I'm often amazed and discouraged by the sheer amount of items we have on their to-do list this time of year. Cookie exchanges, pageant costumes, gifts for every acquaintance, 4 dinners to host, and so much more.
I'm a big fan of doing what makes you come alive! If you love baking, then exchange it up, girlfriend! But if that's not your jam, grab that tub of cookie dough from the store and call it a day. If you love making sentimental, heart-felt gifts, then craft away you creative soul! If you can't cut a straight line to save your life, there's no guilt in pressing “buy it now” on Amazon. (No judgment here!)
There are 5 ways that I make Christmas Easy-Breezy for myself, and maybe a few of these methods will work for you too!
- I don't host dinners. We don't live close to our family, so Christmas often involves traveling home to see them. While travel can be stressful, we make it fun with new toys and books for our little boy and audiobooks for me! One of the perks of traveling home is that I never have to host Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Instead, I get to be a blessing to the host by running errands, helping with side dishes, or setting the table. It's so much less stressful when it's not your house and not “your event”. Can you get creative this year and let someone else host for the big day? Trust me, you'll breathe a huge sigh of relief!
- I don't shop in person. As much as I'd love to stroll the streets of the closest little town, picking up little trinkets and basking in the Christmas lights, I just don't have the time. I choose family fun over Christmas shopping every time. So, I buy all my gifts online. Yes, my methods do involve a fair bit of clicking “buy now” on Amazon, but I also plan ahead and order gifts from Etsy and other small shop owners. I love supporting other small business owners, and ordering gifts early means my list is complete several weeks before Christmas arrives.
- I don't send out Christmas cards. I'm a millennial. I pretty much assume that everyone important is online and follows me on Facestagram. Even Chris' grandma is on Facebook! I do try to send cards with snapshots to the few people in my life who aren't on social media, but for everyone else, they can catch up with me online. Granted, I do enjoy receiving cute cards from all of our friends, but I also feel incredibly guilty when I have no place to put them and they end up in the trash. I'll save you the trouble, and I'll save myself hours of work. Phew! I'm feeling merry and bright already!
- I choose carefully. I don't say yes to every invitation that comes our way. But best of all, I don't feel guilty about it. I've already decided what's most important to our family for December, so everything else can go. One of the hardest things to say no to are all of the opportunities to give or volunteer. But again, I know that I can't do everything, so I pick a few causes that are most important to me, and I'm strong enough to know that a committee chairperson's opinion of me doesn't matter.
- I decorate sparingly. I'll be honest – this one is easier for me because of point #1. We head home and enjoy the decorations at our parents' houses. But, I still like to make our house look festive for December too. I don't go crazy, though. A few sprigs of holly, simple white lights, and a few strategically placed decorative items can go a long way. Keep it simple.
If you need a little extra help to stay organized and stress-free this Holiday Season, I've created 3 great Holiday Printables to help you out. They're free and you can grab them right here.
Maybe this list makes you sad, and you can't imagine giving some of these things up. That's fine! Keep the ones that matter most to you.
But let me tell you about some of the things I do get to do because I'm not stressed out about Christmas:
- Drink lots of hot cocoa and watch lots of Christmas movies.
- Teach my son Holden about the story of Jesus.
- Spend time giving to others.
- Go sledding (if we happen to have snow while we're visiting home!) and make snow angels.
- Relish in the magic of Christmas morning right along with my little boy. I'm not too stressed to enjoy how special it is for him.
- Spend time with friends and family that I haven't seen in a while…and truly enjoy it!
- Relax. Dream big dreams. Make big plans for the year ahead while enjoying each moment as it comes.
What about you? How do you make Christmas easier for yourself? Will you try anything new this year to bring back the joy?
~ Beth Anne