Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hot For The Holidays!!

It's the holidays, or at least on the way to that state of either aggravation or exhilaration, depending on your age or your state of mind.
If you're a kid, it's magical! If you're an adult, laden with all the holiday expectations, it can be a season filled with stress.

Around our house, we celebrate Christmas, but without all the religious/traditional stuff. I know some might say, hey, did you forget the reason for the season?

Let me explain. I come from a mixed family, religion-wise, and so does my husband. We have two kids, a boy and girl. On my side of the family tree, we are Southern Baptist, Methodist, and Catholic. On my husband's side of the family, there is Jewish, Lutheran, and Buddhist. Do you see our problem? Which of these are we supposed to teach/indoctrinate our kids into, when neither of us believes in any of them? My kids have been to Catholic and Methodist churches, and have been to Synagogue; we have exposed them to religion. What we do believe in is teaching our kids to think for themselves, to have a personal relationship with a higher power(God, if you will) and to learn all they can about a religion before jumping with their whole hearts and souls into it's tenants and dogma. And you really can't do that as a child. My kids are adults now, and are free to make a decision based on what they believe, and if a religion meets those beliefs, then we're happy for them.

But we also believe that what the Christmas holiday has morphed into is one where kids get gifts, the spirit of the season is love and charity, and that a family who loves, supports and truly cares about each other, is the most important thing. So we had a tree, bought presents and put them under it for that magical Christmas morning. Until the kids didn't want to put it up. Fine. One less stress removed. We don't have the big Christmas dinner anymore. We eat Chinese and see a movie. It's our family's tradition, with a nod to my husband's Jewish side. And to my sanity, because what is crazier than cooking a huge traditional meal year after year and having no one eat it? No one, other than me, likes turkey, or dressing, or sweet potatoes. They don't eat ham, much less goose. They eat mashed potatoes and gravy. So after doing this for several years, I ended it. No cleaning the house. No cooking for days. No sitting down to a meal where they put mashed potatoes and corn on their plates, eat a roll and then ask to be excused. They don't even like pumpkin pie, for goodness sake!

And you know what? It's a good thing. It's one less stress for me. I worked a big corporate job with plenty of stress for a hell of a lot of years, so less stress is good. And guess what? We're happy! Everyone looks forward to eating out, seeing the latest blockbuster movie and having a relaxing time spent together.

Another thing we de-stressed over was their gifts. Since they were young teens, we've given them a dollar amount we would spend on them, and told them to make a list of what they wanted and prioritize it. When the money ran out, that was it. So...less stress. They knew what they wanted, we weren't guessing and getting it wrong, we kept to our budget, and all was right with the world. We did the same thing, my husband and I. No surprises. Everyone's happy. Less stress!

I love my holidays now. The kids are just as excited to open their gifts, to see which ones made the list. My husband and I are happy, because we got what we wanted too. Without any of the games or disappointment.

And now I want to make your holiday happy too!! If you leave a comment here, tell me how you de-stress the season, I'll pick a comment at random and gift that person with a copy of my latest book, Bayou Des Enfants! Just be sure to leave your email, so I can reach you.
And don't forget - if you comment on all the blogs, you're in the running for the BIG Holiday prize! Good luck!

Don't forget - to hit all of these blogs and leave your email!

Vanessa North:

Becca Jameson

Jianne Carlo

Robin Danner

Parker Kincade

Monette Michaels

KaLyn Cooper

Emilia Mancini

Rosanna Leo

Good luck and have a safe, stress-free, loving holiday, no matter which one you celebrate or not.



  1. I try to find time to cozy up on the couch with a good book, with the tree lights on, some Christmas music playing, a candle lit and the kids in bed!

  2. Thanks Christine, but we need your email addy for the contest, in case you win!

  3. My parents did the same with us when it came to the presents and budget - smart spending!

    I always bake a TON of cookies and give them away during December. It is stressful, but if I didn't love it, I wouldn't do it! So in a way, I think it calms me down, lol.
    I also leave the TV on Hallmark channel for the most part and watch/listen to all of the holiday movies they have on :)

    My email addy -


    1. Krystle, that's smart! I'd much rather get a home cooked gift like cookies! But I'm not sure about the Hallmark channel. And I cry at all the classic holiday movies.

  4. It's hard to find ways to destress. Alone time with a good book always helps. Movie night with the girls is good too. Have a happy holiday season.


    1. Thanks Robin. You're right, it's a tough time of year.
      Have a good one too!

  5. I like to read to relax but I actually also enjoy baking - I don't normally get much chance but at this time of year it feels justified AND relaxes me!

    1. A lot of people enjoy cooking and baking as stress relievers. You're not alone, Donna!

  6. I used to destress by stress eating but I'm starting to think that's a bad way to go. ��. Tracey.

    1. Overeating isn't a good thing, at any time of year, however, I do believe that denying your cravings is just as bad, because if and when you give in, it will be far worse than if you'd just had a small serving of those sweet potatoes or a small slice of pie.

  7. watching movies

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  8. Playing card games and going to hockey games with friends.

    1. those are great ideas. When I was in high school, we'd get together with my aunts and grandmother and play cards for hours as the holiday meal cooked.

  9. Holiday books :) I build a small stash that way when I have a stressful I keep reminding myself at least I get to read when everyone else goes to bed :)

  10. Reading is a wonderful way of de-stressing!

  11. Reading helps me de-stress. Its actually the only thing that really helps, escaping, connecting with the characters, focusing on the story....i get lost in them. And i love every moment of it! :D Thank you!! Happy holidays!

    1. Thanks Shadow. Thank goodness people love to read!
      Happy Holidays!

  12. In a random drawing, Shadow won! So I'll be sending her a copy of Bayou Des Enfants to her today!
    Sorry it took so long, but I was out of town this weekend.