therapist, and planner recommends setting a budget and deciding what you can afford.  Then you can decide what activities, gifts, and plans to prioritize.  He suggests some things to help with financial worries:

  1. Gift Exchange – This is a great way to spend time with friends and family and cut your spending. Something like a White Elephant or Secret Santa. Give everyone a budget – how much you can spend on a gift, maybe $5-$20. This is a great way to make memories and not go over the budget.
  2. Low-Cost Activities – Not everything has to be expensive. Some great activities could be going to see the Christmas lights, making hot chocolate, a winter hike, ice skating, and having a game night.
  3. Potluck Dinner – Having family over for dinner can add up quickly. Instead do a potluck where friends and family each chip in and contribute.

Hope you find these tips and tricks helpful. There are more ideas in the 2022 New York Times article. Please see for more information.


Previous Post
Describing Gratitude
Next Post
Making Resolutions Last