Gift lists, homemade goodies, stocking stuffers, and decorations can all quickly add up. Then, before we know it, we’re worn out, exhausted, running in circles, and have spent so much money on Christmas that we have no idea how we’re going to pay the bills.
I’d like to suggest something else this year. Something better.
A simplified holiday.
We don’t always have to do things extravagantly in order for our family members to have an enjoyable holiday.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Often, our family members will have more fun when we’re relaxed and really with them than they will when we’re rushing around trying to check more of the “special” things off our lists.
Practical ways we can simplify during the holidays:
1) Pare down the gift list.
It can be so fun to give to others!
But, go ahead and see where you can pare down your list. A good test is to ask yourself is, “If I knew this person wasn’t going to give me a present, would I still want to buy for them?” If your answer is no, then cross that person off your list!
If you’re crossing someone off your list who you usually exchange gifts with, make sure to very gently let them know now that, due to time and budget constraints, you won’t be able to purchase a gift for them this year.
Yes, some people may be upset, but others will be relieved to know they have one less person to buy for!
2) Simplify gifts that you do give.
Use your own skills and interests to come up with a creative and thoughtful present that several people on your list would enjoy. Remember that nobody else has to know how frugal the gift was, or how easy it was to make!
3) Protect your time.
Many of us genuinely enjoy attending holiday events! But if we’re not careful, events can push out the things that are most important to our families.
So let’s commit to carefully checking our calendars before saying yes. If the event doesn’t fit in with our schedule, it’s okay to politely decline a few invitations.
4) Find out what’s important to your family.
I’m always amazed at the simplicity of requests when I ask my husband and kids what they want to do each December.
They tend to request things like, “I want to eat popcorn while we watch a family Christmas movie.” Or, “I’d to drive around town to look at the Christmas lights.”
Finding out what’s truly important to our families can help us see where we can simplify, as well as which traditions we can skip altogether, without anyone feeling like they’ve missed out.
5) Bless – don’t impress – others.
There can be a lot of pressure to have a house that’s perfectly clean and decorated, or to serve a meal that’s absolutely incredible. But really, putting that pressure on ourselves is unnecessary.
We can choose to keep things simple and frugal as we seek to bless – not impress – others.
It’s counter-cultural to have a simplified and relaxed holiday, but go ahead and give it a try this year. Cross things off your to-do list, pare down your gift list, and find out what’s really important to your family, then graciously say no to the rest.
What suggestions do you have for simplifying the holiday to-do’s?
Day 21 of 31 Days of Simple Organization.