Staging the perfect Christmas is an annual attempt that can leave even the most energetic homeschooling parent exhausted and stressed. Decorating your home, coordinating family and church activities, and tracking down the perfect present for everyone on your gift radar all take time away from teaching, spending time with your family, and completing a list of endless errands. So, no matter how much Christmas cheer you radiate, here are a few tips to reduce your holiday angst and help you successfully cross everything off your to-do list.

Study the Season. As any teacher knows, holding a child's attention once the pumpkin pie leaves the table and the carols hit the air waves can be a challenge. Fortunately, if you've reached your teaching target for the month, you can take a slight detour in December without sacrificing academics. For example, consider setting aside your student's standard subjects after Thanksgiving and creating a Christmas-themed unit. Fill your homeschool calendar with symphony concerts, plays, and craft workshops and complement them with seasonal reading selections, such as the story of Christ's birth (Matthew 1 and Luke 2:1-20), and classics like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi." You can also teach history and geography by exploring how Christmas is celebrated around the world. Your child will love the change in pace, and you'll relax knowing you're not rushing through critical concepts.

Set Limits. Abandon your ambitious plan to synchronize the blinking lights on your house to the tune of "Feliz Navidad" and pinpoint your holiday priorities. If an activity can double as a learning experience for your child, such as crafting handmade Christmas cards or reading aloud to terminal patients in a children's hospital, hand over the markers and bookmarks. Be flexible in following your homeschool calendar and don't be afraid to delegate duties, especially if your family is eager to help.

Shop Wisely. Many homeschooling families get by on just one income, which can be especially stressful at Christmastime. One way to avoid the money pit of overspending is to take a step back from the gift barrage this year. Set a budget and only spend cash on hand or in your bank account. If you're worried about the power of plastic, stash credit cards in a safe spot until after the holidays. You can also spend less and relieve stress by shopping online, where the only crowd you'll have to contend with is web traffic.

Give Back. Too often people channel their holiday enthusiasm into what they want under the Christmas tree, rather than helping those who are far less fortunate. Try alleviating holiday stress with the joy you get from giving to others. Missions, shelters, food pantries, and soup kitchens are excellent places to volunteer. You can also participate in groups that represent the homeless, orphans, the elderly, single moms, veterans, or prisoners. In addition, Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and World Vision's Gift Catalog are a few charities worth exploring.

What makes you stress over the holidays?