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Holiday Stress-Busters: Advice for Parents

    3. Don't Give in to the "Gimmes"
    "I want, I want!" This familiar phrase can wear parents down over the holidays, but giving in to your child's every request can cause financial distress. Psychologist Dorothy Cantor says, "It's okay to tell your child that a gift is too expensive. Tell him that even Santa Claus has limited funds."

    Another way to fight the commercialism of the holidays is to beef up on the traditions that don't cost any extra money. Vernon says, "Bake cookies, go caroling, give to needy families, or volunteer. Explain to your kids that there are a lot of families who don't have as much as they do." To get kids into the spirit of giving, ask them to pick a few of their old toys to donate to the less fortunate.

    4. Be Realistic About Relatives
    When the in-laws visit this season, have realistic expectations for the short term. "Don't try to solve past issues with family members over the holidays," warns Vernon. "It's not the time to bring up every little irritation. Use discretion." And if going to a certain relative's house every year causes a lot of holiday stress, decide if you really need to do it. Maybe you can go every other year instead.

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