The countdown to Christmas is closing in.  As the time shrinks the tension grows—BUT-- the holidays don't have to stress you out. You can have a holly jolly Christmas with more "ho, ho, ho" and less "go, go, go," says top psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Pietropinto. In the final few hours before


Christmas, here are the doctor's simple tips for de-stressing the holiday:

  • Rent some Christmas videos -- Invite friends over or share a movie night with your family. Watching timeless classics like "White Christmas," "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street," help us relax and remember what Christmas is all about.
  • Trim down your shopping list -- You don't need to buy an excessive number of gifts. Make an agreement with family members to limit the exchange to one gift per person.
  • Take a vacation day -- If you can manage it, take a day or two off from work so that you can relax and do your Christmas chores at a leisurely pace. If you're a homemaker, get someone to watch your kids for an afternoon.
  • Build on your past successes -- Think back on Christmases that went well and figure out what made them good -- then try to recapture that. Usually it's the family and friends around you, the good times you had -- not the presents you received.
  • Don't go crazy on the wrapping -- The kids are going to tear it off in seconds anyway. So use simple paper and labels -- or just labels and no wrapping at all.
  • Watch what you drink -- Even mild overindulgence can give you a next-day low, adding to your feelings of being overwhelmed. Then you can make the mistake of drinking too much coffee, which can make you feel jittery and disrupt your sleep.
  • Do what feels good -- Does chocolate pick you up? Have one. Such foods in small doses won't hurt and may even help by making you feel less stressed or deprived.
  • Get enough sleep -- Too many late night parties, Christmas concerts and wrapping and baking marathons will seriously deplete your ability to handle stress.
  • Read a favorite Christmas story -- Find a quiet corner, a cup of cocoa and favorite blanket and curl up and read the story you most loved as a child. Try "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Twas the Night Before Christmas."
  • AND from all of us at KIT – Have a very Merry Christmas!!!