Okay, take a deep breath - I'm about to seriously stress some of you out. It's the most wonderful time of the year! December starts in a few hours, giving you 24 days to find that perfect gift for your loved one (and that coworker that you know NOTHING about and whose name you were unlucky enough to draw from the Office Secret Santa Hat). There will be crowded malls, lost or expired coupons, and the dreaded thought of 'let's just buy my niece a gift card.' You have 31 days left to wrap up 2014 on good terms with everyone. You have 31 days to come up with a resolution you're probably not going stick to. So now that we're nice and stressed, let's talk about how to avoid the worst part of the holidays - the anxiety. I've listed up a few tips for instances that genuinely stress people out, especially during the holiday season: Financial Worries: Your kid really, really wants that skateboard that is way out of the family budget? Ask them to prove they want it by waiting a little bit, and set a reasonable date for when you can purchase it - or find a much cheaper alternative that can be their 'training board.' Identify what’s causing you financial stress! Plan ways to reduce spending. Buying for a lot of family members is a serious burden on your wallet - suggest a Secret Santa so that everyone only has to buy one or two presents. Find low cost ways to have fun. Ditch the fancy restaurants and make some hot chocolate, hop in the car, and tour the neighborhood Christmas lights! Family Tension: Just because you’re related doesn’t mean your family members will all get along. Set Realistic Expectations. Plan how you will manage any feelings of anxiety that may arise. Kids are often oblivious to any tension, so focus on them. Think of Christmas as a day for the kids and focus on their happiness. Drink in moderation. Alcohol can seriously contribute to stress and depression, so just don't go there! Avoid known triggers. If your family has a history of arguing over a certain topic, don’t bring it up. Managing Loneliness: Connect with Friends and Family. Even if you’re separated by distance, you can stay in touch with loved ones online or by phone. Volunteer. There are lots of charities who need help. You’ll connect with people and feel good about making a positive difference in someone's life. Keeping Your Health: Remember to stay healthy - eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep can help you cope with Christmas stress! Remember, Christmas and New Years is a time for celebrating time spent with friends and family, or even just reflecting and planning for the year ahead. Don't feel like your holidays have to be perfect! This is obviously just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what can stress you out, but planning ahead and being realistic is the first step. Happy December, Vingle!