Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas: Having the Holiday Season You Long For is a new October 2011 paperback book release from author Judy Christie, author of the popular 2005 publication Hurry Less, Worry Less: 10 Strategies for Living the Life You Long For.
Christie is a former journalist who now writes, speaks, and hosts podcasts around her Hurry Less Worry Less series of books written from a faith perspective. The book description for the Abingdon Press publication is located here: http://www.abingdonpress.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=6841. Christie is also the author of the Green series of novels including Gone to Green and Rally ‘Round Green based in the fictional town of Green, Louisiana.
Learn more about the book in the following interview Q&A with Judy Christie:
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I love the Christmas season and want it to be a more joyful and peaceful time for everyone. I’m a writer and consultant who loves to help busy people slow down and enjoy each day more. Like most folks, I have a full life and look for ways to live abundantly and not frenzied.
My favorite activities seem to involve sitting – visiting with friends and family on our vintage green Kitchen Couch, jotting in my journal on the patio glider, and reading in the porch swing. I enjoy flea markets and primitive antiques, writing old-fashioned letters, and walking in the park near our North Louisiana home.
In addition to the Hurry Less Worry Less series, I am the author of the Green fiction series about a big-city journalist in a small town, including the most recent “Rally ‘Round Green.” I have had a dozen books published and wrote my first novel when I turned 50. Follow your dreams!
Why did you decide to write the Hurry Less, Worry Less series?
This series started with an entry in my journal and my own desperate need to regain control of my life. My schedule was so hectic and noisy that I felt like I was in quicksand. I began to pray and seek ways to quit rushing everywhere. I wanted to have more fun, not dread my long to-do list.
Once I decided I would slow down, almost miraculous things started to happen. I learned to say “no” to certain things to say “yes” to others. I adjusted my priorities. I did regular course corrections because this is an ongoing process.
When I shared what I discovered with other busy people, I realized there was a great need for practical, inspirational information on how to hurry less and worry less. Most of us can’t run away and join the circus or live in a monastery, so we need tools that work in our everyday lives.
I believe with all of my heart that we are not created to run around like chickens with our heads chopped off. And the Bible clearly tells us we’re not to worry about anything. Learning to hurry less and worry less is possible, and I think the world would be a much more joyful place if more people lived this way!
It’s a challenge, of course, but it can guide you to a simpler, calmer life where you use the gifts you’ve been given.
What are 5 things that are essential for having a “Hurry Less, Worry Less” Christmas?
** Giving thanks. Use the season of Thanksgiving as a springboard to living with a grateful heart. Don’t focus on what you don’t have but on the blessings you’ve been given. Stay positive, no matter how broke you are or how much your in-laws annoy you or how much your children beg for a big plastic toy.
** Decide that you can hurry less and worry less at Christmas and that you’re willing to take steps to do so. Imagine the impact you can have on your friends, family and co-workers when they see you savoring the season instead of fretting. You can change the world.
** Don’t buy expensive gifts that you can’t afford and don’t obsess on finding the “perfect” gift for others. Trim your gift list, and spend less. Other people will understand, and you’ll feel so much better when the New Year rolls around. Serve others during this season because there are often people around you who need a listening ear or to be included in your festivities.
** Trim activities on your calendar, saying “yes” to time with those you care most about and “no” to obligations or traditions that no longer work for you. Don’t keep doing things year after year just because you’ve always done them that way. Be open to change.
** Celebrate Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas. Reclaim the spiritual focus on Christmas. Attend worship each week during Advent and allow yourself at least a few minutes of quiet time each morning. Consider an Advent discussion group. Listen to Christmas music. Read the Christmas story with fresh eyes. Pray for God’s help in hurrying less and worrying less.
Who is this book for?
Everyone who wants to have a more peaceful, joyful Christmas season!
We are all unique and there’s not a cookie cutter approach to this season, but there are key steps that help immensely. Part of the joy of Christmas is finding what works well for you and your family and friends. Do more of what you enjoy and less of what causes you stress.
In workshops and retreats around the country, I find people of all ages and stages of life are overwhelmed by the Christmas season. Young parents want to have more family fun and focus less on the material side of Christmas. Some individuals are in pain due to changes or losses, such as divorce or death. Others are having financial problems and want to cut back on spending.
Church classes and congregations want to transform the world around them and need Advent materials that speak to the every-day lives of their members with a biblical perspective.
This book help with basics, such as not overscheduling or overspending, but also goes beyond to restoring the spiritual focus on Christ’s birth.
Readers will learn they don’t have to change everything at once and will find that small steps can yield big results.
What one thing about your approach to Christmas changed when you decided to hurry less and worry less?
Many things have changed in my approach, and changes continue to unfold.
We decided to spend less money on Christmas gifts, which required planning and communication. At first we drew names for adults after years of buying everyone a gift, but now we limit gifts to the children in our extended (and ever-growing) family. In our nuclear family, we set a budget and stick with it so that we don’t carry Christmas debt into the next year. And, we give more gifts that help others, such as building a well for an orphanage in Africa or buying farm animals in someone’s honor. Most people don’t need more stuff, so this is a gift that helps in multiple ways.
One of the most fun changes we made is buying small, live Christmas trees and planting them in our yard after the holiday season. They take fewer decorations, so the post-Christmas cleanup is less, and they provide pleasure each time I look at them. They generally cost less than a big cut tree or artificial tree.
You mention a Joy Goal in your book? What is that?
A Joy Goal identifies what you want your Christmas to look like. Once you know what you want, it’s easier to figure out how to achieve that. A Joy Goal helps you make daily decisions to keep from overloading.
I love Christmas – getting and giving gifts, worshipping, visiting, eating, singing. My prayer is that we’ll anticipate Christmas and not dread it. This is a holy, special season, and it is tough to keep from overloading. Spend a few minutes identifying what you want your Christmas season to be like and be optimistic about the possibilities. You can make needed changes.
What are your favorite parts of Hurry Less Worry Less at Christmas?
The Advent study! Readers from around the country requested this, and I know there’s a need for simple and meaningful Advent discussions. This study can be used with a group or for individuals. The book not only contains the Advent material but how to use it – nice and simple.
For fun, the book also includes fantastic recipes, such as a great recipe for Christmas Eve chicken gumbo, easy Louisiana pralines and a recipe for crawfish bisque that is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. Wait until you try the sweet potato casserole recipe! There are special family recipes and those generously offered from friends who are much better cooks than I am. Plus, I offer tips on entertaining without it being a hassle, how to take Christmas photos and how to weave in quiet time in a busy schedule.
In addition to the book, are there other ways to connect with you about Hurry Less Worry Less?
I love visiting with readers and talking about how to hurry less and worry less. I send out a regular Hurry Less Worry Less e-newsletter, which you can sign up for at www.judychristie.com. I’m on Twitter with Hurry Less Worry Less tips and other updates: www.twitter.com/judypchristie and I enjoy chatting with readers at www.Facebook.com/judychristie. In addition, I speak to churches and groups on this topic – ranging from keynote addresses and messages from the pulpit to retreats and workshops. Email me at email@example.com for information.
I also do a free weekly Hurry Less Worry Less podcast on iTunes, nice and short, which will focus on Christmas tips as the season approaches. http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hurry-less-worry-less/id435253514
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