Today is December 18th and I am actually having a pretty peaceful holiday season this year. But it wasn’t always that way. I can remember some years when there was a lot of stress and chaos.

Being a musician it took me quite a while to find some balance. The holidays are so much fun, there are so many opportunities to play beautiful music, not to mention the chance to make some extra money. But there is also a risk of exhaustion, burnout, and overcommitment.

The week before Christmas can be a challenge. But it can also be so much fun. Here are some of the things I do to make my holiday more peaceful.



  • Let others pitch in. Ask for help with food prep, shopping, etc.
  • Say no. Say no thank you to events that just don’t fit into your schedule.
  • Give creatively. In our family, we focus on gifts for the children. Adults decided whether or not to exchange gifts. I also like to give experiences over toys and gadgets.
  • Skip the wrapping. Use gift bags whenever possible.
  • Shop during the weekdays. Being a piano teacher allows me to shop when stores are less crowded.
  • Use paper plates.
  • Keep the food prep simple and ask people to bring something.
  • Get the kids to help keep the house clean and organized.
  • Take time to relax, have some fun, and focus on the true meaning of the holidays.
  • Don’t try to be perfect, be peaceful.



  • I don’t hold a Holiday recital. I have found over the years that families are busy and it can be stressful for me and the students.
  • Instead, I do an online video recital.
  • I don’t give gifts to students. Instead, I do the holiday video recital. Each family can request a copy as a keepsake.
  • Be careful when taking on performance opportunities. Always say “I’ll think about it.” Then reply later.
  • Simplify the music when needed.
  • Learn to practice efficiently.
  • Rely on tried-and-true repertoire.
  • Don’t get pressured by vocalists into last-minute key changes.
  • Simple is beautiful when it comes to most things.
  • Say no, to music directors with unreasonable demands.
  • Price your services competitively.
  • Get paid in advance unless you are sure you will get paid later.
  • Do your best to enjoy the music.

My Go-To Recipies

Chocolate Icebox Cake

  • 1 box Graham Crackers
  • 1 box Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • Milk
  • 1 container of Cool-Whip
  • Chocolate syrup.


Make up the Vanilla Pudding and fold in the Cool-Whip. Layer the mixture

with Graham Crackers. Top with a generous amount of Chocolate Syrup

and refrigerate overnight.

Ham and Cheese Sliders


  •  . cup melted butter
  •  1 . tablespoons Dijon mustard
  •  1 . teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  •  1 . tablespoons poppy seeds
  •  1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 24 mini sandwich rolls
  •  1 pound thinly sliced cooked deli ham
  • 1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese


Gather all ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13-inch

baking dish.

Mix butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and dried

onion in a bowl.

Separate the tops from the bottoms of the rolls; arrange the bottom pieces in a

layer in the prepared baking dish. Layer about 1/2 of the ham onto the rolls;

add a layer of Swiss cheese and top with remaining ham slices.

Place the tops of the rolls onto the sandwiches. Pour mustard mixture evenly

over the rolls

Bake for about 20 minutes.


Wishing all of you a wonderful and restful holiday season.

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