The beautiful orange, yellow and crimson leaves and changing brisk weather is proof that fall is here. I love it and to be honest, it’s my favorite time of year. It’s a time that we are anticipating the holiday season while also looking forward to spending much needed time with our loved ones. However, though this time of year should be one of great joy and refreshing, for some, it can be a time of great anxiety and stress.

I understand that planning, cooking, shopping, decorating, entertaining, etc. can be a lot on anyone’s plate. However, I believe we can all have a great holiday season—one that we fully enjoy without having an adult tantrum. So friends, I’d like to offer some tips on how to make this holiday season your best yet.

1.  Take a deep breath. Just relax. Yes, you have a lot to do but with a little strategic planning, you will be just fine!

2. Do a little at a time. Don’t cause yourself unnecessary stress by doing it all in one lump-sum. Stretch your tasks out. This will require you plan ahead. If you procrastinate, you’ll be forced to do everything at once and that isn’t fun for anyone.

3. Get Help. I will be the first to raise my hand and admit that I often try to do things all by myself. But the holidays aren’t suppose to be a one-person production. The holidays should be a time of celebrating family, with the emphasis on family. Your loved ones will enjoy and be excited about the festivities even more if they have a part in helping out. 

4. Be thankful. If you change your mindset about your tasks, it will be much easier to do them. Instead of thinking, “Ugh, I have to go grocery shopping,” think, “I’m thankful I get to buy groceries.” Instead of dreading the crowded stores and long lines think “I’m thankful I have a family I get to give to” (or just shop online where there are no lines).

5. Give to others. Sometimes we forget that some people aren’t as fortunate as others. Some people are very lonely during this time of year. Some people are separated from family members who serve in the armed forces. Some children receive little to no love because their parents are incarcerated. How can you help? You can reach out to a local organization that helps families in need. You can write a letter to someone who serves in the armed forces thanking them for their service. You can invite a lonely neighbor over for dinner. These are just a few ideas.

I hope these tips have helped you. Even if you don’t do everything on the list, try at least one thing. Remember, have fun this holiday season. Enjoy your loved ones. Eat extra dessert. And laugh so hard you cry.