It’s always something. And the holiday season tends to exaggerate that “something” for many families, causing parents and children high levels of anxiety. From family visits, to gift-giving, to long meals and celebrations, children and adults have certain expectations about the holiday season. Here are some tips to help you manage your great holiday expectations: 1 – Plan Ahead. You probably have at least a few days filled with more activities than usual. Get the kids to sleep earlier the night before. Pack favorite activities for them, so they can unwind on the go. Bring snacks and a lot of liquids as dehydrated, hungry children and adults are typically less flexible. And consider your child’s temperament before you commit to an activity. You might want your children to try ice skating in the dark, but they might not appreciate staying up later than usual to attempt a new activity. 2 – Volunteer. Nothing puts the holiday season in perspective more than helping other people. Studies show that helping others reduces stress. Whether you visit people who are alone in a Senior Home, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or donate gifts to children in shelters, you can make a great difference in the lives of others. Hopefully, this will also help your children appreciate all that they have in their lives. 3 – Don’t Expect Perfection. Be flexible. Expect someone to scream or vomit. Expect to forget to put out the sour cream for the potato pancakes. Expect your kids to be annoyed that they didn’t get that new, ridiculously expensive gift they put on their holiday wish list. Expect your Aunt Ida to criticize your Christmas tree. And just laugh. If you roll with the punches, the holidays will be a time of togetherness, laughter, and memories. Even if your egg nog tastes like heavy cream. 4 – Take a Break. Put aside some time to continue to read that book you couldn’t put down or to watch your favorite television show. Take a long shower. Go for a long walk. Think about the past year, and everything that made you smile. Keep those memories with you as you confront the business of the holidays, and remember that you are doing the best you can. This holiday season, take a step back. Calmly coping with holiday season anxiety, and maintaining your family’s routine, could lead to a more relaxed holiday filled with the special memories that you wanted in the first place. From the GAMECHANGER family to your family, we wish you a relaxing, fulfilling, and most of all a happy holiday season.