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Finding the Holiday Spirit: Family continued...

10. Make new family traditions. People often feel compelled to keep family holiday traditions alive long past the point that anyone’s actually enjoying them. Don’t keep them going for their own sake. “Start a new holiday tradition instead,” says Gloria Pope, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance in Chicago. “Create one that’s more meaningful to you personally.”

11. Find positive ways to remember loved ones. Holidays may remind you of the loved ones who aren’t around anymore. But instead of just feeling glum, do something active to celebrate their memory. For instance, go out with your sisters to your mom’s favorite restaurant and give her a toast.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Parties

12. Don’t overbook. “The holidays last for weeks and weeks,” says Pope. “People really need to pace themselves or they’ll get overwhelmed.” So don’t say yes to every invitation willy-nilly. Think about which parties and you can fit in -- and which ones you really want to attend.

13. Don’t stay longer than you want. Going to a party doesn’t obligate you to stay until the bitter end. Instead, just drop by for a few minutes, say hello, and explain you have other engagements. The hosts will understand that it’s a busy time of year and appreciate your effort. Knowing you have a plan to leave can really ease your anxiety.

14. Have a partner for the party. If the prospect of an office party is causing holiday stress, talk to a friend and arrange to arrive -- and leave -- together. You may feel much better knowing you have an ally and a plan of escape.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Shopping

15. Forget about the perfect gift. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, now is not the time to fret about finding the absolute best gift ever for your great aunt or your mailman. Remember: everybody likes a gift certificate.

16. Shop online. Save yourself the inconvenience, the crowds, and the horrors of the mall parking lot by doing the bulk of your shopping online.

17. Stick to a budget. The cost of holiday shopping mounts quickly and can make people feel out of control and anxious. So draw up a budget long before you actually start your shopping and stick to it.

10 Triggers for Holiday Blues

Typical causes of holiday stress -- and what you can do about them.
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