Beat the Stress of the Most Wonderful Time of Year

When a holiday and its adjacent month gets labeled the “hap-happiest season of all” and you live in “Arizona’s Christmas City,” expectations of December can get built pretty darn high.

It takes some planning and work for the magic to happen, but you can do it.


Lose the idea that all your gifts should have Pinterest-worthy wrapping and ribbons and the ornaments on the tree need to be perfectly spaced. It’s OK if it takes 45 minutes to find a parking spot half an hour away from the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at the courthouse. What matters is that you’re with the people you love and sharing experiences that will never happen exactly the same way again.

ABANDON CUSTOMS YOU DON’T ENJOY Holidays in themselves are traditions, and they birth their own traditions as a result. But don’t look at them as mandatory, because they aren’t. Sometimes they’re just too time-consuming given limited schedules and the briefness of their seasons, like putting up a big Christmas tree or throwing that giant party everyone expects you to. Or maybe you’ve lost the person who you always went to the same holiday concert with. There are plenty of reasons to let go of rituals, so don’t be afraid to.


Even if you’re more stressed-out than amused by a situation, try to at least find the absurdity that lies within, say, driving to five stores to find the right watch for your dad. Or let the silly side of you giggle at every goofy commercial and your kid’s extended version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the same one you sang at the same age. Pick out your favorite holiday movie to watch, whether it’s “Elf” or “Bad Santa,” kick back and let the merriness wash over you.


It is easier said than done, but it can be easier to justify at Christmastime because you’re doing fun things and seeing people who are a once-a-year opportunity, or even rarer than that. Whether you’re walking around the Prescott Valley Civic Center to see how the lights look this year or having a brunch with your family, these are cherished moments you deserve to enjoy uninterrupted.


If you’re looking for help with a fundraiser or pageant or even Christmas dinner, don’t send out a mass email request to everyone in your inbox hoping a few will bite. Email or call them individually, so they won’t assume the 50-plus other people on your list have more time and resources to give!