Stress less over the holidays


If the holidays stress you out try these simple tips to help put the “joy” back into enjoying the holidays!

Make a budget

Overspending and worrying about money are major causes of stress no matter what your income.  Set a budget and stick to it. You cannot buy “the perfect holiday,” so don’t try.  Children’s expectations fueled by advertising can make it difficult to control spending, so choose special gifts together. Be kind and matter-of-fact. Make it fun and thoughtful; most children understand and will enjoy planning things together. When it comes to friends and family be thoughtful and creative.  These days quality time is the best gift of all.  Bake cookies, have tea, stay up late with a bottle of wine, or have a nice dinner.  Even a nice long phone call can mean a lot, but these days it is a good idea to plan ahead so both of you can enjoy your chat.


Make a plan and use lists

If you have a lot to do make a plan and use lists to keep organized. It sounds simple, but many people who are on top of everything at the office never take time to schedule busy periods in their personal lives. Use a calendar or planner to avoid overbooking! I use my Outlook calendar to plan. It keeps me from overscheduling or double-booking. I look at it several times a day when things get hectic. It helps me to keep on top of what needs to done. It is also helpful to plan errands and to avoid repeat trips to the same places when holiday traffic is heavy. Most importantly, keeping an eye on my calendar helps me to download (8)say no. Just looking at a very full day or week is enough for me say without hesitation, “I would love to but I really can’t right now!” It is easy because it is the truth. Earlier this year when my calendar went down for a few weeks my schedule was a mess. I double-booked and even missed an appointment! 

Shop online, it will save time and money. If you must or prefer shops, then go early in the morning if you can, or late at night to avoid crowds. 

Buy stamps and mail packages now! Use click and ship for everything else. It is easy.  

Consider using e-greetings for the bulk of your holiday greetings. You will save trees, time, and money! And you can send joyful wishes to many people.


Eat well. Use your calendar or planner to organize your meals. Eat lightly between “feast days.”  Follow heavy eating days with light eating days of clear soup, salads, steamed vegetables, and fish or chicken. Skip alcohol, soda, dairy or juice and have herbal teas, green tea and water, even coffee. It is all about balance. I read about this approach in a book by Deborah Szekely, the founder of Golden Door, the first mind-body spa. It is a simple idea, but I have never read a better one. 

Party food – even if you are good – is usually full of dairy, fats, and sugar. And if you had a few drinks give your body a break. A glass of wine a day can be fine, but parties usually mean more than one, so a day or two on the light diet is a good way to balance the calories and other effects. 

Exercise for energy and serenity. When you are stressed you really need to make time for exercise. It changes your brain chemistry and floods you with endorphins.  Vary your exercise to match your mood. If you are tired or stressed, try a restorative or gentle-flow yoga class. If you feel antsy and aggravated, go for a vigorous yoga class, barre class, or cardio class. Exercise rewires your mind and body! 

Learn to pamper yourself. You don’t need a crowded spa at the holidays. Seek out private experts, recommended by trusted friends, who can soothe and revitalize you in a serene private space. Learn to enjoy a mask in a soothing mineral soak or after a relaxing shower.  Embrace the quiet.



Rich experiences!

Darlings, all year we bring you hints, lists and how-tos to help you feel better and look fabulous. We will be back with them in the New Year.  But for now darlings, just celebrate!   Savour this special with family and friends.   Luxuriate in time together. Darlings, life is short so make it sweet. Embroider the tapestry of time with rich experiences. will resume our regular weekly publishing schedule on January 10, 2013!
Until next week, please sign-up if you haven’t already; email your info to domore@dolcedolce.comDolceDolceis free. And please forward us to all your friends. And please give us your comments by emailing us at the same address. We want to know what you think. Please LIKE us on FACEBOOK Look for our logo! Let’s start the conversation!
 Gracey Hitchcock
Gracey Hitchcock
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© DolceDolce® 2012
All DolceDolce content is copyright

Plan ahead!

Darlings, it may sound strange, but often the key to relaxed holiday fun is planning. So start now. Decide what you can and cannot do this year. Feel good about your decisions. Make a budget, shop from a list, and start now!  If you are feeling pinched – cut back. No one will care. Don’t procrastinate in the hope that things will change. They will; they will get worse. Just get on with what is possible and enjoy it. Bake cookies, take a walk with friend to look at holiday lights, go ice skating, and have some fun. Take some canned goods to food bank.

Make a schedule. It can be a loose plan for decorating, cooking, and other holiday chores, but it will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed as the days count down.
And enjoy. Remember sweet memories are made by taking time to be present and joyful in the company of loved ones and friends! 
Until next week, please sign-up if you haven’t already by emailing your info to . DolceDolce is free. And please forward us to all your friends. And please follow us on Facebook We post new items and tips almost daily.  And please give us your comments by emailing us at the same address or sharing in Facebook –we will respond! We want to know what you think. Let’s start the conversation!





Gracey Hitchcock


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© DolceDolce® 2011
All DolceDolce content is copyright



Embrace the joy of the season

I still love the ornaments from our first treeI love this time of year. For a few weeks I can almost forget my dislike of the cold.  I cook and bake. The sweet, spicy scents fill my kitchen evoking wonderful memories. I enjoy spending time in my kitchen and find it relaxing. I assure you if I didn’t, I would buy one of the many lovely boxes of holiday cookies and serve them instead. 

 I believe less is more when it comes to holiday delicacies, unlike our mothers and aunts. I don’t feel compelled to fill my house with sweets and treats. We enjoy special meals and desserts as part of our celebration, but we also try not to gain five pounds between Christmas and the New Year. We still mange to enjoy the season. A two-week buffet spread of cookies and candy is one tradition we don’t miss.

Even though we have no children, we still decorate. We have a tree and enjoy decorations we have collected over the years. I still remember buying some of them at Ogilvy’s, my favorite Montreal department store, when we were first married. A friend visiting for the first time a few Christmases ago was delighted by our holiday decor, but surprised that we would bother — for just “us”. It pleases us. If you enjoy it, go for it. If you feel that would like to scale back on decorating or entertaining, suit yourself, but celebrate!
Except for the last few years, my husband and I always had big holiday parties for 35 to 50 people. We had wonderful parties in several cities, including Moscow. The Russian capital was an especially fun at the holidays. We would have our holiday party right before most to our friends left to celebrate at a sunnier destination. We scaled back when we resettled in a new city, but still found new friends to host at the holidays.
We love to entertain, it’s our nature. But it’s not for everyone.  After a big party, many guests have awkwardly said to me, “Gracey, I can’t do what you do and have big party." So what! We are all different! Not everyone needs to be a hostess. Be a great guest, if that is your forte. Reciprocate some other way. But, celebrate!
If you have children, make something special with them, or bake. Make your own new traditions, or share an old family one that you truly love. Children love to make crafts and will cherish the memories for years. Stock up on supplies now for those lovely days between Christmas and New Year’s. Forget bargains and malls, cozy up with projects and fun! This can be fun for adults too – or borrow a child. Use the holidays to visit, read, creative and renew!
Inhale the season’s goodness and merriment with candles and the scent of pine. It will soon be gone. Whatever your beliefs or situation find a reason to be grateful and celebrate. Life is short my darlings, make it sweet. Let go of things and traditions that make you crazy — be thoughtful and kind instead. It works better. Don’t worry about gifts you can’t afford. Scale back, buy smaller or fewer. Don’t worry that anyone will care. Write great cards. Consider ecards for much of your list. Save trees and save postage. Be creative, kind, and send joy over the net!
Embrace traditions that work for you. Find and share the joys of season. Shine your light and welcome the New Year with hope, love, and gratitude. Happy holidays to all of my darlings!