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GRATIAS: How to Reduce the Hectic in the Holidays

Submitted by Melissa Gratias on Fri, 12/16/2016 - 8:46am

There are so many things to do, both personally and professionally in the next few days.

You are committed to three holiday parties plus a big presentation for work. You haven’t finished buying gifts for your employees and family and hate the crowds and traffic this time of year. It is a lot to handle on top of your normal workload.

Even so, using a few organizing tools can contribute to an enjoyable holiday season.  I hope these tips will help you reduce your stress.

Tips for a Balanced Holiday Season:

  • Collect money for a charity in lieu of a holiday party and gifts to co-workers.
  • Make gift giving easy – Shop online and ship the gift directly to the recipient.
  • Cancel meetings that cover topics that can wait until next year.
  • Be present and in the moment – Enjoy your child’s holiday performance. The work will be there when you get back.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself – this isn’t about perfection.  Be realistic with your expectations.  You’ll probably be spending more time than usual on non-work activities.  It’s okay.
  • If you have an offsite meeting near a shopping area, plan to go directly from the meeting to do some shopping.  Make a list (check it twice) and keep it with you.
  • Find a co-worker who has similar errands to run.  During lunch, you can stand in line at the post office for both of you while your co-worker runs your collective errands at another location.

Of all the traditions we have in my family, the most important one I want to pass down to my children is a balanced approach to the holidays.  I want them to remember the joy of the season and family gatherings.  I will have to say “no” to some personal and professional demands to achieve that goal, but long term, it is worth it.


Don’t just go calendar shopping.  Learn to Love Your Calendar…and be monogamous.



Dr. Melissa Gratias (pronounced "Gracious") is a work psychologist who helps overwhelmed and underappreciated businesspeople be more focused and effective. Since 2007, thousands of people have graduated with honors from her onsite sessions, distance coaching, productivity seminars, and corporate consulting projects. Based in Savannah, Georgia, Melissa is available for nationwide consulting and speaking engagements. Contact her via email at or call 912-417-2505. Sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter or visit her website,