Best approach to holidays, in my view, is to have a much shorter term goal: One Step at a Time.
I just now sawed down a Christmas tree (we live in the woods) and hauled it into the house. As is often the case, my eyes were bigger than my den, and I brought in a monster whose top is now bowed by the ceiling at the highest point in the room. I plan to leave it that way. I think it's interesting. Want to argue about it?
At any rate, the Christmas-tree-in-house step is now checked off. And that is rather satisfying. It's also going to be magnificent when I'm done.
Thursday, I went to a 7 person holiday party--my writing group of 27 years--and our leader suggested that we go around the circle and each take a turn griping. It was wonderful, and got into some pretty intimate and interesting and hilarious stuff. I felt we were all closer, and that's what holidays are all about.
A paradoxical approach to holiday joy--I thought it very bold of her to suggest. Though, frankly, when asked to gripe, I had trouble doing it. Finally I managed to say that I'm working too hard; but then blew it by adding that I was enjoying the work.
So anyway, revised secret of holiday happiness: one step at the time with time allowed for complaining. Maybe at that time all the gripes will simply evaporate as mine did.