5 strategies for a stress-free holiday season.

Even for those of us who look forward to the season, the holidays can be a bit overwhelming. The pressure to create a memorable holiday season filled with gatherings, delicious food, and sought after gifts will leave you feeling depleted if you are not able to find balance. So, this year, before the kids have even asked us to read The Night Before Christmas for the thousandth time, let's take a moment to review the top five ways to ensure we have a stress-free holiday season.

1. Shop early for gifts people will use.

How could you possibly know what to get each and every person on your list? Think of a great gift that most anyone could use (like Lands' End winter accessories). Order those online, have them gift boxed and delivered.

2. Don’t overbook your weekends.

Have you ever looked at your schedule from November through January and wondered when you'd even have time to launder your clothing? It is okay to say no. Sometimes you just can't make it to every event, and that’s fine. Give yourself the permission to be half as booked as you were last year. Leaves more time for fleece pajamas Saturdays, complete with cozy slippers.

3. Set aside one-on-one time for the people you love the most.

Look within the walls of your own home. Those people, the ones you see every day, or would if you could, those are the ones you need to spend your time with during the holidays. Free time doesn't just magically happen. Let the kids pick out their Christmas matching pajamas and family picture pose. Creating traditions during the holidays strengthens your lifelong bond.

4. Allow someone else to make half of the meal when you host.

When hosting holiday meals, make what you are best at and leave the rest of the cooking to someone else. Whether you choose to have some of the meal catered in, or decide to host potluck gatherings, you will never regret liberating yourself from the kitchen.

5. Feed your inner harmony.

You are equally as important as any obligation you have this holiday season. Know yourself. What do you need? Have you been hinting at the new cashmere sweater for three years now with no luck? Go buy it. Could you use a facial? Go get one. Would a glass of wine and a little holiday music by the fireside replenish to your soul? Pop the cork. Whatever it is that feeds your inner harmony, go for it this holiday season and don't feel one bit guilty (not a bad idea for the other months of the year either...).

Put these five strategies to work for you this season so you can get back to enjoying the holidays instead of stressing over them.