Journeys of the Heart

An author's journey

Beating Christmas Preparation Stress

I love books.  I love to write.  I love Civil War reenacting.  And I love Christmas.  Unfortunately, for many people, the Christmas season has also been known to raise their stress to ‘my brain will explode if I have to do one more thing’ level.  Having engaged in a parade in VA, rounds of physical therapy, a major Civil War event and one of the biggest holidays of the year, all within a matter of a few weeks, I understand that stomach churning realization that Christmas is less than a month away.  Oh, and then there’s that book I’m trying to revise so I can send it off to my editor.  So what’s an insanely busy person to do?   Over the years I’ve found these tricks help me keep the lid on my stress and allow me to enjoy my favorite time of the year. I thought I’d share them with you. 

1.)                Shop early!  Starting in January is not too soon.  I look for sales and gift ideas all through the year.  Most of my big purchases are completed by early November. Don’t panic if you’ve lagged behind, catalogs and the internet are great sources of those last minute purchases.

2.)                Christmas Cards: I do mine while watching my favorite television shows. No matter how busy you are, you know you’ll succumb to the temptation, so why not make it work for you? You’d be amazed at how many cards you can address during the commercials.   Start on a Monday evening and you’ll be done before Friday.  And you’ll feel productive while enjoying yourself at the same time.

3.)                Wrap the same way!  Remember that productive feeling?  If it works for cards it will work for gifts.  Wrap a few each night and your pile will disappear.  Box the gifts ahead of time to keep curious family members in suspense about what’s inside.  (Keep those presents with pictures and print that give away the contents for another time.)  Gift bags and tissue are quick way to wrap something at the last minute.

4.)                Gift Cards are okay!  As I get older I find that more and more of my friends and family members truly appreciate a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store.  Even teenagers seem to covet them.  Gift cards allow everyone the luxury of using them at a more convenient time.

5.)                Light the tree and let the carols roar!  When you find your Christmas spirit lagging, light the tree and put on your favorite holiday CD.  Music can be mood altering, so turn the volume up and then attack the cookie baking, package wrapping or house cleaning.   Periodically stop and dance about the room or do a few exercises.  Your stress level will drop dramatically.

 Hope one of these tips resonates with you.  I’m off to take my own advice.  I plan to turn on my CD player and then dive back back into my revisions.  Almost there.  Really I am.


November 30, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. “Periodically stop and dance about the room . . . Your stress level will drop dramatically.” I’m with you, there! 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

    Comment by Janice | December 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. Great ideas, Kathy. I shop all year, too. Those after Christmas sales are awesome!

    Comment by Tina | December 2, 2009 | Reply

  3. Kathleen,

    Some very helpful reminders–maybe there’s hope for this Christmas in my house! Thank you.

    Comment by Amanda | December 8, 2009 | Reply

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