Do these 6 holiday stress hurdles sound familiar? Here's how you can avoid them.
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Hallmark

Many people say the holidays are the happiest time of year. (And they should be!) But for others, the season is also the most stressful time of the year.

Whether you’re dealing with family, time, or money issues — or all three — it can get very overwhelming very quickly.

Luckily, Hallmark has some simple, effective tips on how to spread smiles, not stress, over the holidays. Check out some of their suggestions to show you #CareEnough this time of year:


Holidays have you stressed? Here are some helpful tips on caring for yourself and others. #CareEnough

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Upworthy on Saturday, December 17, 2016

Where does all that holiday stress come from in the first place? And what exactly can we do about it?

Sometimes, a little outside perspective is just what the doctor ordered. We enlisted the help of Dr. Sharon Kelly, a clinical psychologist, and Dena Patton, a certified life and business coach, to break down what causes holiday stress, what we can do to manage it, and how to keep the spirit of the season strong.

Here are six different hurdles that many people find themselves facing:

1. Feuding with the family.

Where it comes from: “I think most people that I see, there’s some family triggers, family history, family dynamics, interpersonal conflicts. That creates a lot of anxiety for people,” says Kelly. There's no doubt that our disagreements and attitudes towards family can get in the way of the celebration. And the more we hold on to them, the more we allow them to reach a boiling point.

What you can do: It all starts with you. “Choose to bring joy, not stress, to the party,” Patton writes in an email.

“The opportunity is in your hands,” adds Kelly. “You change the meaning that you attach to [the holidays], you change your response to it, you change your intention for the day. If you know that a certain person is going to really get under your skin, how do you go into that situation?”

2. Money, money, money! (For gifts, gifts, gifts.)

Where it comes from: “There’s all this anxiety around what to get people,” says Kelly. “Is this the right gift? Are they going to like this? Is this going to show how I feel about them?" When that stress hits, some people think an expensive gift will do the trick. Kelly adds, "They actually spend more even if it’s not something that you want.”

What you can do: “Have a budget and stick to it,” writes Patton. “Do not go into debt out of feeling obligated.” When it comes down to it, simply being prepared and knowing ahead of time how you’re going to plan your attack will ease all your emotions.

3. Holiday party obligations piling up.

Where it comes from: First off, there can be too many parties this time of year. And second, many times, these parties become more about impressing others and less about the actual gathering. “I know people that have these big, beautiful parties because they’re really good at it,” says Kelly. “But it’s, like, way over the top, and they have all this anxiety, no one appreciates it.”

What you can do: If throwing or going to a big party brings you joy, go for it! Just remember to do it for the right reason. “Pick your battles here,” writes Patton. “Practice your boundaries and don't say yes to every party. Make this year the [one] you are doing things that really bring you joy and cut out the things that bring you stress.”

4. HUGE crowds and looooong lines.

Where it comes from: The stress that long lines bring boils down to one simple idea: waiting until the last minute. Holiday crowds and shopping are a totally different animal, and remembering that will save you so much time in the long run.

What you can do: “Shop online or go shopping in off peak hours when crowds aren't present,” writes Patton. “Planning ahead in this area really helps.” Plus, the beauty of the modern world is that we can do all the holiday shopping we need without ever leaving the house.

5. All that food around you!

Where it comes from: If you’re cooking the food, it’s pretty easy to see how all the stress can creep in. As the number of diners rises, so does the pressure to get things right. If you’re just eating, though, try not to overdo it. All that indulgence and excess may come back to stress you out later on.

What you can do: “Have a plan and work the plan!” writes Patton. “If the plan is to indulge, then go for it, but if you promised yourself not to gain 10 pounds then never go to a party hungry.”

6. More-than-full to-do lists.

Where it comes from: “The bottom line is that we are busy — actually we are over-scheduled!” writes Patton. “We pile on more things to our schedule, our money and our emotional state and we go into overload.”

What you can do: If you're feeling overwhelmed, Kelly has a simple suggestion. "I would have them just step back in a quiet moment on their own," she says. "Really think about if they were really happy and [if] they really were going to enjoy the season ... how would they design it? What choices would they make?"

Whichever combination of hurdles apply to you, address the stress by taking a breath, planning ahead, and really thinking about what the holiday spirit means for you.

Ultimately, if we understand what brings us joy and make a conscious effort to really pay attention to that, then good things will follow. In fact, take a breather once in a while if you need to. If there's one S-word that should describe the holidays. It's special — not stress.

"Remember that this season isn't about gifts, stress, or social media," notes Patton. "It's about faith, family and making memories. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the busy-ness that we forget what really matters."

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.