12/12/2012 03:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

4 Ways to Get the Most Out of the Holidays

This holiday season has come on like a freight train. Hanukkah has begun. Christmas is just around the corner and I'm slightly in shock that it's already the middle of December. Time is flying by, and I for one am focused on finding the pause button. I want to enjoy the season, not get run over by it. So, here are my best tips on how to slow down and bring more meaning to your holiday gathering this year.

stress free holidays
Photo courtesy of Target

First thing's first, nothing's perfect. The story of how you dropped the turkey on the floor as you put it into the oven or the year the tree tipped over is the stuff that family lore is made of. Let go of everything being "just so" and embrace letting it be exactly what it is... perfectly imperfect.

Second, give yourself permission to NOT put out all of your holiday decorations. Carrying every last ornament down from the attic means carrying it all right back up in January. You'd be amazed at how far white lights, fresh pine, grosgrain ribbon and gold mercury glass can go in giving your home its holiday glow without all the hassle. Santa's miniature workshop can come out to play next year. Let this year be more about gathering around the table than the table décor.

Next, create a tradition that has nothing to do with ribbon and wrapping and presents. Something the family can look forward to each year and do as a group. Maybe it's ice skating. Maybe it's a serious game of charades. Maybe it's family karaoke. Whatever it is, it's meant to be done as a group and it's meant to be FUN.

Finally, take a snow day... which I know is tricky since there's no snow on the ground where I live... but you get the idea. This is the time of year when the kid in all of us should come out to play. It's when we get to be swept up by the joy of the season and share in the joy of one another. Take time to teach your kids your favorite cookie recipe or make hot chocolate, turn on the tree lights and watch your favorite holiday movie. Spend time focused on what matters most now and all year long...your family and being with those you love.

Happy Holidays! Follow me this season @Nate_Berkus

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