I began by creating a more conventional journal, full of nostalgic images of reds and greens, but found it wasn’t where I wanted to go. I restarted, this time with a more subdued color palette of pale greens, beiges, and less bright reds and greens. It felt calming and comfortable, but wasn’t sure who it would be for. In a conversation with my daughter, I realized that many women feel pressured by Christmas. They feel pressured by both external and internal expectations, plus family pressures, and by the amount of money they feel they need to spend.

Having been brought up in post-war England, money and resources still weren’t lavish, so family Christmasses were more about being together and having a lovely time than about spending money. Even though times have changed, I know it is easy to get caught up in the hoopla of Christmas, only to reach Christmas day hating myself and feeling very put upon. This journal is the antidote to those pressures.

It begins with a message of encouragement to be aware of the insanity and then to ignore it. Each set of tasks is broken down into smaller, doable steps, with words of encouragement and lists ready to use tucked in neat pockets. The journal owner is reminded to sit and be still, to doodle, color, or put in stickers – whatever brings pleasure and peace.

The journal comes with the lists mentioned in it, plus Christmas cards and gift tags for last minute use, plus the little notes of encouragement, a mini coloring book, stickers, prompts for lists not covered and pages to write on. It also encourages going outside to change the pace and energy if things get overwhelming. The goal is to look forward to Christmas Day and enjoy it, not to feel miserable or frazzled.

This book would make a lovely pre-Christmas gift for any woman you know who is facing her first Christmas in charge, or who has had some bad experiences and would like a guide to keeping Christmas more simple. Coming very soon!