We are officially in the holiday homestretch and there’s no doubt that the stress is setting in as the hours tick down to Christmas and New Years. To help keep your sanity intact, MadameNoire has a few dos and don’ts to insulate you from common holiday headaches.

DO: Put Off Hosting If You Can

It’s not that we don’t love being surrounded by friends and family during the holiday season. We do. We love being able to join together and have a good time over great food and some drinks. But what we don’t love is drawing the short straw and having to host all of these wonderful people in our home. Between the cooking, the cleaning, the ordering and the overall event managing that has to be done, we suggest that if you’re able to put off hosting this year, don’t be bashful about doing so!

DON’T: Procrastinate On Holiday Shopping

At this point, if you haven’t handled your holiday shopping, you might be in a frenzy trying to figure out what to get with only days left until Christmas. And while we’d be remiss to not provide a gentle reminder that procrastinating on holiday shopping is not a great idea, if you are in the late purchaser boat, might we suggest a few easy, last-minute gifts: Experiences (from Broadway shows to concerts, tickets can be purchased easily in the eleventh hour), gift cards are genuinely not a bad idea either or hit up good ol’ Amazon for some clutch two-day shipping (with an Amazon Prime membership).

DO: Carve Out Time With Friends

While we did encourage putting off hosting a gathering this year, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to spend time with our friends. The holidays can be an insanely busy time of the year. From office holiday parties to running a ton of errands to fulfilling family commitments, it can sometimes be tricky to find time to hang out with your friends. But somehow, someway find that time. In the midsts of holiday craziness, spending quality time with your besties can be exactly what you need.

DON’T: Overbook Yourself

As we mentioned, the holidays are busy! From now through the end of the year, your schedule is probably jam-packed with commitments. But we strongly caution you to avoid overbooking yourself. While holiday partying for five straight days might seem like a good idea in theory, trust us when we say it’s not. You want to enjoy your holiday events and it’ll be tough to do so if you’re operating with a hangover and on little sleep. Which leads us to our next suggestion ….

DO: Treat Yo’ Self

We can’t say this enough … treat yo’ self during this holiday homestretch. Yes, we know it’s busy. Yes, we know it’s stressful, but all the more reason to make sure that you carve out time to do things you want to do. Go get a massage, get a manicure, or just sleep a little longer tomorrow night. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something you want to do and that it’ll help you decompress from the holidays.

DON’T: Get Too Shwasty

There are few times of the year that are boozier than the entire month of December. Sure you’ve got select days throughout the year that are drunken messes (I’m looking at you St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo), but December is truly a marathon of alcohol consumption. So while we’re not saying don’t have a good time, we are cautioning to keep the boozin’ in check.

DO: Dress Warmly

Yes, we know, you want to look cute. We also know that during your wild college days you often disregarded the forecast just so that you could prance around scantily dressed and ready to pick up a cutie at the bar. But we’re grown now and those foolish days are over. You can still look stylish without freezing your buns off.

DON’T: Get Sucked Into Holiday Drama

Friend and family get-togethers combined with alcohol can often lead to some uncomfortable situations. Especially in a year as politically charged and tense as this one, holiday conversations could get, ahem, interesting. But we strongly suggest staying out of the fray. Like far, far away from the fray. Don’t let uncomfortable conversations rain on your holiday parade.

DO: Have Fun

This is a simple one, but something that can be easily forgotten during the holidays. It’s a time to have fun! Regardless of how much running around you still have to do before 2017, remember that there is something really special about this time of the year. The decorations, the goodwill, the never-ending sounds of “All I Want For Christmas” in the air … there is a lot to really appreciate during the holiday season.

DON’T: Fret Family Time

As we alluded to earlier, 2016 was a rough, divisive year. A lot of people are truly worried about heading home and dealing with friends and family with all the drama in our world circulating. But we want to leave you with one bit of positivity here: Despite the negativity, despite the fear, despite and anger, take the holidays as a time to come together in the spirit of love and understanding … it’ll do us all a lot of good if we kick off 2017 together, rather than divided.

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