The holidays are a special time to be with my family and friends. It is something I look forward to each year. I jump at the chance to celebrate some iconic once-a-year events, such as the tree lighting ceremony at Fashion Island, the evening Boat Parade on the bay, walking through the decor-laden Roger’s Garden and Sherman Gardens and of, course, holiday tea with girlfriends at The Resort at Pelican Hill.

However, this tranquil sense of calm and delight did not just happen overnight. I earned it. And, I am pleased to share with all of you three suggestions of how you, too, might find calm during the holiday season. Families are complicated, and then, as they expand, so too are the challenges of planning time together.

Be Flexible: In my case, my son’s family on his father’s side all live in Florida. So, every other year, from the time he was eight years old (and still today–fast forward 20 years), I send him to Florida to be with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Do I miss him? You bet. But, during his winter break is the perfect time to travel and spend some quality time with them. He has been able to stay connected with his family and, quite honestly, be spoiled. I enjoy sharing him and that was always the way I looked at it. Some of my girlfriends could not wrap their heads around that idea, but I was fine. On the years when Alex is with us, we see him for a quiet dinner on Christmas Eve and then with the extended family for Christmas Day dinner. This year, he will be going to a fancy party at the home of his girlfriend’s parents on Christmas Day. The last thing I want is for my son to race from one event to the next and not have any time to relax and visit.

Be Creative and Plan Ahead: My holiday calendar is filled with my favorite holiday events and reservations by early October. In our family, we have young adults who are in public service (police and nurses), so their days off are not always the traditional days. There is nothing wrong with moving Thanksgiving Thursday to the Friday or celebrating on Christmas Eve so the kids can go to other family obligations. I just try to step outside the box.

Embrace New Family Traditions: Now that the young adults in our family are getting married and buying homes, they want to place their own stamp on the holiday season. I am filled with joy to see this! I love helping them with ideas, recipes, offering a new tree skirt and decorations. Last year, our nephew and his lovely wife hosted Christmas dinner. We all helped out and it was great fun! Letting go is never easy but to watch them build their traditions is very rewarding.

So, there you have it! If just one of these tips helps you to truly enjoy the spirit of the holidays, my efforts are rewarded. Here is a toast to 2017 and a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!