Sending You “Tidings of Comfort and Joy”

georgie5Are you instead feeling discomfort and stress? Here’s how to change that!

As a mother, wife, daughter, sister and person who likes to follow through with what I say I will do, the holiday season has been in the past a very stressful time for me. Sound familiar?

It seems that most all shopping, wrapping and planning let alone cooking, have traditionally landed at my feet in our family. When my children were young I demanded and got a little more help with the wrapping, but mostly it was left to me to get done. Do I sound like I am venting here?

Well, could be, but life has changed since then, and my obligations have lessened so it is not quite the stress it once was. Also, I know better how to take care of myself during more demanding times. Reducing stress to actually feel “Comfort and Joy” of the season comes with a simple word. Simplify.


First, think of and write down the things that are most important for you. These are the things that make you feel you have fully experienced the holidays. These things may be food, events, crafts, cards- anything that makes it special for YOU. What we are doing here is meeting our needs. Meeting our needs calms us, always.

Look at your list and be very honest with yourself as to what is important to you and eliminate what you can to simplify.

For what remains on the list, do the following:

– Check the calendar and set time aside- dates to do one thing at a time on the list. (We do best when we schedule ahead what is important for us. This helps to get it off our mind and reduce feeling overwhelmed.)

-At the time you do the item on the list, do your best to be present, to fully enjoy the process. Turn on music to set the mood to create an enjoyable atmosphere while doing this important and memorable task.

For all of the other tasks that are not so special for you, you may want to meet your own needs by asking for help in getting the “chores” of the season done. Here you can simplify too. For example, if you and your partner both dislike wrapping then simplify by using decorative bags instead of wrapping paper. Find as many ways to simplify or cut out things as you can.

Drop the “have to” and “should” and do only what you really need to do. If you can pare it down, you will begin to feel lighter and enjoy what can be a special time of year.

We can thank Martha Stewart and others for introducing us to the perfectionist version of holidays, but remember she has a staff! I still have her first hard covered Christmas book on how to over-do the holidays. I remember doing almost everything in that book to make our holiday season perfect, including making my own wrapping paper! I came to dread the season, not surprisingly.

The holidays are not so much about it being perfect but sharing time with others. If that can be the focus and doing the things that are truly special for us, we will all experience the “Comfort and Joy” of the season.

Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season.