As a member of the Sandwich Generation you have a lot on your plate. And with the holiday season fast approaching, you don’t want to increase your stress level. Think about what is most important to you about the holidays. The challenge is to keep some balance in your life and still honor Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanzaa.

Begin to lay the groundwork for change in your gift giving rituals. Follow these practical tips to help keep stress in check as you focus on more joy and less stuff:

Give the gift of reconnection. Send a card to someone with whom you’ve lost contact. Enclose a recent family photo and your email address.

Invest time instead of money. Drive an elderly neighbor to the grocery store, a doctor’s appointment or the shopping mall.

Give the gift of yourself. Arrange a regular date with your parents. Invite them to lunch, a museum or the movies.

It’s when life is challenging that support and connection mean the most. Bringing cheer to others is a good way to cheer up. And what better time than during the holidays?

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