Summer flew by, Halloween came and went, and before we knew it, we are prepping for the upcoming holiday season. As magical as the holidays are, with friends and loved ones coming together, it’s also a time of stress and never-ending to-do lists. There are plenty of things you can do to keep you and your families sane during the last two months of the year!

Keep yourself in check with lists. Instead of a last-minute dash to the store for gifts or last forgotten ingredients, start now by making thorough lists. Write out the names of those you want to acknowledge during the holidays and why—figuring out what you really appreciate about someone can make gift buying easier. 

Stay on schedule. As much as you possibly can, try to stick with your normal routine during the holidays. Don’t stay out at late at holiday parties. Don’t pull an all-nighter wrapping presents or baking pies for Thanksgiving. Disrupting your schedule and losing out on sleep can make your mood deteriorate.

Do something different. This year, does the prospect of the usual routine fill you with holiday dread rather than holiday joy? If so, don’t surrender to it. Try something different. Have Thanksgiving at a restaurant. Spend Christmas day at the movie theater. Donate gifts instead of keeping them.

Keep your expectations modest. Don’t get hung up on what the holidays are supposed to be like and how you’re supposed to feel. If you’re comparing your holidays to some abstract greeting card ideal, they’ll always come up short.

Make room for those that matter most. It’s easy to feel the weight of social obligations during the holidays. We can get caught up in a fear of pleasing others and do what seems “right”. If you can’t make your boss’ party, maybe you can take him out for coffee or get a small gift instead.

As with everything, if you stay present in the moment and appreciate the experience, you won’t be overwhelmed with too much stress this holiday season.