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Be realistic – we all dream of perfect 'Santa down the chimney, covered in snow' Christmases, but in reality this is hard to achieve. So keep your expectations real. Perfect Christmases come from accepting what is not good, and taking action to improve it rather than wishing it will all come right on the day – if you don't get on with your family the rest of the year, then getting together at Christmas is going to really confirm that.

How to deal with it – remember that Christmas day is just one day. So if you have commitments that you have to honour on that day, create your own perfect day on another date in the holiday period – book a pampery day at a spa, invite all your friends round for a party, or disappear off to the seaside with your loved ones.

Step out of the routine – We often feel obliged to do things because we feel that is what someone else wants us to do. Just because someone said how much they enjoyed having everyone over on Christmas day, or loved the socks you bought them, does not mean they will get the same enjoyment year in, year out. We may well think our elderly parents love having us all bickering around the Christmas table, and feel resentment because we want to be doing something else - but has anyone bothered to talk about this?

How to deal with it – talk to everyone involved.You may well find that everyone has been longing to break the routine, but all thought that everyone else loved it so didn't want to hurt their feelings.

Be tolerant – Christmas is a very emotive time so expect nerves to be a bit more tingly than usual. Christmas tends to bring back childlike emotions in all of us. That makes us more demanding, if we don't get our own way, and this can cause real friction.

How to deal with it – It's all about communication and team work – if you can all agree that you don't want to disagree over Christmas then get any concerns out in the open well in advance.

Stop making it a chore – Christmas is not compulsory, but so many people start complaining about it months in advance as if it is some sort of endurance test! Christmas is supposed to be a pleasurable time, and if you start off with a negative attitude, you can guarantee that it will be a very negative event.

How to deal with it - We all have problems in our life that won't disappear just because it is Christmas. Take positive steps to bring pleasure and satisfaction into your life over the holiday period and put your problems on hold. Say to yourself that you are going to do everything that you can to make Christmas as enjoyable as possible, and this will involve addressing negative aspects that could prevent that from happening.

Be Happy, Be Healthy
Do you want to be the happiest and healthiest you have ever been?

For support, help, advice and information on how to make this happen for you, visit Liz Tucker's stress-busting, health-boosting supersite www.behappybehealthy.com.

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