The Christmas season is fast approaching. This year will look a lot different for us with a newborn but no less magical or important. It does, however, give me another reason to simplify Christmas this year compared to past years.
3 Ways to Simplify Christmas This Year
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***But first, a disclaimer. If you love going ALL OUT for Christmas I don’t want to dim your light. Go all out! If there is one time a year to be over the top I believe it’s the Christmas season. Also, I talk a lot about buying intentional, non-clutter gifts below but don’t let me make you feel guilty about buying from Amazon either. I love Amazon and will probably buy a lot of gifts from there still. I love buying from small businesses and making DIY gifts, but that doesn’t mean an intentional gift shipped from Amazon isn’t just as thoughtful.
Instead, the below post is for those who are feeling overwhelmed this year. It’s for those who want to embrace the season in a simpler, slower way. And it’s for those that perhaps want to consume less and enjoy more. Both Christmases (over the top or simple) can be equally as wonderful and magical and do whichever one fits your season of life this year.
1.|| Simplify Your Decor
I’m currently reading “Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round” and the author, Myquillan Smith, puts an emphasis on simplifying decor every season instead of filling up bins after bins of stuff we have to store. But don’t worry, as the title promises, we’ll keep it cozy!
Instead, she puts a strong emphasis on using what we already have, “shopping” our backyards and using decor that has a longer lifespan. She also discusses creating seasonal ambiance through our five senses instead of another trip to HomeGoods. (But don’t get me wrong, I love HomeGoods.) This year I’m trying her approach and I hope you’ll join me.
Here are a few ways to simplify Christmas while upping the seasonal feel:
TASTE: Create one homemade savory dish that you and your guests can, well, savor. And the rest? Don’t feel guilty buying it from Costco or the grocery store. haha. Or, if you’re hosting this year, make the main dish and ask everyone to bring a side to share. Hot cocoa bars are a great way to throw something easy together that tastes like Christmas. I’ve never done one myself
SMELL: Whatever you cook, or if you go with the hot cocoa bar, will make your home smell like Christmas. I also like to bring in seasonal scents by using my favorite plant-based and non-toxic holidays sprays from Grow Fragrance.
TOUCH: Now is a great time to dig out the soft throw blankets to cuddle up with!
HEAR: Easy. Throw on some of your favorite Christmas music, or better yet, play some on an instrument if you’re able.
SEE: Ahh, see. We already touched upon decor in the first point a little. Use what Christmas decor you already have (and donate what no longer fits your style). “Shop” your backyard for plants you can use to decorate. And if need be, fill in a few of the gaps. Shopping is the very last step, but my mom did pick me up some blue bottle-brush Christmas trees this year that I’ve been looking for for years. And I’m excited!
2.|| Simplify Give Gifting
This one is hard for many people. And I get that. Many of you love finding presents, wrapping presents, and seeing the look of excitement on the recipient’s face as they open them. Growing up one year, I wrapped all 200 of my prized Mcdonald’s toys to “give” to my stuffed animals and loved every minute of it.
OR. Some of you enjoy all that to an extent, but if you’re being honest, gift-giving is stressful. You feel like you have to spend money you don’t have to buy who-knows-what for family members, co-workers, your kid’s teachers, etc. Plus, the “Christmas shopping” season seems to start earlier and earlier each year adding to your stress.
This year, give yourself permission to do less. And then go have conversations with friends and family about that. If that’s too daunting, start small. Maybe cut out gifts to extended family this year. Maybe set a budget for kids’ gifts and discuss it with your siblings. or parents. I’m going to sound like Scrooge here, but chances are your kids (and certainly mine) don’t NEED any more toys. They have everything they need and then some. In fact, getting an onslaught of new toys you have to store, maintain, and put away is stressful for many parents in the minimalist communities I belong to.
Here are a few options to simplify gift giving without cutting it out altogether:
- Set budgets and discuss with family members to keep the gift-giving more minimal.
- Do a “secret Santa” in your office or with extended family so you’re only in charge of getting one nice gift for one person instead of 20 crappy gifts for 20 people.
- Follow the “four gift rule” for your own children: something to read, something they need, something to wear, and something they want. (Here are my favorite open-ended toys that will grow with your child!)
- Give the gift of time or service instead of a material gift. (Babysitting, cleaning, website design, photography – anything!)
- Make homemade gifts instead and invite others to do the same. We did this one year and it was so fun to give my DIY gifts and see what my sisters made in exchange!
Need some DIY Gift Inspiration? Here are a few of my favorites:
- For the self-care enthusiast:
- For friends, moms, sisters, in-laws:
- For the garden enthusiast:
3.|| Focus on Making the Season Special
As a Christian, the real reason I celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Instead of seeing how much money you can spend focus on what makes Christmas special to you. Go to a candlelight service at church. Read the Christmas story of Jesus and His birth aloud to your family. Bake cookies for a neighbor. Participate in Angel Tree event to buy presents for kids whose parents are in prison. (Such a great cause!) Donate to those in need instead of buying another plastic Christmas tree.
I promise these types of events will make the season more special than hitting up the Christmas dollar section at Target.
Here are a few other ways to simplify Christmas while making it extra special at the same time:
- Decorate a gingerbread house
- Watch a classic Christmas movie
- Bake cookies together
- Go look at Christmas lights
- Make homemade Christmas cards
- Make a DIY Christmas ornament
How will you simplify Christmas this year? Remember, you don’t have to throw out all traditions at once. Start with simplifying one aspect of it and next year add another. If simplifying in itself becomes stressful then we’re doing that wrong too. Enjoy and embrace this season in a slow, simple way and it’ll be one of the most memorable yet.