Simple Tips to Destress the Holidays...and...What They Remember Most

Photo: Chronicle Herald


If you're at all like I am...

then you are a collector of ideas on how to...

De-Stress the Holidays!!

I was honored recently to contribute to an article that discussed that very subject.

Below, you'll find a little excerpt from the excellent article,

featured in the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald.

(In it, I share my own cautionary tale.)


"Tracey McBride learned the conse­quences of holiday stress the hard way.

She recalls one year when she went “crazy" trying to create the perfect holiday home.

“It was really pretty — I was pleased and received a lot of compliments,"

says the California-based craft and home-solutions blogger and life stylist.

Then a few years later, she said to her son,
“Remember that year? Everything was so cute."

Her son replied “Yeah, I remember that year. You were in a really bad mood."

That was McBride’s light-bulb moment.

“I realized that they’re not going to remember any of this stuff," she says.

“What they remember is the mood you created."

Here’s how to create a festive home on a budget, so you can concentrate on the memories you’ll be making..."

Please click the link below to continue reading.
Nova Scotia News - TheChronicleHerald.ca

Note: It is a lovely and interesting article...and...no...not because I contributed to it. In it you will learn new, valuable and interesting information on how to cull frugal luxuries from the holiday season and enjoy what matters most...despite the size of your bank account...or time restraints.

Do YOU collect ways to De-Stress the Holidays???

I would LOVE to hear them, as always.



Karyn @ Candarbry Garden said...

Thank you for the tips. I am decorating more this year, but It is actually fun for us because I am making most of the stuff out of things I found in second hand stores and every day my boys come home from school and try to find anything "new" that I have made. Holidays are not supposed to be stressful! Sometimes we just forget what they are truly for. And sometimes it takes a child to remind us!

Anonymous said...

Great post Tracey, as always! I am so thank ful that the last few years we have actually had relatively stress free holidays keeping the focus on what is truly important.

A very happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Lorrie said...

That is a great article, Tracey. I know that I used to stress about the holidays more than I do now - I think the change came about when I decided to focus on what was really important - the celebration of Christ's birth and time spent with family.
I like to make gifts, but that can be stressful in itself. A few years ago I decided that if the project wasn't done by a certain date, it would be set aside to be finished later. No more sewing like mad on Christmas Eve.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving,

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Karyn,

You are so right. Sometimes it is from the "mouths of babes" that epiphanies are revealed (even when they are prefaced with "yeah..." ;).

I can almost feel the magic you are creating for your boys. I imagine they go throughout their day wondering what new, festive thing they will be coming home to!! That sort of celebrating of the season is something that doesn't take but a few extra moments of time, and very little money, to create. Yet, they will carry the happy memories with them always.

Another example of a true frugal luxury.

Thank you so much for the lovely note.

Tracey xo

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

What a great idea Lorrie! I too tend to take on too much in the gift-making category.

Mary Ellen, you and Lorrie are so right in that the holidays are so much better when we slow down and remember what matters most.

It seems that we've become culturally-pressured to have everything "picture perfect"~~ and it all has to be done by December 24/25th!! IMHO... there are many better ways to spend time than to always be striving to live up to someone elses unrealistic expectations.

Once I realized that I could make up my own rules regarding the degree of celebration I relaxed, and the holidays have never been so enjoyable. My house may not look like magazine layouts, movie sets or model homes, but it is comfortable, cozy and filled with lots of lively conversation, laughter and unconditional love.

I hope you and your families enjoy a wonderful and (hopefully) stress free Thanksgiving!
Blessings and good thoughts from...

matty said...

Lovely piece, Tracey! We are trying the "no gifts this year -- give us time" approach. I'll report how we do! We all have SOOOO much STUFF! I'd rather have the gift of time, wouldn't you?

Take care,


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Matty,

Amen to the gift of time!! We're with you in the "too much stuff" category!! An embarrassment of riches, so to speak. :)

Have a lovely Thanksgiving and I am looking forward to hearing how the "no gifts" strategy works for you!

Angie Bailey said...

Boy, did I need to read this! Great article and excellent reminders, Tracey. I am subject to anxiety-ridden holiday madness and that's NOT the mood I want to create. I am grateful for you and your words of wisdom :) Hugs XXX Angie

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Angie! Hello my kind and funny friend, so good to hear from you. You are right, stressful is definitely not conducive to creating holiday magic!! So glad that others can learn from my chaotic mistakes. Hope you and your family enjoy a happy Thanksgiving.

charmaine said...

hi Tracey! i was getting ready to leave you a message when i saw you left me one. it's always a joy to hear from you! thank you my sweet and beautiful friend! i wish you and your beautiful family a blessed and happy Thanksgiving too! i had to sneak a couple of post in today, my family and i are preparing the meal early. i'm in charge of cutting the vegetables and making a cake, so i'm really getting eye balled, being that vegetables is one of the main ingredients in our meal. i'll be back to catch up on your post.

i love that picture of your babies. too cute! i was just looking at pictures the other day of my son with the same theme, doing something he wasn't suppose to be doing, but the memories are just heart warming. i cherish them. thanks for sharing your story.

well, i'm off my friend, i'll talk to you soon. Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

God Bless,

Storybook Woods said...

It is hard to not go crazy at Christmas. I alwo myself only one hour a day to do Chirstmas stuff. Most days I am good :-) xoxoxox Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Clarice! That's a really good idea...to set aside an allotted time for doing holiday tasks!

P.S. Hope you're enjoying a relaxing Thanksgiving with your family!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

LOL, you are so funny Charmaine!! I'm sure the vegetables and cake (yummm) are delicious...and beautiful... knowing how much care you put into things. Thank you so much for the lovely good wishes! My girls and I are all sitting here on the sofa (we stayed up late last night playing Scrabble) so we're all sort of waking up slowly today.:) Boys are still asleep. I'm off now to start the busy day!! Have a blessed and happy day my sweet Charmaine!!
Love from Tracey and familyxoxox.

Kari said...

Hi, I just wanted to stop by and thank you for the comment on my site. I got your book a month or so ago and I have really been enjoying it. I had no idea you had a blog so thank you for stopping by. I am planning to make your Turkey Con Arroz this weekend to use up some of our leftover turkey. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Kari! Thanks so much for the nice note and I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your blog!! That recipe is on my "to make soon" list. Thanks again.
Tracey xox

Pondside said...

Great article, Tracey, and a good reminder.
Over the years I've come to realize that the perfect Christmas is the on in which I am surrounded by the people I love. All the trappings are just that - extra. I've learned to give a sweater, still on the needles, with a promise of a holiday finish. I've learned to bake less, decorate less and to enjoy the things I chose to do.

Pondside said...

Hi Tracey - I left a rather long comment that didn't take. I'm having a hard time typing, so just wanted to say 'great article'!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hello Pondy!

Thanks so much for the nice words. So sorry the long post didn't take, you're such a wonderful writer, I know we missed some good thoughts. :)


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hello Again Pondy! Seems Google decided to release your first post...finally.
You are so right, it's all about love. Sadly, that truth sometimes gets buried in all the madness of the season. Thanks so much for the lovely insight.

Simply Heart And Home said...


I love to wind down a stressful day at dusk by sitting in a candlelit room, listening to Christmas music, and enjoying a cup of tea or hot cocoa.



Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Gina,

You paint such a cozy and relaxing picture...such a simple but valuable idea.


Dana and Daisy said...

as luck would have it, yes, I posted some decorating tips for the porch that won't break the bank.

And the best ever.... I told my young niece this year, we are gifting our time and attention to loved ones instead of shopping. Well, she thought it is such a great idea, she's writing a persuasive essay on it for her English class. I laughed and said are you for it or against it? She said, "FOR!"

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

LOL, so glad she's for it too!! What a lovely idea Dana. I am off now to read your post! Thanks so much for the great ideas.
Tracey xo

Slices of Beauty... said...

Wow, lovely post!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hello "Slices of Beauty"!
What a perfectly suited name for your lovely, lovely blog!
Thank you so much for the kind comment, it's much appreciated.

charmaine said...

hi Tracey! boy, have i missed you! how are you my good friend? i pray all is well with you and your family? i know your getting this beautiful rain just like i am, being that we're both on the west coast. i am just enjoying every drop. i love rain. it's just so pretty outside and the colors on the trees really pop.

how was your Thanksgiving? ours was wonderful. we had food for days. actually, we're just finishing the last bit of it. now we're enjoying turkey sandwiches. left over turkey makes an excellent turkey salad sandwich or turkey quesdillas. i was looking at this delicious recipe for a turkey cranberry stuffing sandwich. sounds delicious huh?. i guess i'll try that for the Christmas left overs.

are you ready for Christmas? is every one coming home? have you put up your tree yet? we went about two weeks ago to see the Christmas tree lighting at The Grove here in L.A. it was very nice. just too stuffy. but the tree and fireworks made it magical.

well, i wanted to stop by because i missed you and i wanted to give you the "I Love Your Blog" award. i just love your blog, but most of all i just love your company. i really love your amazing Spirit and your lovely ideas. your just an amazing person and out of all my blogging that i enjoy, i really am happy that i met you. so when you get a chance Tracey, please stop by and get your award. it's the " I Love Your Blog" Award. have a blessed week and i always keep you and your family in my prayers.

God Bless,

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Charmaine! Hello my sweet friend. I am honored at your award, thank you so much. Yes, I sure did enjoy the rain yesterday! Katie and I picked up Rosie from school and went to old Main street in Seal Beach and enjoyed a Coffee Bean coffee (tea for them) and took a windy walk and window shopped along the way. They have an old theatre that plays classic movies and last night they were playing "It's a Wonderful Life"!! We're going back today to pick up our tree from our little local nursery and (if I remember the camera) I'll take pictures of the marquee!! Later this week, we have a family movie date to see it on the big screen. If time permits, I will be posting about it too!!

I know what you mean about the Thanksgiving leftovers. I'm not much of a meat eater but I absolutely LOVE turkey, especially with cranberries, so your turkey cranberry sandwich did make me drool a bit! :)

The Grove is so pretty! I love the Farmer's Market nearby. How fun to watch the lighting and the fireworks. We used to have Disneyland passes when the kids were younger and would love to go at Christmas for the big tree lighting and the fireworks and the holiday music they pipe in on their Main street. Sometimes we'd stop by after school or during a week night (because we had the passes) and just enjoy the holiday atmosphere. The kids would get a hot chocolate and a treat (they each were able to choose one ride to go on for the visit) and we'd sit at the end of Mainstreet (at New Orlean's square) and soak it all in. Those are happy memories. But I digress again.

I am off now to put some blankets in the dryer and then to visit your lovely blog! Three million "Thank you's" for your kindest of thoughts and good words Charmaine. Please know the feelings are mutual!

Tracey xxxoooxxx

charmaine said...

hi Tracey! how are you? i hope every thing is okay. i just wanted to let you know that i am keeping you in my prayers always. it was nice hearing from you today and i'm glad my images cheered you up. i hope all is well. talk to you soon.

God Bless,

charmaine said...

hi Tracey! happy to hear all is well. i was just reading your response to my earlier post. i just love the close and loving relationship you have with your girls. it's so beautiful to hear and it reminds me so much of my family. it's just four of us. this includes my mom,my sister, my son and myself. we are very close and we love doing a lot of fun things together like your family. and like your, family we are huge DISNEY fans too!!

my son will be 20 in march, and he is not ashamed to say how much he loves Disneyland. we usually go every summer and stay for like 2 days, but that can be expensive. you really have to save up for that trip. i remember when you mentioned that you and your family had the season passes. you know those can be expensive too, but they have this cool thing that Disney does for families now. they have a monthly payment plan, and it's reasonable. my sister told me about it the other day. so i'm looking into it. i really have to push myself to do it, even if it's a good deal, because i am so accustomed to not paying on things monthly unless it's my bills (gas,light,telephone etc.). i'm really iffy about stuff like that. even with cell phones. my sister just bought this cell phone the other day and that thing was almost $400.00. she has to have the internet on her phone she says. i am fine with my pre-paid cell phone ($30.00 from Target) that lets you know when you need minutes, has no contract and the minutes roll over just the same. my son has the same cell phone as i do. he is really good with managing his money. i'm so proud of him.

about the classic movie. we have an old theatre here in my town too, i only wish they were playing "It's A Wonderful Life" here. i love that movie. i love the Turner Classic Movie channel. you get all those old movies. i was watching one the other day. i totally forgot the name of the movie, but it was so good. it was about a woman. looked like the mother on the old show "Big Valley", another one of my favorites, well she was a thief, i mean she could steal a mustache from under a man's nose. well she got caught, so she needed a lawyer. to make a long story short. they fell in love. the movie was so good. now i'm looking for "Miracle on 34th Street" the original one. love that movie! the newer version is good too.

have you ever heard of "Stats", it's an old party supply store in Pasadena. my mother and i went there yesterday. if you haven't been, you must visit. Tracey, they have the most beautiful Christmas tree ornaments. we go and visit every year. they have this area way in the back of the store with decorated Christmas trees, it is absolutely beautiful. i fell in love with this gingerbread Christmas tree. the ornaments were ginger bread houses and little ginger bread boys and girls. so cute! i went and purchased four ginger bread ornaments, and they were only $2.98 each. pretty good deal! they have this huge after Christmas sell where everything is half price, so i'll be back for that. that's usually when i buy my ornaments any way. i love collecting ornaments. my theme this year is all things sweet.

speaking of ginger bread houses. my sister and i just decorated a small one last Saturday. it is so cute. we have the big one to do this weekend. we were waiting for a coupon to get 40% percent off of the big ginger bread house. it's by Wilton. we're working on that one this weekend. it's so fun to do together. my sister works part time at the library here in our town and she is going to give both of them to the library for a charity auction they're having. so i was really excited about helping out with that.

so, Tracey you have truly been an amazing influence to me and i thank you! i know this was a waaaaay tooo long post, so sorry. i really feel comfortable talking to you. well, i'm off now. i hope you have a blessed rest of the week and i pray that all is well with you and your beautiful family. talk to you soon my friend!

God Bless,

p.s. Tracey, i wrote so much i had to take off a couple of paragraphs. lol!!!

Torie Jayne said...

Hi, Great post and I love the pic! Have a great day!

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

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"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

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