1. Make a list and cut it twice. Go ahead, make that two-mile-long to-do list featuring all your holiday hopes and dreams. Now cut the list in half. Then pare it down once more. Choose the holiday activities, decorating ideas and family traditions that are really important to you, rather than striving to be all things to all people. Martha Stewart's house might look perfect, but I bet she's not all that much fun to hang out with.
2. Give your holiday cards a reality check. How many times have you wiped away your child's frustrated tears as you reprimand them for goofing around while getting that perfect holiday picture? Forget the stress of studio sittings this year. Instead, set up your camera's timer and let it click away. Pick one that shows your family at its best-laughing and having fun.
3. Phone a friend. With the price of gas and everyone's time at a premium, form a Christmas co-op. Choose one or two close friends to share your holiday errands and shopping trips. Do you all really need to go to Target and Best Buy? Compare your lists over a cup of coffee, figure out who goes where, then divide and conquer. Just keep all of your receipts and set a date to settle up and deliver the goods.
4. Be a party pooper. I like to rock around the Christmas tree as much as the next mama. But a girl's got to know her limits. Just because you've been invited to seven holiday parties in three weeks doesn't mean you have to go to all of them. And don't make up crazy excuses either. Simply say you have a previous engagement (one that includes little people, hot chocolate and a viewing of "Rudolph").
5. Hang some mistletoe and just do IT. Medical research shows that having regular intimate "playdates" with your man really does relieve stress. Parental playdates help to smash stress through the release of feel-good hormones and deep breathing. Sprinkle a little massage on top and you're both sure to feel the holiday madness melt away.