Two months ago, Hong Kong expat Nikelle Joy Gordon compiled a list of all the things she needed to organise in the lead-up to Christmas. At the top of her list were the numerous presents she needed to buy, wrap and post to her family and friends abroad. Her list was supposed to alleviate holiday stress, but instead it added to her problems by reminding her daily of all the things she has yet to do. A part-time educational assistant at South Island School, Gordon shoehorns Christmas gift shopping for her children and friends many of whom leave Hong Kong early for the Christmas break into a day that is already busy. She keeps tabs on her childrens school parties and performances, and organises food and costumes when required. She also attends requisite seasonal work events and friends parties too. Although all these festivities are fun, they require time, preparation and money. Not only do I need to get all the jobs done with little to no help, I need to organise and orchestrate it all too. I need to remember my role and duties as well as those of my kids, my husband, my helper and sometimes a few others, Gordon says. I love and look forward to Christmas but I dont like this pre-Christmas drama. For me, Advent and Christmas are intensely spiritual times, and I no longer want to be drawn away from this personal focus of love and family.