Christmas Simplified

Does your quest for holiday perfection stress you out? Sometimes the temptation for everything to be perfect can distract us from the stuff that really matters. This year, why not scale back a bit on the pomp and circumstance and have more fun?  

Here are some time saving strategies to help simplify your holiday season so that you can focus more on what’s important; being present in the moment, sipping cocoa with friends and family, and making room for JOY!

Set Reasonable Expectations

Less is More When it Comes to Decor. Everything does not have to be picture perfect. This is a hard concept for me, but I stop myself from decorating after the first week in December.  If it’s not done by the 10th of December, it will have to wait until next year.  That means I put up only a third of our family ornaments (much to my Mom’s dismay). For my inside decorations, there’s a nutcracker on the piano, a Christmas card display, and a wreath in the dining room.  Outside, I have a pre-lit wreath on the door and white LED candles in my windows.  It’s pretty and tasteful. No fuss.

Tried and True Recipes. Over the years, I have paired my holiday traditions down to 3 recipes which helps me to reduce stress by planning ahead.  Yes, they are the same every year, but hey, no one’s complaining. This also means I have the confidence of knowing how long each recipe takes to pull off and the peace of mind that I (hopefully) won’t mess it up. My kids are little, so we will make and decorate basic sugar cookies.  It’s not a gingerbread house or Lebkuchen in individual paper chalets (which are cute if you have extra time), but they will do.  

For my friends, I make biscotti and wrap them in cello bags with gift tags.  This is an affordable and personal gift option.

On Christmas Eve, I make a minestrone soup with fresh rosemary.  It fills the kitchen with the scent of evergreens. I like that it is a way to slow down and enjoy the day. The Parmesan cheese rind melts into silky creamy deliciousness. I could go on and on…

Tip:  To save some time and hassle at the store, treat yourself to having ingredients delivered with a grocery service.

Entertain without the stress.  Have a low-key get together with friends just to hang out.  No need to set out the fine china (unless that’s your thing.) Just grab some munchies (crostinis are fun), and set up a cocktail bar or a hot chocolate bar.  Better yet, make it an informal open house so friends can drop in without a ton of scheduling. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. People just want to see you (not your perfect house.)

Simple (Last Minute) Gifts.  People in my life are notoriously hard to buy gifts for. 

“I don’t need anything.”  (Sound familiar?)

“You don’t need dish soap that smells amazing?” Yes, yes you do.

Enter the Grove Collaborative* Holiday Gift Sets which are available for 3 more days for all you last minute gifters out there.  Need something for the Perfect Hostess? The Domestic Goddess? The Chef?  They’ve got you covered. I personally love the stoneware tray, Cranberry Red colored dish towels, Mrs. Meyer’s scented holiday soy candles and peppermint scented hand soap.  Oh, and the cute red apron!  

Why I love these sets?  It’s stuff people use everyday; only slightly more special and festive. The sets come in cute boxes (time saver!)  If you really want to save even more time, just add a bow and voilà! Best of all, it’s delivered to your doorstep so you’re not tempted to overspend in the store.

Simple Gift Wrap.  If you have kids, let them stamp and paint some brown craft paper with winter scenes. I like to use bakers twine and red gros grain ribbon as my trimmings of choice.  It can also be fun to tuck a sprig of evergreen or a winterberry branch into each bow for a finishing touch from nature.

Hopefully implementing some of these simple strategies will help you slow down and enjoy more of life’s small pleasures this holiday season. By focusing more on fewer things, we add luxury to life’s little moments, and who doesn’t love that?

*Items marked with an asterisk use an affiliate link, which means I may make a small commission if you purchase the item(s) through my link(s). It costs you nothing, and helps support my small business!