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Are you worried your Christmas will be overshadowed by stress and anxiety? Let's explore the most common holiday stressors, and find out what you can do to cope.

Christmas is knocking on the door. Everyone expects you to be joyful but instead you are anxious, depressed or angry. How do you cope with the stress?

Budget Carefully

Spending money on presents, holiday foods, decorations and new clothes represents a very large part of the stress so many people feel at this time of the year. Are you already having sleepless nights, because you dread spending money you do not actually have? There is a simple solution. You may not like it, but the world will not end if you choose to apply it.

The solution I am talking about is, of course, opting out of the crazy spending. We are still in the middle of a recession, and you are not the only person in your circle of friends and relatives who will be relieved if you don't exchange expensive presents. Why not suggest $5 gifts for everyone — or say no to gift-giving altogether?

Giving only home-made presents is another option that can be cheaper.

Young children will be just as happy with small gifts, unless they are all hyped up on the idea of getting something big and expensive. In that case, they may need a few lessons about money, budgeting and how there's more to life that material things.

Christmas is nearly here, but if you have not already done so sit down to create a realistic budget. How much money can you spare for the holidays? What are your priorities? Then, make sure you do not go over that amount. Lock your credit cards away if you need to.

Don't Invite More People Than You Can Handle

Cooking, baking and hosting are other huge sources of stress for most people. You may well be feeling pressured into inviting relatives or friends over for Christmas dinner. Once you have done this, you will then be stressed out over the menu and what your home will look like.

There are, of course, people who simply love to host huge dinners and for whom a Christmas dinner party is the highlight of the year. If this is you, you're fine. I am not addressing you. Everyone else should be honest with themselves and not invite more people than they are sure they can handle.

Since Christmas is not that far away, the chances are that you have already invited people, and already invited more people than you really want to have over. Be honest about your stress with at least some of them, and ask for help. If your friend, sister or mom will help you shop, cook, or clean that will take a lot of the stress away. Next year, invite yourself over to somebody else's dinner instead.

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