Here are steps to simplify Christmas and say no to unwanted obligations, guilt, and exhaustion so you can put the joy back into your Christmas holiday.
Why simplify Christmas?
For many people, the Christmas season becomes more of a burden than a joyful time of year. The obligations, the guilt, and the exhaustion of the whole season far outweigh the pleasures it brings.
Christ’s birth becomes overshadowed with commercialism to many people, which only leads to time-consuming stress. This stress gears up the day right after Thanksgiving or even sooner and continues through New Year’s.
Tips for a simple Christmas
Let’s look at a few of the traditions that can steal our focus as we rethink them, deciding if they are enhancing our hindering our Christmas season.
Do you try to write a personal message in each one to people you have not spoken to all year? How about printing off one newsletter and mailing it to everyone on your card list instead. Personally, around the time I had my 3rd child, I gave up doing cards altogether. Don’t gasp, but I even took out the stress of sending out that infamous family Christmas picture too. I found carving out time with my little ones was more important than having a stressed-out momma.
Kids Christmas gifts
I learned early on that it was important that the kids did not spend hours poring over the toy catalogs or walking through the toy isles. We got them active in serving others instead. We spent our time buying goodies to fill the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Also, I bought and had the kids help deliver groceries to those having financial struggles during the holiday season.
Specifically, trying to attend all the parties and thus become so stretched and pulled that you start regretting them instead of looking forward to them. It’s ok to say no. Reply that I already have plans that day. Your plan can be to stay home and spend time with your family, that’s ok.
Spending money at Christmas
Simplify your budget. Remember, the focus is not on how extravagant a holiday you can obtain; for whose celebration is it really? Christ’s birth was not an extravagant high-dollar party but a humble focus on the Savior of the World coming.
Do you really need to make 25 different kinds of cookies? Why not settle for letting each family member pick their most favorite and make only those. When it comes to meals, get others involved, great memories can be made cooking that special family recipe together. Also, don’t feel like everything during the season has to be homemade. Start some memorable traditions with a take-out dinner. Something like pizza and It’s a Wonderful Life movie night.
It can be stressful to get your home all decorated. We tend to worry about what others think about our Christmas cheer or its lack if we don't throw out the stoppers for decorations.
Simplify your decorating by choosing to do what brings your family joy instead. Another word of caution, don’t look at Christmas idea magazines at the checkout of the store. These magazines are great for tips and ideas, but they are not measuring sticks as to how our homes should look, feel, or smell during Christmas.
Don’t compare how you spend your time during the holidays with what others are doing. Just because the neighbor next door drives 50 miles to buy their Christmas tree at the same farm every year and then comes back and has a huge decorating the tree party does not mean you need to do this. Suppose it’s easier and makes your life better, run up to your local hardware store and buy one on their front sidewalk.
Keep your decorations simple; lights and Christmas balls are beautiful. Use homemade ornaments, ones that have meaning more than visual pleasure. String popcorn one night as a family and use that on your tree or cut out paper angels and hang them on the tree. It's about what brings you joy and creates memories.
There were some years when my kids were really young that we did not do a tree at all. Sometimes financial reasons, and some years, we saw commercialism creeping into our Christmas holiday, so we spent time focusing on the real meaning of the season, Christ’s birth, and sharing that gift with others.
How can I enjoy Christmas more?
Simplifying the holidays is not the same thing as organizing them. When you organize, you are just moving around your heavy loads within your own time constraints of life. When you simplify, you are actually eliminating large chunks of these heavy loads. It’s about doing less so you will have more time to do what is really important.
Give yourself permission to simplify and choose what is best so you can keep your focus on the real meaning of Christmas, Christ’s birth.
I want you to remember that you do not have to do it all, nor should others expect you to. Simplify and choose to do a few of the best things with your time, not what you think others expect of you.
Simplify Christmas dinner
You do not need some big extravagant dinner to make your Christmas complete. When my kids were little, we started a one-pot meal on Christmas Eve. We always do a low country boil, basically throwing crab legs, shrimp, corn on the cob, potatoes, and sausage in a big pot of boiling water. We line the table with newspaper and dump it all in the center when it's time to eat. Everyone has a plate, fork, wet rags, and a bucket to put their scraps in.
Here are some fun simple meal ideas that you could use to start a tradition each year at Christmas. It will keep things simple for you and create memories to cherish.
- Instant Pot Roast Beef and Lots of Gravy and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
- 20 Fun Build Your Own Food Bar Ideas
- Grill steaks with Whiskey Steak Marinade
- 10 Vegan Food Bar Ideas
MORE CHRISTMAS IDEAS
What are some changes you need to make to simplify your Christmas season? Leave me a comment; I would love to hear your ideas!