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Keep Holiday Stress to a Minimum: Learn to Say No

Before your holiday stress levels start to rise, learn these 4 simple tactics for saying no to unnecessary obligations.

4. Say No to Taking On the Work for a Big Holiday Celebration

Are you the family's Martha Stewart? The one who knocks herself out every Christmas to prepare an elaborate feast for the extended clan? 

If festive entertaining leaves you frazzled, Breitman suggests a change of scenery. For example, say, "Everyone has been coming here for Christmas for years, but I need a break. Either someone else can do it or we'll all go out to a restaurant."

If you still plan to host, but don't want to shoulder the entire burden, the word "tradition" carries extra clout during the holidays, Breitman says. Use it to your advantage. Tell your guests, "I'm starting a new tradition. This year, everyone will bring one dish for the meal."

Because others are busy, too, "Make sure that they understand that no one has to make it from scratch," Breitman says. 

It's fine if Grandma's soup came from the deli or your nephew shows up with store-bought dinner rolls. As Martha likes to say, it's a good thing.

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Reviewed on September 28, 2011

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