There’s no season in our culture quite like the Christmas season. From the colorful Christmas decorations that beautify our world to the festive family and friend gatherings that warm our hearts, Christmas is a beautiful season. However, Christmas also can be the most stressful time of the year. The chief agent for all the craziness is the high expectation we have of this once peaceful day. No one wants to disappoint a person they care about so our expectations often push us to ever commit and over extend ourselves to the point of madness. Our own behaviors insure that the season comes with a certain amount of craziness. So, what can we do? How do we reduce stressmas — we can get Christmas back?

It’s early December so the holiday madness is already upon us. Many people have their plans in place and have already started shopping both online and in the brick and mortar stores. As the season progresses, the craziness often picks up speed even if you have a plan. Below are a few tips that may help you retain your sanity throughout the season:

Say ‘No’ with Style and Grace: Parties are a big part of the season and they are usually always fun. There are office parties, neighborhood parties, industry parties, white elephant parties as well as numerous family gatherings that may involve some relatives that you don’t particularly care for – now, there’s a stress factor. With so much going on you run the real risk of over commitment so you may need to say ‘no’ to a few parties. No is a small word that carries a big punch. It’s better to graciously thank the person for the invite before you decline rather than it is to decline using a lengthy explanation as to why you can’t make it. Most times people need a head count more than a explanation.

Decorate to Suite Your Needs: Decorating takes time. Start early and make sure you decorate the area most important to you first. When you have young children you most likely will have a tree, but otherwise you may not. If you have limited time or are going to be out of town then you may not be able to decorate or to put the tree up at all. Don’t feel bad about it and don’t allow others to make you feel bad either.

Be Smart About Gift-Giving: Our gift-giving craziness can become a nightmare during this season. This is definitely an area that benefits from both a plan and a budget. We love to make the people we care about happy so we spend hours looking for that special gift or in some cases we settle for something that is close but not as good. Nothing takes the fun out of Christmas more than spending time and money on a gift that the person doesn’t really like and never wanted in the first place. Asking someone in advance what they would like may produce a good idea that can be helpful. And when it comes to little children it is wise to remember that they don’t need every toy. It’s not unusual to walk into a living room on Christmas Day and find a room full of presents for a 2 year old child. Our expectations for this day start early in life

Once you’ve done all the shopping and the baking and the parties are over than you are able to relax unless, of course, you are hosting the most important dinner of the year and that is a topic all in itself.

Have a healthy and safe holiday season. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Clare Marie Kronemeyer, AKBD is a kitchen and bath designer, a freelance writer in the design industry and a Traveling Grandmom . She entered the world of design as a furniture designer and has been practicing kitchen, bath & custom furniture design for over 15 years. With a degree in Interior Design and certification through NKBA, she offers creative solutions to problem areas and she can be reached via her website: or by email: