First let me tell you that men have no clue how stressful it can be for a woman. Even if your partner is the most understanding one, he cannot conceive how much energy it takes from you, ladies, to organize and do what it takes to make the holiday season a success.

In addition, here in the US it is a marathon with Thanksgiving as a starting point and New Year’s eve the arrival line.

Gentlemen, if you don’t want to deal with an overstressed woman at Christmas, you had better bring in your wonderful pragmatism to help her out.

All women, me included, want to do too much, too perfect, too wonderful…at their own expense. What it took me years to understand is that it may be the perfect picture, but if I am stressed, and easily irritated, I simply spoil the fun.

So the trick is to make it perfect enough so you, ladies, can enjoy it too, and not so perfect because at the end, everybody is perfectly happy with less.

Here what I have decided to do, to be at ease this holiday season:

I will loosen up on the decoration and choose what I really enjoy looking at to get this Christmas feel. I will book lightings and tree before Thanksgiving to make sure this is off my plate when December starts.

December in my house is an accelerated month because besides the usual holidays everybody has, I have my husband’s birthday, and until last year, I had my mother’s birthday. You will agree with me that coming up with two gifts ideas for the same person within weeks, is not an easy task.

The best way I found to handle this was to look for gifts throughout the year and mark down or buy what I find interesting. Some people do well with last minute shopping, I do not; and as we come closer to the date, the last thing I want to do is looking for a gift.

I have always done my own wrapping because I love the way the tree looks when presents of different sizes are displayed harmoniously underneath. This though is hard work. And it is impossible when you have extended family joining you. I will relax a bit on that and trust that the Christmas wrapping spirit will create its own harmony.

So unless it is very important to you, drop it all together and choose gifts that come with nice wrapping… Sorry guys, but wrapping is important!

Last not least meals: planning is what makes a difference. I strongly suggest that you share your planning thoughts with your children if they are old enough. I have noticed that the more you communicate on this matter with husband and children, the more they help you. It then makes it fun and much more efficient. Men excel in optimizing any situation when we can get lost in details, so our best interest is to let them contribute.

Don’t feel Ladies, that all the pressure is on you: learn to delegate and accept that it might not be done your way. Remember that your daily life does not stop because it is the Holiday season: you still need to cope with the rest.

Plan whatever relaxes you right after D day. This will allow you to truly be thankful to be part of a family who loves you.

Ladies, don’t forget yourself in the process! Gentlemen remind her that it is ok if it is not absolutely perfect.

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays to you all!