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12 Days of Stressmas

Our sexy helpers are here to get you through the holidays without going crazy

3.) Start New Year's with a bang — not a banged up relationship.

You just got off the phone with your brother, confirming plans for the family's annual New Year's ski trip to Tahoe. That's when your girlfriend IMs you, asking if she should dress formally for your New Year's Eve together — back home in Milwaukee. "This is a classic misunderstanding," says Peggy Post, great-grand-daughter-in-law of Emily and author of the 17th edition of Emily Post's Etiquette. Better idea? Talk about New Year's plans with your main squeeze no later than three weeks before.

Game Plan: You want to avoid any bad feelings with your old lady — whether you're spending New Year's with her or not. If you are going to be together, she needs enough notice so she can go out and get all Sex and the City at Saks in the city. If, however, you're leaving her behind — stop snickering, Mr. Maturity — you better have a damn good reason.

Bonus: If you're not going to be with your woman on New Year's, make sure you pay her some extra-special attention before you leave. "Be sensitive if you're not spending New Year's with her," warns Post. "Give her some flowers — they're always a great way to apologize — and make a date for after you return. Unless you think the relationship won't last, then definitely do not lead her on."

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