Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Simplify This Holiday Season

The holidays are approaching quickly.  Thanksgiving just flew by as usual. And now I have to do Christmas?  My mind races, I make lists, my lists then need lists, I can't remember everything that I told myself to make sure to remember so that I can add it to my list. So many things to do and plan for, so many presents to buy, so much baking to complete. The eternal to do list just might take me til next June to complete. STOP!  (I often yell stop to my myself when I panic, much to my children's chagrin because they think I am yelling at them.) STOP!  Does this sound familiar to you? This year, let's approach the holidays differently.  Here are 5 practical tips to help you simplify this Holiday Season:

1) If Christmas Letters and Cards stress you out, consider a photo card with a collage of family photos from throughout the year. Rather than toiling over a letter and what to say, keep the greeting simple and to the point. Then, all you have to do address and mail.  Avoid thinking of personal messages for each card. Believe me, if you extend a little Grace to others, no one will even notice. They personally desire to do the same thing.

2) Too many holiday invites? It is actually okay to say no. I kid you not. Just say no. Pick and choose what is important to you and your family.  Your cousin's friends mailman will forgive you as you decline his yearly invite.

3)  Consolidate and pair down your decorations.  Sure, all those decorations are beautiful, but if you have 16 bins filled with ornaments, tinsel, berries, greenery, 61 snowmen and angels-- that is a whole darn lot of stuff to organize, unpack, decorate, repack.  It makes me tired just thinking about it. (Ahem...I am down to 10 bins) You don't "need" a tree in every room. You don't need 172 strands of outdoor lights. You don't need the stress of extreme decorating every year.  You are not a Griswold, and will never be!  Have a main tree, maybe the kids can enjoy one also, but this year, take it down a notch.

4)  Rather than inviting 24 couples for a progressive holiday dinner, evaluate your circles of friends. Who do you "do life" with? Who do you talk to daily?  Who are the people that you will be seen in your pj's with?  Those are the friends to plan a fun evening with.  Create a new tradition that your friends will look forward to in the years to come. Consider maybe 5 couples max, and have a wine, appetizer and dessert night. Each couple brings a bottle or two, an app or a dessert.  You my friend, as host/hostess, will just need to provide the location and additional beverages.

5) Your family and friends do not appreciate the 19 trinket presents you have bought them  More is not more. More is usually just more stress, more money. Start thinking about quality over quantity.  Save yourself time and effort. Order on line and direct ship with a gift note. Order entire family gifts at once from the same company and request it to be delivered in as few boxes as possible. Change your approach to gift giving for kids. Try the 3 gift approach. Something to read, something to wear, and something desired. Create a simplistic approach for gift giving when a child is young, and they will know what to expect as they get older.

These are just five quick, practical tips to help you simplify.  It is all about creating new habits.  If you continue to work on simplifying your holiday's now and then also in the years to come, the worry, the anxiety, the lengthy to do lists will not seem as important anymore.  Enjoy your family. Enjoy your friends and neighbors this holiday season.  Because there isn't a prize for who has the longest to do list. I checked. There isn't.

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