Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas, Review and Giveaway

In spring 2001, my husband and I and our 3 kids moved from Oregon to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, which is located where the sands of the Sahara meet the waters of the Atlantic. (I added that because I know you’ve never heard of it. Go ahead and look it up. I’ll wait here. South of Morocco, yes, that’s it.) Our first Christmas was terrible. I couldn’t handle the heat and light outside, the fact that no one outside my doors was celebrating, how late the gifts from my mother arrived. I insisted on a live tree and all we could find was a sort of ficus tree, spindly, able to support a single strand of lights and about 4 ornaments. It was elegant but not homey.

Over time, however, I really came to appreciate our desert Christmases. I’ll admit that our first year back in Oregon we bought a 10-foot Noble, but I do miss those sparse holiday celebrations, at least now that I no longer have to deal with them. Pared down to the minimum, they made that minimum take on added meanings. We weren’t busy and overwhelmed with parties and concerts and school events. I didn’t spend days and days baking. Instead, we went caroling round the expat houses, garnering curious stares from kids playing soccer in the dirt. We invited just a few friends. We made our own memories and they were precious as rare items always are.

Now that I’ve been back in the States for a while, I find myself worrying a bit as we begin to head into the holiday season. I don’t want to get overwhelmed, so the idea of Judy Christie’s Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas appealed to me.

Is a Less-Hurried Christmas possible?

I am thrilled in many ways to be back in the land of stores that carry unlimited supplies of “exotic” items such as molasses, evaporated milk and canned pumpkin, and to have the chance to find presents for my kids that won’t break literally within half an hour of their being opened and that they actually want. At the same time, I am appalled to see the rush and bustle, the pressure to spend spend spend, the stores forcing Christmas on us before Halloween is finished as if it is something that must be shouldered immediately. There is a deep cynicism about consumerism that undermines the season as a whole.

This line from page 4 of Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas: Having the Holiday Season You Long For jumped out at me:

We enter November with a marathon before us but a sprint mentality. Before the season even gets started, it begins to seem overwhelming. This robs joy from individual occasions.

I underlined that bit about robbing joy. It reminded me of one year when we shared Christmas morning with another family and everyone opened all their presents at the same time. It was horrible! We take turns and everyone watches as one person opens one present. Everyone can see and comment on it. And so even small gifts are recognized and enjoyed.

Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas is chock-filled with practical suggestions on how to actually enjoy the holiday season instead of ending it exhausted, broke and resentful of your loved ones. With chapters such as “Whatever Happened to Comfort and Joy? Assessing your holidays” and “Conquering the Clutter of Christmas,” Christie offers simple ways to change how you approach this “marathon” season. I found myself eagerly reading her suggestions.

I don’t want to get sucked in to excessive busyness this year. I recommend Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas for those of you looking

  • to control your holiday season rather than letting it control you
  • for ways to say to your mother-in-law that you don’t want to host Christmas brunch
  • for ways to let your kids know that things are going to be slower, smaller and deeper this year.

It’s a great resource.

You can win

I’m very pleased to announce that one of you can win a copy for yourself! Just leave a comment below to be entered to win. We’ll announce the winner here in this column on 11/28.

You also have another chance to win a copy. Read Jennifer’s thoughts on the books at 5 Minutes for Books and enter to win a copy over there.

Christmas in Morocco

I am linking some of my holiday posts from my personal blog for those who are interested to see just how different it is:

*This post is a part of a sponsored campaign with Abingdon Press, but I have not been told what to say. My opinion is my own.

5 Minutes for Books staff reviewer Elizabeth spent nearly 10 years living in North Africa. She currently lives in Oregon with her husband and 3 teens. Read more at her blog Planet Nomad.


  1. Angela Maa s says

    Thanks. I’d love to win this. Christmas is my least favorite holiday – because it IS so stressful. I’d love to get some tips on making it easier and less rushed.

  2. says

    I’ll have Judy Christie on tour in May with her newest book, Hurry Less Worry Less for Moms, just in time for Mother’s Day! Reviewers welcome. Find out more at and look for the button in the sidebar under “books for review.” There are only 6 more openings so get in early!

  3. Michele says

    I’m going to check out your Planet Nomad blog, too. I’m a Texan who’s been living in the moderate Muslim country of Malaysia since this summer. We’ll be heading home for a few weeks over Christmas, and I’m already stressing about having to transport the avalanche of gifts received all the way back to Malaysia.

  4. Misty S says

    Oh, winning this book would be awwwwwwwwwesome (said the way my 5 year old son & 3 year old and 1 year old daughters say it)!!! It’s so sad that the happiest time of the year, when your heart should be overflowing with love and warmth, is really spent worrying about everything… how can you afford this? what do you buy so and so, so that they’ll be happy and thankful? & etc etc etc :( It’s hard to find the Spirit of Christmas hiding in your heart when so much is weighing it down!

  5. Amy says

    What a great prize! I’ve been thinking about this very thing all week. It’s important to simplify and keep the holiday season true to its purpose!

  6. says

    I would love this book! My holidays no matter what I have tried to do in the past are filled with stress and worry! As a mother of 3 in a one income household my husband and I want to “cut-back” this Christmas and focus on what is really important! Family, Friends and the precious time that we can all spend together!

  7. Tiffany O. says

    This looks like such a great book. I feel like I am constantly in a hurry to get from one thing to the next. I’d love to have a copy of this book.

  8. says

    I would love to win this. I try to stay calm during the holidays but it just seems as though they sneek up on me each year and I’m running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Thanks so much for the chance to win.

  9. Melissa says

    I would really, really love this book. My husband, myself and my 3 kids have just moved to Melbourne, Australia for a year and I am having a hard time adjusting to being away from my family and trying to enjoy the holidays away from them.

  10. Marci W. says

    Seems like an good book to read as we are spending our last Christmas in this house and I am trying to cram all the memories into one holiday. Time to take a step back.

  11. says

    I love Christmas, but we make it as simple as possible. i ask each child to list their top three Christmas must haves, things like a specific Christmas cookie, trip in jammies to view lights, etc., and then we map out a schedule with a few of them on it. Everyone feels like their Christmas is just right, and we all get to enjoy everything without all of the rushing around. And we never schedule more then one thing in a day!

  12. says

    What a great post full of lifes lessons – As I have gotten older (and I don’t consider myself old) I have grown to appreciate each day of the holidays. I do live a much less harried life. Maybe it is easy since the kids have flown the coup? Not sure but I LOVE the Christmas season and everything that comes with it.

  13. DAYLE BUTLER says

    Would love to read your interesting sounding book. WTG on your writing skills.
    Your tips I am sure would be useful for the holiday season.
    I will be making my fav. Kentucky Christmas whiskey cake soon.

  14. Lynne says

    It is definitely easy to lose sight of what Christmas is supposed to mean. There is also a temptation to spend too much because you want to get the people you love exactly what they were dreaming of. This book sounds like a great resource to help you keep control over the season.

  15. Barb Mann says

    I am not a huge fan of reading but once I saw the title of this book I was wishing I had a copy of it in my hand so I could read it and put it to use. I’d love to win a copy of it.

  16. J. Owada says

    With the holidays approaching the the loss of dh’s job as well as other stresses, I think reading this book might be just perfect timing!

  17. Janelle says

    I’d love to win a copy of this book, as I’ve been faced with some difficult challenges this year! Your post was timely, & appreciated!
    Best wishes and thanks for a chance to win this wonderful book!

  18. stephanie miller says

    oh i so need this book. this year is definately going to be smaller, my husband walked out on us oct 1. i have tried to explain to my daughters that this year there wont be as many gifts or as big as years past. they say ok, but i dont feel like they understand and they will be dissapointed. or maybe its just me thats dissapointed. i just know things have been so hard, i had to go to a food bank before thanksgiving. i have a lovely house, and nice clothes, but no income. so no food. i know i will look back on this year and consider it as a learning experience, its just so hard to go thru it.

  19. Tricia Andrews says

    This sounds like just the book for me!! I love to read books like this that help me put things in perspecitve!


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