Surviving the Holidaze CategoriesTo Your Health & Sanity

Surviving the Holidaze

The rush is on and it’s apparent from the parking lot racers, the sour-looking faces, and the traffic that it sometimes doesn’t seem so merry.

It’s been a while since I got caught up in the frazzle dazzle of the Christmas Holiday. Like most other holidays it was a time of family, friends, fun, food, fat (tight pants). That was the good part. For the most part, it’s still about the five “F”’s; however, with no little ones to over buy for, no elaborate planning, decorating and cooking, and most of my family far away on another coast, Christmas is quiet; sometimes too quiet.

The family parties included tamale making—an assembly line of the women in the family—filling the corn masa with spiced meat or raisins and sugar, then wrapping them in the corn husk to steam until they produced a delicious accompaniment to the meal or eaten as portable snacks. There was also posole made from a handed down recipe. And good, old handmade flour tortillas—a dying art in my family.

When my children were young I engaged in the craziness of the shopping, cooking, and decorating frenzy before the holiday. Stressed out and anxious I would try to relax and have fun. All the labor and spending that went into the season left me too worn out to enjoy and reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas.

Some years the holidays were full of strife for all the reasons that a dysfunctional family unit can ignite. Happily, they are distant memories.

In my work as a coach to women who struggle with overwhelm and an out-of-control lifestyle, the holidays become the holidaze. Too much to do, not enough time, no self-care only adds to the already hyped up emotions and expectations we tend to put on ourselves. We’re frazzled and frustrated.

In my holiday series seminars we talk about how to make the Christmas season truly merry and bright. To remember that “Jesus is the reason for the season.  That things will get done and it doesn’t have to be perfect. And most of all, to remember to take time out to rest, rejuvenate and reflect.

This year my bff of 60 years reminded me of our aluminum Christmas tree with the colored light wheel.  If you’re over 55, you may remember. My mom prided herself on having the most stunning tree from the matching and coordinating ornaments to their perfect placement. She was pretty much like this about everything—perfection or nothing. At 91, she still enjoys decorating her beautiful home.

I know where my tendency to overdo comes from. But, this year I put half the decorations out, minimally decorated the tree and just to break it up, I put it in another room. I have a beautiful pink Christmas tree with sweet white lights from my husband; it’s in my office. We’ll spend Christmas together and hope he doesn’t get called out to work.

And, it will all be perfect.

Merry Christmas.



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Yolanda Gray is a faith-based coach, speaker and author for the Christian professional woman who feels trapped by an out-of-control lifestyle. She works with them to take back their lives from exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious to living in God’s purpose and power, authentically and confidently. She hosts and facilitates energizing, interactive, thought-provoking workshops and empowering restorative retreats. Yolanda earned a Bachelor's degree in Human Development, a Master’s degree in Human Relations and a certification in Professional Life Coaching through P4 Coaching Institute—an ICF accredited program. Contact her at or email:


  1. Great post Yolanda and I loved reading about your handmade tamales and tortillas, I used to get caught up in the frenzy and TBH I loved it although it was exhausting. As a tail end baby boomer I have 2 young grandchildren now and still, if not more so, get caught up in the frenzy however its on my terms these days. Thankfully i’ve learned the art of “me time”, how to gently say no and mean it and how a short Gma nap and some forward planning is a brilliant way to stay ahead of the game. Here’s to many more very merry Christmases’ xx

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