Christmas is either the most joyous or most stressful time of year, depending on your personal circumstances.

Young adults love the festive season. Gifts, alcohol and excessive amounts of food tend to keep them content (and why wouldn't it?), but small business owners often dread the inevitable spate of holiday requests and absences.

Dreams of snow and a few nights in front of the sofa watching Miracle On 34th Street and The Muppet's Christmas Carol can easily convince employees that they are 12 again, but we have responsibilities and it's key these are honoured in the build-up to the 25th and afterwards.

Managers need to remain professional without feeling like a scrooge when it comes to holiday requests and here are 3 of our top tips.

1. Bring some festive cheer into the workplace

Whether you're full of the Christmas spirit or not, you need to recognise that other people are and work to make the workplace a more laid-back environment. Try introducing a Secret Santa scheme, or hold a Christmas jumper day. These little efforts can make a big difference.

2. Be flexible with holiday requests

It's likely there will be some disappointed workers when it comes to the holiday request sheet, but managers should make the effort to be flexible. If two employees want to be away on the same day and there is no resourcing to cover them, why not allow one of them to work ahead, finish their projects and leave in the afternoon?

3. Remain professional at all times

Managers should ensure they set a good example during the festive season and, while there is no harm in having a little bit of fun, a professional attitude needs to be shown at all times. By working extra hard and adopting a highly motivated attitude, the office atmosphere is likely to improve dramatically. 

e-days holiday planner can help you to manage your staff holidays so everyone gets the Christmas holidays they needwithout the usual chaos.