Single Steps Strategies Blog

Reducing Holiday Stress

By Lisa Purk, Business Mentor and Program Director with Paramount Co-Op

As I was growing up, our family always put the Christmas tree up a week before Christmas.  We didn’t put it up earlier and we didn’t put it up later.  On the other hand, our neighbors ALWAYS put their tree up on Christmas Eve.  My husband holds this same Christmas Eve tree trimming memory from his childhood.  I have also met people who are definite Thanksgiving weekend tree-trimmers.
Christmas traditions can cause us to recall joyful memories of the past and create exciting anticipation of upcoming holiday celebrations.  Unfortunately, Christmas traditions sometimes bring unnecessary stress into our lives. 
Oftentimes, we hold our family traditions as beliefs about right and wrong.  For example, there can be a belief about the “right” time to put up the tree and any sooner is “too early” and later is, well “too late.”  Many holiday traditions become strongly held “beliefs;” a few examples include:

  • How many lights and what color
  • Types, color and number of ornaments
  • Icicles or tinsel….Star or angel….
  • Real tree or artificial
  • Ham or turkey for dinner; or (gasp) something else
  • Big dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day …. or both
  • Number of gifts and who gets them

These are some of the traditions we have around the holidays and we have our reasons why we believe these things. Perhaps they hold sentimental attachments and fond memories.  We may want to continue certain ways of doing things or honor a loved one in a special way.  Or, we may want to provide the same joyful holiday experience for someone else that we hold in our memory. 

These traditions can become a source of stress when we hold to them as “right” or “wrong” and someone else holds different beliefs.  Two (or more) people all holding their own sentimental attachments, fond memories and family ways of doing things and each wanting to do things “their way.”
What do you do?
When something about Christmas is creating turmoil rather than joy, stop and ask yourself,
“Is this worth spoiling the joy of this moment or this holiday season?”
“What is my goal?”  Joy; peace; laughter; fond memories ….. or turmoil?

Consider some of the following suggestions or create your own solutions:
Stay open to new ideas.

Let go of “right” and “wrong”
          Who said Thanksgiving weekend was “too early?”
          Who said Christmas Eve is “just right” or “too late?”

Communicate:  Determine what is most important to you and what is most important to other family members and honor both

Find compromises, for example:
          Alternate years for artificial vs real tree
          Alternate years for serving preferred holiday foods; Or…..find new favorites

Create new traditions using a combination of two favorites or something that is all new 

Do your Christmas traditions encourage the peace and joy of the holiday?  Do they create wonderful memories for everyone?

The choice is yours.

 May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
May the gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
~Author Unknown

Lisa Purk is a Business Mentor and Program Director with Paramount Co-Op, a business incubator helping entrepreneurs start and grow their business.  She combines her many years of experience as a Life Coach and Business Owner in a unique and empowering role in the lives of new entrepreneurs.  Paramount Co-op strives to insure inclusivity in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Western Pennsylvania and works diligently to break barriers to entrepreneurship.



Small Business Saturday is November 30, 2019. The tenth anniversary of the day to celebrate small business created and promoted by American Express. Why does the Musuneggi Financial Group support small business Saturday? Because small business matters.

The Power of Small Business

Small businesses help drive the economy. Consider these statistics from the Small Business Administration:

  • 99% of all businesses in the U.S. are small businesses.
  • 64% of new jobs created over the past three decades were in small businesses.
  • 40% of all retail jobs are in franchise or small businesses.

As reported by, some additional small business stats:

  • Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes (Source: Seattle Good Business Network).
  • If you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy.
  • If you spend the same are a large business, only $43 stays in the local economy (Source: Civic Economics Study in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Small Business Matters

The Musuneggi Financial Group is a small business. But we’re not promoting ourselves… we’re promoting our clients, our friends, our neighbors and our vendors. Because small businesses matter to the economy, and small businesses are one of the reasons that our business and our community thrives.

Shop on Small Business Saturday

On November 30, stop by your local hardware store, grab a treat at a local bakery or sweet shop, have lunch at a local diner and pick up some Christmas gifts at a local shop. We encourage you to talk to the shop owners about their small business adventure. And we might bump into you… because we’ll be out celebrating Small Business Saturday as well!

Being Grateful

If you were asked to describe your day, are your mornings filled with rushing around, dragging kids out of bed, fumbling to find your shoes, dreading the bus ride to the city and complaining about going to a job you do not like? 

For most women, mornings are not filled with an hour of meditation, some time for reading, a quiet breakfast with the family discussing their plans for the day. Yet how we set up our day in the morning will most likely be responsible for how our day progresses.

A Simple Plan: Be Grateful

Although we would love to start our days with peace and quiet, and a cup of coffee while we sit by the fireplace; limited time robs us of the opportunity to do this. But what if there was a way to bring a positive spin into the early morning that would last through the day?  While you brush your teeth, or feed the dog, or ride on the bus, or walk into the office – give thanks.

Give thanks for the house you live in, the family that surrounds you, the people on the bus who smile at you, the change in your purse, the clothes you wear, the job you have. Give thanks for your health, your dog, the food on the table.  Say thanks for your relatives, friends, and co-workers.

Now it may seem improbable to be grateful when the kids are sick, you missed the bus, the boss is angry, and you’re in a rut. And it seems almost impossible to be thankful when there is no money in the bank, the mortgage is overdue and you were passed over for that raise. Worries about family, work, and money steal your days and take away the ability to enjoy life.  Living becomes existing.

Reach Beyond Your Circumstances

But even at these most despairing moments, you need to reach beyond the “liabilities” to find those things to add to the “asset” side of your life’s ledger.

By starting the day in this spirit, you set up your day to be prosperous and satisfying. If you start the day feeling stressed and lacking, you will have a day of stress and lack.  But if you take an inventory in your mind of your life’s assets, you will realize just what a rich woman you really are. You will see that you have much to be grateful for and that you are probably taking for granted the abundance that already exists in your life.  The world around you will give you more if you appreciate what you already have. If you sow seeds of lack, you will reap lack. But if you sow seeds of abundance you will reap more of the same. 

Melody Beattie wrote in The Language of Letting it Go, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.”

Begin each day with gratitude; because if you do this every day for a month, you will simply not be the same person you are today. By giving thanks each day for the abundance you already have in your life, you will set into motion an ancient spiritual law that says, the more you have and are grateful for, the more you will receive.

Know that I am grateful for you, dear reader.

– Mary Grace Musuneggi