Parent's survival guide

The holiday season can be very stressful, particularly if you're a divorced or separated parent.

In "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting" ($16.95), author Doug Hewitt, a divorced parent of three, provides advice every parent can use:

-- Think optimistically. Even if you can't spend Christmas Day with your kids or family members, remind yourself (and your kids) that according to some traditions, there are 12 days of Christmas.

-- Discuss how much fun it is to give gifts, as well as receive them. Ask them why it's called the season of giving.

-- Wire service

Parents can curb the spending

Many families are finding it necessary to reel in holiday spending. Kimberly McKenna, a behavioral scientist, stepfamily coach and the author of the upcoming "Confessions of an Evil Stepmom," offers these tips:

-- Set a budget. Not only does this keep spending in line, it also can teach children the value of living within their means.

-- Split up the list. If kids create a wish list, break it up among family members and friends.

-- Limit expectations. Set a limit on the number of presents and stick to it.

-- Wire reports