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Genevive Chamblee: Holiday Crud — 5 Ways to Avoid It!
Friday, December 15th, 2023

If you read the title and thought I was speaking of all the holiday rubbish that no one needs or ever asked for being sold by department stores and online, I’d say that is a pretty good guess. However, it’s incorrect. The holiday crud I’m referring to is bodily sickness.

Several years ago, I began to recognize a pattern in myself of becoming sick on Christmas Day or shortly after that. Initially, I thought it might have been some psychosomatic way to avoid those family members I didn’t wish to interact with. While this was a convenient offshoot, it wasn’t the reason it manifested.

After brief introspection and evaluation of circumstances, I quickly realized my very real illness was a byproduct of stress. Mentally, I would compile anxiety regarding creating a wonderful Christmas experience for everyone. This included everything from preparing holiday snacks to cooking to cleaning and preparing my home for visitors to decorating (interior and exterior) to purchasing the perfect gift. I had addresses to collect for all the Christmas cards to mail, outfits to assemble for events, and hair and nail appointments to look my best on the big day. In truth, I didn’t give two wooden nickels about the majority of these things. I only cared because others told me I should—others expected it of me. Left alone, I would have made it a PJ and given heartfelt, sappy homemade gifts as seen on Hallmark holiday movies. However, that wasn’t the kind of environment I was raised in. Sadly, much emphasis was placed on material items and public/social appearances. Thus, I would do my best to meet these expectations.

Begin Phase Two.

To accomplish these numerous tasks, I would run myself ragged and jump through a football field of burning hoops. Store after store, I would walk until I felt my arches falling. My eyeballs would bulge and water from scanning the internet. My head would ache from gift wrapping. (How many times can a roll of tape be lost in one sitting? And why is it so difficult to find the correct size box?) My muscles screamed at me from scrubbing. None of these things I found fun or rewarding. And by the time Christmas arrived, all I felt was tired and relieved. This is when I both mentally and physically would crash. My body responded the only way it knew, and that usually was with some type of respiratory illness.

Some family members would accuse me of faking sick by drumming it up all in my mind. “Oh, she’s not really ill. She’s just being lazy,” some would whisper. I didn’t know laziness came with fevers and congestion and lasted a week. Apparently, my wallet didn’t know it, either, when I had to pay for after-hours clinic care. And also, I apparently was good at tricking medical staff into hearing congestion in my chest and giving me diagnoses (e.g., pharyngitis, strep throat, and the flu). Then, one year, a physician informed me that my immune system was pretty crappy, and he suspected that when stressed, I would weaken it so much that it could not fight off infection. As a result, I was catching anything airborne that blew in my direction. He suggested that I should do less over the holidays and allow myself more time to rest.

Of course, I didn’t listen, at first, until one year I became especially ill. Actually, it wasn’t the illness that did me in. It was the nonproductive cough that lingered for weeks after. It was so deep that I felt I had swallowed a box of matches with each breath. I literally walked around clutching my chest like Fred G. Sanford. During the day it was bad, but at night, it became unbearable. Well, I learned my lesson.

The following year, I decided to take heed and began holiday preparations early. Instead of sorting through Christmas cards and trying to best match the design and card to each person, I purchased a box of assorted designs from the dollar store and randomly added the names. I cut the amount of Christmas treats I made in half, only decorated the interior, and put a time limit on the time I spent gift shopping. I still ended up getting sick that year but not nearly as severe as previous years.

I thought I was alone in this until recently when I was having lunch with a group of friends and the topic came up. Being who I am, after the discussion, I began researching, and this phenomenon isn’t uncommon.

  1. Exposure to large crowds while shopping and traveling. Viruses and bacteria can loom anywhere. However, the body is amazing. When we are exposed to some conditions long enough, we build up a tolerance or immunity to it. But when we travel or in large crowds, we are subjected new viruses and bacteria. Thus, the probability of contracting an airborne illness or a germ from an infected surface increases. If avoiding crowds isn’t something that you can or want to do, you may want to avoid people who are visibly sick or touch surfaces that are known to have not been cleaned.
  2. Forgetting to wash hands. How many surfaces do we touch when in public (e.g., opening doors, removing items from shelves, handshaking, etc.)? This act can transfer germs from a surface onto our hands. Then, without thinking, we may touch our mouth, eyes, or nose—increasing the probability of making us sick. Now, let’s be clear. Will failing to wash one’s hands after touching a public surface always result in illness? No. In fact, I don’t know scientific odds for that. But can it happen? Yes. Does it sometimes happen? Yes. Does handwashing help prevent it? Yes.
  3. A frequent change in temperature. When researching, the information found listed this as going from inside to outside. However, I’m going to take this a step further and go out on a limb to include something that isn’t research-based. I live in the deep south, and anyone in this area can tell you it’s like a Heidi Klum Project Runway intro: One day you’re in a sauna. The next day you’re out on a witch’s boobie. Mother Nature is a bipolar roller coaster. It has literally snowed on day, and the next shot up into the 80s. Mostly, it is warm, but when the temps get to bouncing, noses get to running. There’s not much one can do about Mother Nature’s fluctuation but dressing appropriately to maintain a constant body temp from one setting to the next helps.
  4. Lack of sleep. This one is easy. Being well rested can help stave off illness.
  5. Reduce stress. Give yourself the grace to not have to do it all during the holidays. When possible, delegate tasks to people you trust and know will get the job done. Simplify tasks (e.g., purchasing prewrapped gifts, doing meal prep in advance, reducing number of purchases, etc.). Every little bit helps.

So, that’s a wrap on today’s topic. Now, it’s your turn to sound off. What did you think? What is your take on the subject? Do you agree or disagree? Did you find this information helpful or informative? Did you learn anything new, or did it change your opinion? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Also, let me know if you would like me to cover more of these types of topics or dive deeper into this one. If you like this post, please click the like button, and share it. Your feedback allows me to know the content that you want to read. If you’re not following me on Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.

Get ready. It’s time to hit the ice again. Future Goals has arrived and is available.

When a college hockey player needs the help of an attractive older attorney, he gets more than he bargained for when trying to sort out the troubles in his career. Falling in love was never part of either man’s plan, especially as Corrigan’s and Sacha’s lives should never have collided. Now they’re left questioning if they’re standing in the way of the other’s future goals, or if there’s room for redirection.

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Did you miss the first four books in my hockey romance series? No frets.

Out of the Penalty Box (book #1), where it is one minute in the box or a lifetime out, is available at It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links on where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit

Defending the Net (book #2) can be ordered at or Crossing the line could cost the game.

Ice Gladiators (book #3) is the third book in my Locker Room Love series. When the gloves come off, the games begin. Available at or

Penalty Kill (book #4) retakes the ice. Get a copy at or and let the pucker begin.

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or X (formerly tweet) me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search for me on Goodreads, Amazon Authors, BookBub, Bluesky, Threads, or TikTok.

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Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Laissez le bon temps rouler.

About the Author

Genevive Chamblee resides in the Bayou country where sweet tea and SEC football reign supreme. She is known for being witty (or so she thinks), getting lost anywhere beyond her front yard (the back is pushing it as she’s very geographically challenged), falling in love with shelter animals (and she adopts them), asking off-the-beaten-path questions that make one go “hmm,” and preparing home-cooked Creole meals that are as spicy as her writing. Genevive specializes in spinning steamy, romantic tales with humorous flair, diverse characters, and quirky views of love and human behavior. She also is not afraid to delve into darker romances as well.