Sarah Ballance: ‘Tis the Season to be Stressed…and LIKE it?

posted in: Sarah Ballance | 12

Love it or simply tolerate it, there’s no denying the month of December comes with a degree of built-in chaos. It’s practically part of the tradition itself, and while I years ago gave up leaving the house on Black Friday (even then not venturing out until afternoon because ERMAGERD), there’s something to be said for the spirit of it all. One of my greatest joys this time of year is choosing that perfect gift for someone who truly appreciates it, and the craziness that happens when you leave the house (or turn on the TV, fire up a device, or crack open a newspaper) just adds to the excitement of finding The One. This season of giving truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

But this year was off. My chaos didn’t happen. By the first week of December, most of the gifts were purchased. The house was clean. The menus were planned, shopping lists made, all for a holiday three weeks away. You would think with six young children and multiple hosting duties that I’d be thrilled to be on top of everything, but instead, I’m feeling a little bah humbug. WHAT THE HECK?

To be clear, I don’t exactly thrive on chaos. In fact, I put a great deal of effort into avoiding it. I am the spreadsheet queen–I have one for everything. My spreadsheet tells me to four percentile points (might be overkill, yes) how many gifts I’ve purchased, the percent of my budget I’ve spent, and whether I’m over or under budget (and by how much) on the items I do have. I am a math nerd and as long as I can get everything down to the numbers, I can cope. And when someone is that precise about coping, you’d think the ultimate prize would be having nothing left with which to cope. Peace. Calm.

Yeah, right.

Turns out I thrive on the stress, and without it, I feel a little…let down? Eh, maybe. But there’s good news in my strange little world where I need to be crazed, and it comes in the form of a book deadline on 31 December. Somehow having a few thousand words to write perks me right up, but in this season of giving and celebration, not everyone is so lucky. So whether you’re crazed or chillaxed, remember those who aren’t surrounded by holiday cheer. Say hello, share a dessert, or lend a smile. Let the joy be contagious. Leave the stress to those of us who, for whatever reason, really, REALLY like it.

PLAY ROMANTIC PURSUIT! Today’s entry will be an easy but important one. To enter, think about one thing you really, really love about the holiday season. Write it in the entry form for a chance to win that amazing gift basket, the details of which you’ll find in the side bar. Or, simply click here to enter. Good luck, and a wonderful, stress free holiday to you all. 

About Sarah Ballance

Sarah Ballance is a multi-published author of contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense. She’s been married to her own romantic hero for what he calls a “long, long time” (and no, he’ll never hear the end of saying that). Together they have six children … and clearly too much time on their hands. She currently writes for Entangled and has upcoming releases from both Entangled and Samhain Publishing.

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12 Responses

  1. ki pha

    LOL Ill try for a stress free holiday season but sadly that won’t happen till I get a break from work. As for shopping, I didn’t go out this year for Black Friday. I thought about it but then I also had to work so it was a no for me. But it’s great you’re about done shopping! I still have a few to go because they’re the harder ones to gift for, the older folks. But me trying to manage the budget didn’t work so well. So went over and all I got were books! But anyways, what I love about the holiday season are the lights. Not just on houses but in the city and parks as well. Just very merry and magical.

    • Sarah Ballance

      Oh, I LOVE the lights! January seems so dark when they all come down. I hope you get everyone taken care of and have the chance to sit back and relax and enjoy a few days off. 🙂

  2. laurieg72

    I’m gearing up for the invasion of 9 people staying in my 2 bedroom condo!

  3. jessicajefferson

    I also keep santas list on an excel spreadsheet – as I do book sales, to do lists. There’s somethinng soothing about rows and columns …

    • Sarah Ballance

      I don’t think this is the first time we’ve bonded, Jessica. What is it about numbers all organized that makes us feel so calm? It’s kind of unusual for an author to be a numbers geek, and we have FOUND one another! LOL.

  4. ginaconkle2013

    Hi Sarah,
    I fall somewhere between organized and not prepared for this time of year. Inevitably, there’s last minute shopping. My guess is since you’re a working mom (even if you write in your PJs that’s working) with 6 kids, you know what to sweat and what to let go of. 🙂 Congrats again on the contemporary romance. Someone ought to tweet about that! 🙂

    • Sarah Ballance

      Thanks for that awesome tweet, Gina! And yes, I totally know how to choose my battles. And fortunately I’ve mastered The Look that makes the kids all run quickly in the opposite direction. I’m not sure what it actually looks LIKE, but whatever it is, it’s effective. SO helps when I get busy, lol!

  5. JoannaM

    LOL Isn’t that the truth? It’s like if I’m not part of the rambunctious crowd at the mall and stores it’s not the Holidays! It’s silly I know but I need to feel part of the lights, the crowds, the music, even the sales! One or two days before Christmas I can sit down and just look at the Christmas tree and think of all the memories that led to that moment, as if thinking “it was all worth it” 😉