How to Prevent Holiday Stress


Since I received a lot of great feedback when I posted this last year, I thought I’d make it an annual tradition to share this letter I wrote to myself. If you want to learn how to prevent holiday stress, read on….


January 3, 2012


Dear Helene,


I’m writing this letter to you to serve as a reminder for next year’s holiday season.


As a recovering perfectionist, that dark side in you – like many people out there – often worries about getting everything just right. You usually do a good job of fighting it off, but sometimes it creeps up and bites you in the rear. So let’s review what didn’t happen the way it was supposed to.


Every Thanksgiving weekend, you put up the tree and hang the outdoor lights. This year, it didn’t happen because you were just plain tuckered out from all of your book-related events and celebrations, so you didn’t feel like doing it. For the next two Saturdays after that, the weather was cold and rainy, so you didn’t hang the outdoor lights. Only the three lighted angels were set out.


And did the world end because you put out fewer decorations? No. In fact, not a single person who came over commented on the missing outdoor lights. “They were just being polite,” you say? No, they weren’t. They’re not shy about making comments, and they would’ve said something if it mattered.


For the pre-Christmas Eve gathering you hosted for thirty people, you didn’t make a huge spread of homemade dishes as originally planned. About half the food came ready-made from the store. Did people thumb their noses at this? Judging from the empty serving bowls, nobody took issue.


You went to your parents’ house for Christmas. They didn’t put up a tree. But you didn’t notice until your dad pointed out that fact. No one else who came to the house for the aforementioned gathering noticed either. Did the holiday season come to a grinding halt because one of the most common symbols of the season (non-religious, anyway) was missing? Nope.


So what’s the point of all this? Simple. Don’t fall into the trap of holiday stress outs. They are self-imposed. Do what you can and forget about the rest. What matters is that you spend the time with people you love and count your blessings. You did a great job just going with the flow this year, but in case you start backsliding into the holiday frenzy next year, I want you to remember that you managed just fine without it.


Now go set a calendar reminder for next Thanksgiving weekend to read this. Don’t worry. Be happy.


Wishing you love, peace and happiness, 




How to prevent holiday stress? That’s how.

About Helene Segura

Helene Segura teaches go-getters how to use their time more efficiently in order to have a more peaceful life. For details about her, be sure to visit

  • Ellen Delap
    Posted at 16:28h, 21 November

    Love this! I agree, we all need to write ourselves letters, reminding us about what is most meaningful for the season. For me, it’s just having my kids and grandkids sit down to dinner together. Who care what you cook or don’t cook, what they eat or don’t eat. It’s all about being together. Thanks for sharing!

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