Survival guide to the Holidays

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Are you ready for Christmas? Is all your shopping done? All the gifts wrapped? The house cleaned for the relatives? Refrigerator stocked?

Wait a second... This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, right??? But between the decorating, cooking, family gatherings and shopping, not to mention the gift wrapping that follows those shopping trips, it's easy to forget the reason for the season.

Jessa Goddard has five ways to avoid the Holiday stress.

Just six days left until christmas. It should be time spent enjoying family and friends. One of the most sacred times of the year. However, if you're like most American families, it will instead be a time of stress.

There are some ways to avoid excess stress leading up to Christmas morning. Make lists and stick to them.

Focus on what's important and what needs to be done first. Focus style consultant Sherry Ailor says do things ahead of time if you can, and don't sweat the small stuff.

"Then you can go to the exact location in the store for those items you're going to cut down on roaming through the store without having a clue as to what you're going to be looking for," Ailor said.

Pamper yourself. Psychiatrist John Robertson says take time to relax.

"You've got to take care of yourself first, you do need to prioritize, managing yourself, treat yourself well, treat yourself as well as you treat anybody else," Robertson said.

Which leads to taking care of your body. Eat well and exercise. Holiday eating can cause added anxiety because of the concern about weight gain. It's also important to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night to give your body time to recharge.

Don't buy gifts for everyone. Ailor says you'll save money by only purchasing gifts for only those you feel you must, for everyone else, be creative.

"And put a little gift certificate in there from you to spend time with them. A gift of time to someone that's special in your life is so much more important than the dollars that you spend," Ailor said.

Finally, shop during the week and during extended holiday hours. Stores are less crowded then, so you won't have to wait in line as long.

Santa didn't make you his only little helper, so include your family in decision-making, decorating, chores and gift shopping.

The experts at Peninsula Behavioral Health provided us with the advice you just heard, and they have many more ideas in their 2007 Holiday Survival Handbook.