There's too much stress associated with the holiday season.
The shame is that most of it is unnecessary. Almost every time I see a harried shopper or a maddened mother scurrying around town in mid-December, I see a people that have accepted unrealistic expectations of them.
In other words, people expect you to do certain things during the holiday season: Buy them gifts, cook, entertain, contribute, attend events, etc. etc. etc. These are external expectations you've let pile up until there is no more room for YOUR holiday season. Guilt invades celebration and now you wish the season would just pass, so you could resume your normal busy-life.
How would Covey handle this? He'd push back. He'd create a circle of concern for the holiday season, keep it manageable, and keep anything from entering it from the outside. You should too. If it's not to late, you should define what YOU expect from yourself (and for yourself) between now and the end of the year. Own it. If an external expectations begins to creep into your plan, bogging it down, tell that person that it is not fair they should 'expect' you to do this.
Here's the good news: You'll still make almost everyone happy this holiday season. By being upfront with them and letting your heart (and brain) be your guide, they'll still feel-the-love. You know you want to give the holiday cheer, it's just that you've been signed up for more than you can handle.
This year, my holiday season is purposefully mellow. I've defined expectations for Jacqueline, Anthony and a small handful of friends and family. I've left breathing room for myself. I'm playing some guitar, watching a little football and blogging. Fun holiday season for me–fun for my circle of concern.