2023 – How to Prevent Holiday Stress

Re-sharing this letter I wrote to myself has been a tradition since 2012 – more than a decade ago now!

Over the past twenty or so years, I’ve learned that it takes entirely too much effort (and stress!) to go over-the-top at holiday time – decorating like department stores, baking like it’s your last hurrah, and throwing holiday soirees featuring homemade main courses, sides, and desserts for more than a handful of guests.

In case you’ve breezed right on by the holiday decorations that have been on sale in big box stores since early October, here’s breaking news: The holiday season is fast approaching!

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to start planning for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and any other holidays you plan to celebrate in November, December or January. Mapping out your plan ahead of time is a huge part of holiday stress prevention.

Although the following letter to myself that I’ve shared below is from all the way back in 2012, the stress prevention concepts I shared still apply today in 2023.

If you want to pick up some tips about how to prevent holiday stress, keep scrolling….


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.

You CAN prevent holiday stress!

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, 



Are you itching to discover how to prevent holiday stress?

This is how.


Have a wonderful holiday season!



For movies related to other holidays, occasions and places, see my lists of favorite movies here.


For the complete guide to relaxing over the holidays by getting away from it all, check out The Great Escape: A Vacation Planner for Busy People Who Want to Take a Real Break from Work & Life.

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead?The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits.Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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