Deck the Halls with Holiday Stress Balls

This holiday advice column is brought to you by Monica Jackson, the heroine in Eliza Daly’s romantic comedy, Under Her Spell.  Monica is a fun, quirky, and creative character with an often unique outlook on life.

snowman with purple light

How to Bring Inner Peace and Joy to Your Holidays

When you punch out an innocent snowman on the way home from work, it’s time to get a grip, especially if you have a history of panic attacks. I suffered my first attack several months ago when Reed, a divorce lawyer, opened his practice next door to my new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance.

Reed eventually ended up being good for my stress and panic attacks. Then today, my soon-to-be divorced cousin and roomie Hope informed me that she’s spending Christmas on a two-week cruise. Who was going to play domestic elf–baking cookies, decorating, making Christmas dinner, etc.?

Surprisingly, the holidays are a busier time for my company than Valentine’s Day. Everyone who has been naughty all year wants to play nice (or maybe a bit naughty) and romance their significant other. Unlike Hope, I don’t want to avoid the holidays. I love the holidays. So here are a few stress reducers I’ve come up with.

Gifts under the tree

1) Tis the season for giving. Nothing makes you feel better than bringing joy to someone else. After Hope caught her husband Kyle cheating, she donated their Egyptian cotton sheets and his Rolex to charity. Her good deeds made her feel like a new woman. The division of their assets was holding up the divorce thanks to scrooge Kyle. So to expedite things, she placed an ad in the newspaper announcing free Thanksgiving dinner at their steakhouse, and that Kyle’s snowmobile would be auctioned off, the proceeds going to Toys for Tots. Kyle is all about appearances, so when patrons praised him for his generosity he took full credit. Hope had the signed divorce papers the next day. So it doesn’t even have to be your own stuff you give away.

 a plate full of Christmas cookies

2) Make love, not cookies. I once spent an hour, and a half a bag of flour, trying to roll out gingerbread cookie dough. Using a juice glass for a rolling pin probably didn’t help. That was my last cookie experience. To help reduce stress, I’m eliminating anything I don’t enjoy, and increasing what I do find pleasurable. I sometimes get so caught up in my clients’ love lives, I don’t put enough time into my own special events. So I have a special evening planned, which includes something very Reed, I mean red, and very naughty.

two glasses of champagne ready for christmas celebration, on red background

3) Power tool therapy. If you’re partaking in alcoholic holiday beverages, stick with a hammer. A few years ago I caught my boyfriend with another girl under the mistletoe hanging over his bed. After grabbing our presents from under his tree, I headed home where my dad was in the garage building a manger for the church. (Yes, I lived with my parents which added to my holiday stress.) He owns a construction business so everyone always asks him to donate his services during the holidays. He was behind schedule and recruited my assistance. Pounding nails while envisioning driving a stake through my ex’s heart was more Zen than a spa day.

3 red and white gift bags

4) Breathe into a holiday gift bag. When I suffered my first panic attack, my assistant and best friend Jordan had me breathe into a paper bag. I don’t recommend sucking in the aroma of an Egg McMuffin if part of your stress is due to holiday overeating. Sprinkle the inside of a gift bag with essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus then inhale some deep, calming breaths.

snowglobe with Santa in a sleigh being pulled by reindeer

5) Don’t act your age. Watch Rudolph and Frosty. Read some of your favorite childhood holiday books. Do things that take you back to your youth when Christmas wasn’t stressful. Tear open presents like it’s your first Christmas. After I swiped the presents from my cheating boyfriend’s house, I went home and ripped through them in no time flat. It felt great. I donated the items to charity, like step one recommends.

angel figurine holding a heart in front of a christmas tree

6) Belief, trust, and a little bit of reindeer dust. Cast a holiday inner peace spell. Stay away from negative spells, such as the Dirtbag Spell I cast on Hope’s ex. Keep things positive. Red is the color of energy and enthusiasm, and green represents healing and balance. The perfect holiday spell colors. Use ingredients such as a red silk bag filled with cloves, cinnamon, and items that symbolize joy, harmony, and good cheer. Belief is the core ingredient of a successful spell, and also a happy holiday season.


Which of Monica’s suggestions can you relate to the most?


Check Eliza Watson’s post Travel Tips and Mishaps.

Book Blurb

When a series of failed relationships and business ventures have Monica Jackson doubting her self-worth, she turns to spell casting to attract positive energy and the opportunities needed to achieve her goals.  But can Monica’s belief in spells restore her belief in herself?


Monica creates a spell to find her soul mate, and one to ensure the success of her new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance.  Monica is confident she has found her niche until divorce lawyer Reed Walker opens a practice next door to her office.  The anti-marriage slogan plastered on his office window, and his down-on-love clients, quickly prove detrimental to Monica’s business.  When his arrival appears to trigger a string of bad luck, Monica fears one of her spells sent negative energy into the universe and it has returned to her threefold.  Although Reed is beyond sexy, and she admires his self-confidence, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the universe back on her side, and Reed out of her life. No way is she losing another business.


Reed finds himself attracted to Monica’s beauty and her optimism. His job and his parents’ divorce have made him a pessimist, especially when it comes to love. However, he soon finds that Monica’s pro-love attitude is rubbing off on him, causing him to lose his edge.  If Reed doesn’t distance himself from Monica, he’ll likely destroy his reputation as a pit bull divorce lawyer.


Can Monica and Reed look past what they might be losing to realize the love they have found?


Under Her Spell is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.


“Monica is a hoot and I love the steamy interactions between her and sexy divorce attorney Reed! Such a fun read and full of laughs.” – 4 Star Review by Sara, Chick Lit Plus


“Quick moving, funny and romantic, you can’t help but love Monica, the characters, and the tangles they get into.” – 8/10 review by Annmarie T., Chicklit Club


Author Bio

Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about women who always get their men.


When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley, Frankie, and Sammy. She also writes lighthearted women’s fiction under the name Eliza Watson.


You can find Eliza on the web at Website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads

Check out our post on keeping your pet safe this holiday.

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5 thoughts on “Deck the Halls with Holiday Stress Balls

  • November 22, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Those are nice tips to remove stress. I like the “Don’t act your age”, as I really like to do childish acts in a way to be happy.

    Lots of love from DIY Craftz

  • November 22, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    These were good tips to keep in mind while I just stood in line over an hour for “reserved” Thanksgiving pies. 🙂

    • November 23, 2017 at 12:41 am

      ‘Tis already the season–I hope the pies are worth it! Happy Thanksgiving!

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