One of the greatest causes of stress for many of my clients is living up to their own expectations during the holidays.  They try so hard to make the entire season perfect for their family and friends.  They complete the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking, the cleaning, the decorating all while being the “hostess with the mostest” and juggling the everyday demands of family and career.

[Tweet “This overwhelmed and out-of-control feeling doesn’t have to be reality.”]

Over the next few months I’ll be creating a number of posts to help you take the stress out of the holidays.  (And if thinking about the holidays this early is stressing you out – you can 1) remember that starting early will leave less work at “crunch time” or 2) bookmark this post and read in a few weeks.)

Note:  Most of my clients celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years and I’ll reference these holidays.  However, feel free to substitute different holidays if applicable.


The first step for taking the stress out of the holiday season is to envision your version of the perfect holiday.  I encourage you to take the next week to really think about the following questions.  Jot your answers down and revisit them often over the next few weeks.

  • What does the perfect holiday look like?
  • Who do I want to spend it with?
  • What activities do I enjoy?
  • If I only had two hours on Thanksgiving, how would I want to spend it?
  • What is one thing I’m most looking forward to this Christmas?
  • Where do I want to spend New Year’s Eve?

The temptation is to skip this step.  It’s “only thinking” my clients will tell me.  “I want to know how to streamline the process” others will say.  “Give me the meat and potatoes” a recent client exclaimed.

My answer – knowing how you want to spend your holidays (or to use a principal from Stephen Covey – “Begin with the End in Mind”) is the foundation you need to start to create a holiday season you can enjoy.


What’s your favorite holiday tradition?  When do you usually start planning for the holidays?  When would you LIKE to start planning for the holidays?  Please post below.