- Take Turns. Deciding whose family to go to, and when, can always be a little dicey. You may have always done things a certain way, but now is the time to start compromising. Split the holiday in half - on Christmas Eve go to your family's and on Christmas Day go to your partner's side. Who can argue with 50/50?
- Be Realistic. Every family has some conflict during the holidays and it doesn't have to ruin the day. Being realistic and having your expectations in line will help. If your mother in law always comments on what you are wearing, be prepared to hear it and have a response that won't cause you more grief.
- Just Say No. If you know that dealing with your relatives will cause too much stress on you and your family, it's ok to say no. Celebrating the holiday's with just your partner and kids can be just as fun as with extended relatives especially if you know they will dampen your spirits.
- Stick to your budget. You have set a budget, now the trick is to stick to it! It's easy to get caught up in trying to make every one's holiday the best ever, but remember that spending more on that person won't always make the difference. If there is something that you really want to buy that is putting you over your budget, take note of the item and get it for their Birthday or return something else to make the purchase and stay on track.
- Decide who's on your list. Make a list of who you intend to buy for and then divide your budget among them. If you have ideas about what you intend to buy, write those down, if not - try to decide on what you want to spend on each person.
- Shop online. Shopping online helps you stay focused on what you intend to buy, therefore can help you stick to what you intend to spend. Shopping online can also help you come up with idea's for affordable gifts. Many on line stores present gift ideas by price range, helping you stay on target.
- Pack Smart. Again, having a list of what you need to pack and crossing those items off as you pack them will help ease your stress. Pack as early as you can for your trip, especially the things you don't need leading up to the trip.
- Get enough sleep. Try to get a good night sleep before you leave. Traveling while tired will only add to your stress as well as your patience level!
- Dress for comfort. No on wants to be stuck on a plane or on a long car ride in uncomfortable clothes. Being comfortable allows you to relax for the trip ahead of you and hopefully even get some rest!