Simple steps to get through the holidays stress-free

Kids just love the holidays with all the presents, the parties and the fun.

But Santa isn't doing all that work himself. The stress of making all the magic happen can take its toll on families.

Mental health advocates offer advice on how to get through New Year's without having a meltdown.

Ten-year-old Madeleine Huh is a true believer in everything Christmas.

"I like opening presents and giving presents," she said, "I do believe in elves. They help Santa make toys and deliver them."

To help Santa and the elves create all that holiday magic, Maddy's mom Elizabeth Huh has a to-do list a mile long!

"I do! It gets a little bit crazy this time of year for sure," Huh said. "You have to bring canned goods. You have to bring a white elephant gift, a dish to share, etc., etc."

YouTube sensation and Santa Monica-based marriage and family therapist Kati Morton said, "There are a lot of stressors during the holidays. It can be everything from travel, money, spending time with family. Don't let overspending stress you out. Stick to a gift list and budget."

Morton said the best way to sanely navigate all the festivities sanely is to put this on your list: Boundaries.

Her advice? Pick the things you can realistically do and assign time limits. Communicate that to your friends and family and hold fast to what you've planned.

"That could be I'm going to show up by 3 p.m. because that's when everybody else is getting there, but I have to leave by 7:00 or I have to leave by 5 p.m.," she said.

And if you have a toxic relative you dread seeing, don't see them. Morton said going forward, if it's safe and comfortable, talk about your grievances. Give them a chance because sometimes they don't know their actions are hurting you. It's better than ghosting them, however. The holidays may not be the right occasion for that.

"Now might not be a good time to engage in conversation or try to fix things," Morton said.

After years of stressful holidays, Elizabeth Huh, a mother of three, has learned to keep her kids' expectations in check.

"Prioritize what's important," Huh said.

The focus should be on being together.

Madeleine said, "I think the most important thing about Christmas is spending time with your family and friends."
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