Don’t let holidays get stressful

Published 11:55am Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I remember when I was a kid, and I would hear people saying how the holidays were always a “stressful” time. I remember wondering how it could possibly be stressful. After all, there was always the sound of Christmas carols in the air, and the smells of good food coming from the kitchen, and at the end of all of it we got a lot of nice new shining toys to play with. Of course, in my naiveté I never realized all the time and energy that my parents put forth to make sure the holiday season was a truly enjoyable time for us youngsters.

Now that I am older, I certainly do understand why this time of year can make people stressful. There are things that have to be bought, decorations that have to be hung, cards and letters that have to be written — it can all definitely pile up and get overwhelming in a hurry. But I hope that I never feel that stress that others get, which gives them the “holiday blues.”

I’ve always tried to get my Christmas shopping done early in the year, so I can avoid the hustle and bustle of the busy malls and department stores. Yes, the deals might not be quite as great as if I’d waited until Black Friday, but at least I don’t need to worry anymore. As for decoration, I always try to do that while I’m watching a football game or movie, or something else to make the time go faster. And the cards and letters aren’t really a problem. I’m a writer. I like to write.

However, I’ve always felt that the surest way to keep myself from getting stressed is to put on a classic Christmas special, or listen to a radio station that plays nothing but Christmas carols. That always brings me back to being a kid again, and recalling the happy memories of celebrating the holidays as a family at home. I can’t help but get in a good mood after listening to “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” or “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” or watching Rudolph fly through the fog or Frosty the Snowman dance with the children in the town.

Of course, all of that stuff is secondary to the real reason I enjoy the holiday season. It’s a chance to spend time with my family and friends, and the opportunity to remember God’s blessings at Thanksgiving and the gift of his son Jesus. My mom has always told me that it really doesn’t matter how many decorations I have hanging, or how many gifts I get my family; the most important thing is that I’m there to celebrate it with them.

And when I keep that fact in mind, all the potential stress just goes away.


Justin Schuver is the publisher of The Atmore Advance. You can email him at justin.schuver@

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