Top 7 Ways to Keep the Happy in the Holidays

By Coupons.com's Jeanette Pavini for GalTime.com

Keep the 'happy' in the holidays! Keep the 'happy' in the holidays! How to stay happy this holiday season

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and good cheer, but for many of us the season brings its share of high stress. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. Say "bah humbug" to the holiday blues with these seven simple ways to keep the happy in your holidays!

1. Establish clear gift giving guidelines. When organizing a gift exchange, establish a price limit. While money talk might feel uncomfortable, giving is sure to be more enjoyable when you know that the gift you'll be giving and the gift you'll be receiving are within a comparable price range. Shopping can be stressful enough without having to worry whether your gift is too big or too small!

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2. Downscale your holiday party. You want to be able to enjoy your guests, not be tied to the kitchen the whole night! Serve dishes that can be assembled ahead of time that only require heating in the oven. Consider throwing a potluck where each guest brings a dish. Another fun and festive idea involves an appetizer, or dessert and cocktail party. Save money on hosting your holiday party by purchasing items on sale and using coupons.

3. Stay healthy during the holidays. In 2000, the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development did a study that determined we only gain about a pound during the holiday season. That doesn't sound so bad, but here's the catch, that weight tends to stick around and accumulate through the years. So in order to stay healthy and happy during the holidays, don't use celebrating as an excuse to slack on your exercise routine. Try to exercise the day of holiday parties, get those endorphins moving and you may be more likely to decline that second slice of pie. Indulge in moderation; eat one holiday cookie to appease the baker, but stop there, and fill at least half of your plate with vegetables before moving on to the other dishes.

4. Slow down. Between decorating, shopping, baking, cooking, wrapping, traveling, and entertaining, it can be easy to go through the motions of the holidays without ever actually stopping to enjoy them. Take a moment to think about activities that will force you to stop, breathe and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays. Take a walk around your neighborhood to look at Christmas lights, cozy up next to the tree with a cup of hot chocolate, host a gift-wrapping party with your friends, or play holiday music while you bake.

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5. Make others happy. Include a personal note with your holiday gifts rather than the standard "To" and "From" tag. Taking the time to personalize your gift message is a great way to recognize what the spirit of giving is truly about, not to mention a wonderful reminder as to why the recipient made it on your "nice" list this holiday season.

6. Prepare for shopping! Shopping can be a battlefield - arm yourself! Bring water, comfortable shoes, snacks and dress in layers. Carry a separate envelope to collect all of your receipts in the event of returns or exchanges. Small preparations can make your shopping experience more relaxing and enjoyable.

7. Have fun! Many of us only have an opportunity to meet up with old friends and distant family members during the holidays. Make the most out of your time together and visit sites like coupons.com to find restaurants and outings in your area offering great deals on having fun!

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