I don’t think I know a person who doesn’t feel The Busy come on strong during the holidays. A time for giving and enjoying loved-ones has become a time for decorating to the nines, holiday parties galore, shopping ’til we drop, then the wrapping marathon. Throw in some traveling for good measure, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good recipe for stress and overwhelm.
But what can we do? Is it even possible to slow down and simplify the holidays?
I say yes. And here’s how.
How to Simplify the Holidays
Take the focus off gifts.
I know, I know. What about the kids. But seriously, kids don’t need a bunch of over the top gifts to make a memorable holiday. What they need is love. That’s what we all need, really.
And I know you don’t need me to tell you that love isn’t something that can be wrapped and put under a tree.
For those who truly, deeply love gifts, for whom Gift Giving is their Love Language: Giving of gifts can still be made special and meaningful without being the main focus. In fact, I would argue that giving a fewer number of really personal, meaningful gifts would be more special than giving a heap of gifts purchased in a shopping-craze.
Practice only meaningful traditions.
For the particularly nostalgic, this is a toughie. If a tradition has lost it’s value, maybe it’s time to give it up. Or just put it on hold, if giving it up feels too extreme and permanent.
If you have to drag your kids out to drive around and look at Christmas lights, perhaps it’s not worth the stress of fitting that into a busy holiday schedule. And if no one in your family cares about homemade cookies, switching to store-bought could be a good way to take one thing off your holiday to-do list.
You can always test out a new tradition if you feel a void. Pick something simpler than the one you are giving up. One of my favorites is watching Christmas movies. That could be a good, simple swap for a fancy live performance if you are in a busy season with small children. You can always swap the live performances back in for future holidays.
Offer to host.
Sounds crazy. I know. But hear me out.
When you host, you get to do it on YOUR terms. You get to make it as casual or fancy as you want. You have the benefit of picking the time of day, how many courses and dishes you serve, and even how many people you invite. Heck, you can even decide whether or not you’ll serve a meal! Maybe “Christmas Dessert” at your place could be a fun new tradition for your extended family!
Curb your spending.
If I could only give you one idea for simplifying the holidays, it would be this. Curbing your spending will make you look at all the money (and time) related aspects of the holidays, and will force you to pick and choose where you put your focus. It really goes hand-in-hand with the other ideas mentioned.
I really do love the holidays. And I think those of us who love celebrating and immersing ourselves in the season can easily be caught in the busy trap. We want to do ‘all the things’. We want to squeeze out every last bit of ‘specialness’. The holidays can be so enjoyable and special, but even more so when we cut down on the stressful aspects.
I would love to know how you plan to simplify your holidays. Comment below or join me on Facebook to share!