*Look at your calendar and set REALISTIC goals for whatever you accomplish each day in terms of what has to be done. Whatever does not get done on one day can go on another day's list; this is not a big deal.
*Try to make easy meals or casseroles ahead to use on busy days or cook enough for an easy "leftover" meal. Have other family members including children help out with meals and clean up. Ask others to help with errands, shopping, cleaning or doing things with the kids.
*If company is coming, consider "pot luck". It gives everyone a chance to share recipes.
*Get enough REST and EXERCISE even if you need to cat nap or do stretching instead of a full workout. Keep healthy snacks on hand in the refrigerator at all times; this will help reduce the temptation to eat holiday cookies and candy.
*Trade of shopping time with a friend who also has young children. Then each of you can shop without the kids for at least some of the time.
*keep your SENSE OF HUMOR. When you see some of the inevitable holiday problems as funny, it takes the edge off. For example:
--- The time it takes to find a parking place is inversely proportional to the time you spend shopping.
---The other line always moves faster.
---Interchangeable parts won't be.
---Amnesia strikes all family members when the tape and scissors can not be found.
---Children have built in detection devices for finding gifts you have cleverly hidden.
---Christmas trees seem to grow an average of one to two feet when you bring them indoors.
*When your children grow up they will not remember your perfectly clean house and perfect decorations: they will remember the FUN and LOVE you shared together. Make your time count; don't let stress steal it.