I absolutely adore the Christmas season and its traditions of faith and family. The tree glowing in our front room at night, trimmed with ornaments that were handed down through generations and others handmade by my kids in preschool. The nativity and manger hand-crafted by my late father-in-law. Christmas Eve Mass when Luke 2:1-14 and O Holy Night always make me cry. Watching John and Allison on Christmas morning emptying the same stockings they’ve had since birth.

Christmas Tree

But, I hate the self-imposed stress leading up to December 25. Christmas cards to mail. Presents to buy and wrap. Parties to attend. Holiday menus to plan. Grocery shopping to do. My “#EpicFail” moment came a few years ago when I got up at 4 a.m. on Christmas morning to finally wrap the presents. It was a slipshod effort for someone who takes pride in her finished edges and perfect bows. The last gift was under the tree for less than an hour before the wrapping came off.

My conflicted December continues right up to New Year’s Eve. Oh, the pressure of high expectations. Fancy parties. Fancy clothes. Fancy food. By December 31, I am done! I cannot bear the thought of one more party, one more morsel of rich food or stuffing myself into a party dress that fit much better at the beginning of the month. And staying up until midnight? Fat chance.

New Years Eve 2

On the other hand, I love the fresh start the New Year brings. A reset button for all those things we wish we’d done differently the year before. (Like starting my gift wrapping before Christmas morning.)

Brianna Wiest is a fellow blogger after my own heart: a self-described professional list-maker and admirer of all things chocolate-covered. Last month, she posted a list of 18 things everyone should start making time for again. Several of them are on my early list of New Year’s resolutions. They include savoring time to do nothing, cooking a nice meal just for the sake of doing so and reading actual hard copy books.

How are you managing stress this holiday season? All advice is welcome! And what will you make time for in 2014? I hope it’s something that brings you joy!


  1. Oh Carolyn! I can totally relate! If only you could see my living room RIGHT NOW! I have a half decorated tree, no presents bought yet, and I’m in TOTAL denial that Christmas is 12 days away (egads – which reminds me that maybe I should have had something prepared for the “12 days of Christmas”…. sigh.)

    My kids are very traditional – they have left the tree undecorated on purpose. We normally decorate the tree together, each person putting up their own special ornaments.

    So… hold me to this! I WILL finish the decorating this weekend. There… I said it. Thank you for letting me relate to you!


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