Easy Tips to Ease Holiday Stress

Twas the day of Black Friday when all through the store, not a person was smiling from ceiling to floor. The bargains were hung on the fixtures with care, in hopes that frayed shoppers soon would buy there.

Sound familiar? And the holiday shopping frenzy continues for 25 days after Black Friday. Take it from Santa’s little helper– you need to chill! We pets never get stressed over the holidays. Why bother? We just wait for our treats and toys. You never see us waiting in long lines for hours. So, take it from a pet expert on easing stress. Practice these tips to have a happy, healthy, harmonious holiday season.

Practice “Less is More.”

Who needs a pile of gifts that eventually wind up in a garage sale? Why send holiday cards to people you don’t bother with the rest of the year? Does anyone truly need all those Christmas cookies? Start a tradition of giving time or talent instead of more stuff. We pets love it most when you simply spend more time playing with us.

Reflect on the True Meaning of the Holiday.

Pause, take a deep breath (or pant) and question the significance of your holiday traditions. Most holidays are not historically rooted in commercialism or competition for the most lights decorating the house.

Ask for Help.

Even when you simplify, chores still abound during the holidays. Ask (don’t beg) for help. Most people are willing to assist when you give them ample time and let them tackle tasks in their preferred way. Who knows? You might like what they do better. We pets will be happy to sample cookie dough or fetch bows to top those magical Christmas packages.

Mend Fences Before Holiday Gatherings.

Most of us know that difficult uncle, jealous sister-in-law or snobby cat who can dampen holiday cheer. When possible, mend fences or establish boundaries with these people or pets ahead of time. Otherwise, limit or avoid contact with them.

Reach Out to Someone in Need.

Perhaps you have a lonely aunt who will spend Christmas alone in a nursing home. Imagine her gratitude and delight to receive a surprise visit from you and your pet. Her caregivers will appreciate a tin of home-made cookies, as well.

Stay Balanced.

Avoid those extra pounds gained during the holiday season by enjoying those candies and eggnog only on the holidays – not the entire month of December. When you do indulge, take your precious dog for an extra-long walk within 20 minutes of that big meal. That will help to burn those calories.

Create a New Holiday Tradition.

Pursue at least one tradition that truly holds meaning for you. This could include reading an inspirational poem or sacred text, teaching a child how to bake or making a unique ornament in memory of a loved one. Or consider volunteering in an animal shelter where many of our pet friends feel lonely.

Write it Down.

Don’t rely on your memory. Keep a notebook or smartphone handy to job down tasks, ideas, gift lists and dates. Plus, we pets love to chew on scraps of paper strewn about the house.

Modify Your Expectations.

Not everyone enjoys a Normal Rockwell holiday season. Just ask Max, the Grinch’s adorable little dog. Reduce your disappointments by resisting the temptation to compare your holiday happenings to those you observe on television, movies or within your own life.

Practice Gratitude.

During this holiday season, focus more on what you have than what you want. Take the extra time to appreciate your simple joys – such as your darling pet.


When you finish your holiday chores, please remember to laugh and have some fun. We pets can’t wait to jump into those empty boxes after the family opens gifts.

Follow these tips, and you will enjoy your holidays a lot more! Have a Healthy, Happy Holiday Season! Look forward to 2020, a year of clearer vision.

Photo of Gabby, submitted by Jeanne Prendergast.