The chaos of the season

Somehow I always end up feeling rushed and stressed in December,  no matter how much I prepare or plan ahead.   This year is different but the same.
In December, 2012 I was very pregnant and trying to plan Christmas around prepping final exams and grading for 5 (6?) classes. I was also finalizing layouts and edits for the book.  I made a Christmas quilt but didn't get it quilted in time.
In contrast,  this year I have no end-of-the-semester stress, no snowy frozen commutes , and almost all of my Christmas shopping was done before Thanksgiving.  But still I feel like I'm running around trying to get a million things done at the same time.  That there will never be enough time to do it all.  Ahhhhgh.
Does anyone have any secrets for staying calm and sane during the holidays?  Please share!
(We did manage a nearly stress-free Thanksgiving though.  My secret: baked sweet potatoes)
Quilting, as always, is great stress relief,  but all of the sudden lately it seems when I take time to quilt instead of doing some other chore,  I just fall behind in my routine and spend the rest of the week recovering.   
Gone are the ideas of handmade presents, care packages to far away friends, and planning holiday parties.   I'll be lucky if my Christmas cards make it on time (the international ones, anyway).  And the quilt from last year? Which sat, basted in my closet for 11 months ... I have 24 days.   I hope I'll find the time..


  1. Don't stress, just bite off one or two things that you really want to do and the rest will fall into place. I find that I have to start Christmas projects in September if they are to be finished in time for Santa's arrival because once you get to December 1 it's just all Christmas all the time. Took me 50-something years to figure it out but I guess better late than never. Oh, and making lists is a huge help. Lets you focus (and refocus) on the thinking you've done, things you need to buy and is a great satisfaction when you can stroke completed jobs off the list.

  2. My secret for staying calm and sane during the holidays is living in Hokkaido!! We send paper cards to people without email (mostly older family and friends) and email greetings to others. As you know, Christmas isn't a holiday here, so there isn't the pressure for all things Christmas. We have a tiny tree in our tiny apartment. I'm sure things would be different if we had children, but with just the two of us, the holidays are so nice here.

  3. I learned a few years back to not try to do everything. If I plan on sewing gifts, I make it a year long project to get them done. so many times we try to cram it all into one month of December that it becomes stressful and not the beautiful season that it is.
    I finished the shopping that I needed to do the other day and now for the smaller projects that I can enjoy making and wrapping. the cooking will come later and some cookie prep will be in a week or so. take time to smell the roses and enjoy. You have had a busy year with baby and book etc.You deserve to enjoy the season.


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