The holiday season can be such a magical time of year, full of lights, laughter, and merriment as we get together and celebrate with family and friends. This season, the promise of a new baby arriving in the next few months brings an extra layer of joy to the festivities for you and your family. But the holidays can also be demanding and stressful, and dealing with a pregnancy on top of it all can add even more stress to your plate. What can you do to make the holidays stress-free for you and your baby?

1. Just say no

The holidays come with many obligations: parties, presents, decorations, the end of year wrap up at work. It can be overwhelming and very stressful to find time to fit everything in. But you don’t have to – and you shouldn’t. It’s okay to say no. Resist the holiday baking if it’s stressing you out and go store-bought instead. Say no to helping with the holiday pageant this year. Avoid the people and situations that cause you stress. The health of you and your baby is the most important concern right now, so listen to your body and say no if it’s too much. People will understand.

2. Online shopping is your best friend

Traipsing around all over town searching for the perfect gift, trudging back and forth across the mall – holiday shopping is hard enough without swollen feet, aching joints, and stopping to pee every half hour. Go online instead! Make life easier on yourself and enjoy the benefits of shopping from the comfort of your living room. A cup of tea, a few clicks, and you’re all done.

3. Plan something to look forward to

Make sure you set aside time for something you really want to do. Start a new tradition, have a cozy night in by the fire, visit with family or friends that make you smile. Having something to look forward to will help keep you positive and lower your stress. The holidays should be a joyful time, so do what makes you happy!

4. Get enough rest

Your calendar fills up fast during the holidays, and during this busy time it’s difficult to fit everything in while ensuring you have enough downtime. But getting enough sleep and rest is crucial to reducing your stress, and is especially necessary when you’re pregnant. Steal a nap here or there when you can. Skip plans if you’re too tired. Go to bed early. Take time to rest every day and try to get a full night’s sleep. You need it to keep up with the demands of your growing baby.

5. Eat, drink, and be merry

Everywhere you look, there are sweet treats and indulgent holiday spreads calling your name! The holidays only come once a year, so enjoy – in moderation. Avoid overeating, and try to eat mostly healthy food so you can properly nourish your baby with the right vitamins and minerals. Bring your own sparkling grape juice or non-alcoholic beverages to holiday dinners and parties so you can toast the season without worrying about whether there’s alcohol in your drink.

6. Let people help you

Now more than ever is the time to accept help. Let your significant other or a friend do the decorating for you. Take a family member up on their offer to watch your other children while you sit and rest. Let someone else host the holiday dinner this year. You don’t have to do it all! Learn how to accept help now, because you’ll need this skill once the baby comes.

7. Trim the tree…and the extras

This time of year always takes a huge chunk out of your pocketbook, and now you have to add buying new clothes and preparing for baby to the list. It can be a huge financial strain on couples, and you may be worried about how you’re going to manage. But you don’t have to spend a lot on the holidays. Cut out the extras – think about what you really need and what isn’t necessary. Reduce the amount you spend on gifts; remember it’s the thought that counts, not the price tag. You can have a wonderful holiday on a budget, and when it’s all over you’ll be grateful you did.

Happy Holidays Mamas-to-be!