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Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday

’Tis the season…to have a nervous breakdown? Get tips and advice on how to manage holiday dinners, family get-togethers, travel hassles, and more.

Low-Stress Entertaining

4 Jobs Worth Delegating
Guests often ask “How can I help?” Here are some jobs that most party-goers would be happy to take over and relieve some of your holiday stress.

How Do You Take the Stress Out of Holiday Entertaining?
Readers share tips that will lower your stress and lift your spirits.

Little girl next to a Christmas tree

Easy Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Make it through the holidays without combusting with this handbook of tips.
Photo:  Francesco Lagnese

10 DIY Holiday and Christmas Decorations

Festive decorating and entertaining ideas that are easy to pull together.
Photo: Paul Raeside/Homes & Gardens/IPC+ Syndication

10 Easy Pie Recipes for the Holidays

From the classics (chocolate cream) to the unexpected (raspberry buttermilk), these simple pie recipes will please everyone gathered around your holiday table.
Photo: John Kernick

14 Expert Holiday Cooking Tips

Take some of the stress out of the holidays with these shortcuts and techniques from the Real Simple test kitchen.
Photo: John Kernick
Little girl next to a Christmas tree
Stairway decorated for the holidays
Basic Flaky Piecrust
Thanksgiving dinner plate

Low-Stress Recipes

Pears With Blue Cheese and Prosciutto

35 Easy, Elegant Recipes for Christmas Dinner
From appetizers to desserts, these recipes are as special as the holiday itself.

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Stacked suitcases

Holiday Travel Essentials Checklist

Beth Whitman, author of Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo ( offers her sanity-maintaining must-haves for holiday travelers.

  • An efficient carry-on bag. Look for one that’s roomy enough for essentials but small enough to fit in the overhead bin, like the Timbuk2 Copilot bag ($225,

    Related: 6 Tricks to Fit Everything in One Suitcase 

  • A bulky outfit for the plane. Save space in your suitcase by wearing your heaviest clothes and shoes en route. Bundling up will also keep you warm on a chilly flight and help you avoid exceeding the baggage weight limit for checked pieces.

    Related: Are You a Good Packer?

  • Noise-canceling headphones. When you want to sleep, drown out crying babies and other distractions with these earphones. If you travel a lot, they’re especially worth their cost.

View The Entire Checklist

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