With Christmas just around the corner, I can already feel people's stress levels rising.

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With Christmas just around the corner, I can already feel people’s stress levels rising. To make this year’s festivities more enjoyable, try these tips for surviving the holiday season at work:

Negotiate time off with enough advance notice. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask your boss for vacation days. The holidays are a busy time for many businesses, so avoid putting your manager into the position of having to juggle many employees who are all requesting the same vacation dates.

Be respectful of the work environment. Avoid going overboard with holiday decorations. Leave the noisy dancing Santa at home, along with the scented candles and potpourri. The holidays can be a happy (and distracting) time, but don’t forget that your productivity must remain high. With performance evaluations right around the corner, this is not the time to slack off.

Don’t skip the holiday work party. You may dread attending, but this is one work event you should never skip. Because it’s a work function, show up on time, grin and bear it, and act professionally. And don’t forget to thank the hosts (senior management) before you leave.

Keep gift giving to a minimum. Most people would rather not exchange gifts with co-workers, so if you decide on giving any gifts, keep them small (low cost) or opt for doing something for the entire department, such as baking a dessert that everyone can share. And, even if bosses give gifts to employees, employees should never be expected to give gifts upward.

Avoid setting out bowls of candy. You might think you’re just trying to be nice and to get in the holiday spirit by providing a bowl filled with candy, but you may actually end up sabotaging your diet and the diets of your colleagues. Further, with winter being the cold and flu season, the last thing you want to do is spread viruses.

Try to exercise each day. The dreary days and lack of sunshine in Seattle during December can take their toll on people’s energy levels. So get energized at the office by getting more exercise. Skip the elevator and use the stairs, park farther away from the office and bundle up and go for a walk outside each day before lunch.

Don’t skimp on your Z’s. Between work and personal/family responsibilities, December can become a hectic and stressful month. Try not to cut down too much on your amount of sleep. To keep your energy high and your immune system healthy, target seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Express your gratitude. Being grateful increases happiness and motivation. Take a few minutes each day to write down things that make you thankful.

Happy holidays!

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.