Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas, Review and Giveaway

by 5 Minutes for Books

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.

Email Author    |    Website About 5 Minutes for Books

5 Minutes for Books is the 5 Minutes for Mom sister site devoted to reviewing books for adults -- fiction, memoir, and nonfiction -- and kids of all ages. Managed by Jennifer Donovan, other contributors are Dawn, Lauren, Nancy, and Elizabeth. Follow us @5M4B on twitter and subscribe to our feed or like us on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angela Maa s November 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm

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 June November 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Would be great to win a copy of this, anything to help with the up coming busiest time of the year sure would help.


3 Dorothy November 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm

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!


4 Shannon B November 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I would like to read this.


5 Michele November 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm

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.


6 Janet Jackson November 14, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I really could use some help in hurry and worry less this holiday season! thanks for the chance to win! :)


7 Kristle November 15, 2011 at 12:19 am

ooh-I would love to worry less during Thanksgiving and Christmas!


8 Erica Best November 15, 2011 at 12:28 am

i would love this as a gift for my mom


9 Emily November 15, 2011 at 3:19 am

I’m worried already, would be fabulous to have a copy!


10 Dina Young November 15, 2011 at 7:44 am

Anything to help!


11 Misty S November 15, 2011 at 8:06 am

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!


12 Joyce M November 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm

The book sounds lovely and so needed. Thank you.


13 Kim November 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I so need this book! Thanks for the chance to win!


14 Estrella Azul November 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm

This sounds great, I love reading advice and tips on “less” as I believe less truly is more.
Thanks for this opportunity!


15 Staci A November 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I’d love to read this. I need all the holiday advice I can get!


16 Amy November 18, 2011 at 2:32 am

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!


17 Gina November 18, 2011 at 8:15 am

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!


18 Tiffany O. November 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

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.


19 Angela E. November 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Such a heck-tic time of the year, hope I can get everything done on time this year!


20 Valerie Taylor Mabrey November 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm

thanks for giving us the chance to win
vmkids3 at msn dot com


21 Jill November 19, 2011 at 11:38 am

Would love to win this. Just would have to make the time to read it.


22 Linda Kish November 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

This is just what I need. Please include me.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com


23 Marci J November 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm

thank you for the chance- sounds like a must read for me!


24 Ashley Montgomery November 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

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.


25 Debby M November 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I would love to win. This year will be very stressful, having recently lost my job.



26 Melissa November 20, 2011 at 7:06 am

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.


27 Tammy Gordon November 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

I would love to win this! :)


28 E. Ethelbert Miller November 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

To know how to wait is the great secret of success.


29 David Lichtenstein November 21, 2011 at 5:22 am

I assume you find out one thing completely new everyday. Regards, Logan Iseli


30 Mrs Jessica Bassey November 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I’m always worried every year. I would love to learn new tips on how not to worry!


31 schtanzerl November 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm

i’d love to win!


32 Beth C November 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I’d really like to read this before Christmas! Thanks for the chance.


33 Jill November 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

I would love to win!


34 Marci W. November 22, 2011 at 8:21 am

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.


35 organizingwithe November 22, 2011 at 10:36 am

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!


36 organizingwithe November 22, 2011 at 10:38 am

PS- Whoops! Forgot – I would love the book! I’m always trying to find ways to streamline Christmas but keep the memories intact!


37 Kathleen November 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

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.


38 Stacie November 22, 2011 at 7:05 pm

I always let the holidays stress me out more than they should!


39 Jenna Mason November 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I would love to win this book! =)


40 julie barrett November 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm

i’m done for this year but to send a few cards out but it looks like a good read.



41 beverly wisman November 22, 2011 at 7:58 pm

sounds like this is a very great story, i love to read


42 Christina November 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I would love to win a copy of this book. Love the concept!


43 gibberish November 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm

After reading your review, I think this book would be an interesting read. Sounds great.


44 DAYLE BUTLER November 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm

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.


45 Lynne November 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm

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.


46 Shannon B November 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I would like this.


47 Barb Mann November 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm

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.


48 Tammy Allgood-Hemmerling November 22, 2011 at 11:55 pm

I would love to win this giveaway! I want to read this book!



49 Kristina Sullins November 23, 2011 at 2:19 am

Sounds like a good attitude to have. I would love to win this book!


50 Laura Lane November 23, 2011 at 8:34 am

Happy Thanksgiving!


51 AnnMarie Brown November 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

I would love to win. This year will be very stressful,my husband has recently lost my job.


52 Sharon November 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I’d love a copy of the book!


53 J. Owada November 24, 2011 at 12:16 am

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!


54 Christy November 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Yes please, would like to win!


55 Desmond November 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Count me in, please!


56 Janelle November 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm

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!


57 stephanie miller November 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm

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.


58 Jenn November 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I would love to win!

Jenn from How to Make Hair Bows


59 SueSueper November 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Would like an opportunity to win. Always seeking things to de-stress life. (Canada Entrant)


60 Valerie Taylor Mabrey November 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm

love these goveaways
vmkids3 at msn dot com


61 Tricia Andrews November 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

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


62 Elaine Pardo November 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Sounds like a great book!


63 Carla Pullum November 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I want to win looks like a great book!!


64 Ed Nemmers November 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I would love to read this work!


65 shirley pebbles November 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I would love to win


66 Scrapeboard Marketplace December 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Aw, this was a very nice post. In thought I want to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article…


67 Chuck December 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Perfect for my wife.


68 Sharie Morga December 30, 2011 at 6:27 am

I have been checking out some of your stories and i can state pretty nice stuff. I will definitely bookmark your website.


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