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How to de-stress your Christmas and enjoy difficult relatives

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Christmas 2013 doesn't have to be a season filled with money, time and travel worries. In fact, there are as many as 18 ways you can dial down holiday stress this year based upon a Dec. 9 article by The Town Talk.com. One of those ways, according to Town Talk, is to take the holidays with a grain of humor, like comedian Tom Mabe is famous for doing in his Top 10 Classic Pranks video.

Instead of fuming or crying when your loved one adds one more "pick this up for me" item on your already too long "to do" list, you can replay Tom's free YouTube video and let off some steam with laughter. Mabe has about every possible frustrating situation covered and then some.

Another way to dial down stress this time of the year is by relaxing your expectations about what you expect to happen. Stop shooting for perfection and just relax and accept your relatives, coworkers and boss as they are. You aren't going to be able to change them anyway, especially not in a week or less.

Helping others is another way to de-stress during Christmas. It takes the focus off of what might be troubling you and puts it on helping someone else deal with their problems. A side benefit is that you may come to realize that your troubles are really just a blimp on the radar of life compared to what other people are dealing with this time of the year.

The Town Talk also reports that too much together time with family and friends in December can lead to an overabundance of psychotherapy appointments in January as a result. So if you have to stay in town for more than a day or two with relatives when visiting, try to take trips away from the house when possible, to get a break from the family crowd. A short trip away for a latte can do wonders to diffuse tensions by the time you return.

Other ways to reduce stress during the Christmas season include discussing budget limitations and other important issues with your spouse and children in advance of gift buying, party attendance or extended family visits. In addition, eating well, exercising, listening to music and just taking a walk can help.

Most importantly, don't forget that the people around the table or Christmas tree this year may not be the same ones still around it next year. So let little things pass and focus more on the positive things about your loved ones and friends that you enjoy. And remember to add some humor into your day, because you probably have your on Christmas version of The Three Stooges. And it really is true that "Laughter doeth good like a medicine." So laugh it up this holiday season.

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