The holidays can make us or break us. There is so much going on - where to spend the holidays, who is coming over, and how to accommodate everyone's needs and wants. The holidays could quickly turn into total chaos if they're not planned carefully.

Every holiday season for the past seven years, my family and I have had the same troubles - if we are going to celebrate at a restaurant or if one of us will be hosting the party at our place. Then we need to figure out the finance aspect of the holidays. There are the gifts, flying family in, food shopping or the restaurant expenses. Because there is a lot to think about, we set up a plan hoping to accommodate everyone as much as possible. Sometimes, there is one unhappy person who somehow manages to raise our stress level. But the key to dealing with the stress is maintaining a positive attitude - and a smile. At the end of the day, we come to a consensus and end up having a great time.

Below are five ways to survive family holiday stress:

Organize a family meeting

During this time, you should delegate a leader who will take down everyone's ideas and suggestions. Once everyone has voiced his or her suggestions, discuss the pros and cons of each suggestion. Then take a vote on the most popular idea and work from there.

Map out a plan

Once the plan is ready, do not change it - especially at the last minute. I guarantee a disaster can occur. The plan should be detailed and agreed upon by the majority of the family members.

Develop a budget

Know exactly what you can spend. Do not exceed this amount simply to satisfy others. The last thing you need is debt. Try to divide the expenses among siblings or family members if the cost is out of your range.

Assign tasks

Older children and adults should be assigned a specific task. One person should not be held responsible for all the preparations. Everyone's participation is welcomed - and necessary.

Keep the harmony during the actual holidays

OK, there is no denying that family discussions (during the holidays) can get somewhat heated. An argument can build up over something minuscule. Try interjecting by stating words of wisdom. Explain that these are the holidays and only fun times should be shared. If that doesn't work, try to diffuse the argument by separating the individuals at fault. Ask someone else in your family to help you. One of you should take one of the parties to a different room while the other takes the other person at fault for a walk outside. Once everyone has cooled off, return to the party. Continue having a good time. It's the holidays after all.

There is no denying that the holidays can be intense and overwhelming - from the planning to the actual holiday. Nevertheless, it is up to you to make the best of it. Speak to someone about your stress. Together a resolution could be made to eliminate the stress. Turn your stress into a positive energy. Remember at the end of it all, the holidays are meant to spend a special time close to your loved ones.

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