The holidays should be a time of celebration-getting together with family and friends, sharing meals together, baking delicious treats, and decorating your home to look like a sparkly winter wonderland. But, if just reading this list makes you feel a little anxious and overwhelmed about the upcoming holidays, it’s possible that you are doing too much! If you are spending every last minute trying to make a magical Christmas and don’t find any joy in the season, it’s time to let some things go. Free up some time so you can actually enjoy the holidays–do less this Christmas season! Here’s how:
Take some time to write out all the things you typically do to prepare for and celebrate the holidays. You’ll probably have an overwhelming list when you are done filled with things like: taking pictures for the holiday card, addressing and sending the cards, buying new outfits for the family, attending work parties, baking treats, shopping for gifts for kids, extended family, teachers, coaches, etc…, volunteering for class parties and church events, donating toys or money to less fortunate families, attending Christmas concerts and plays, baking cookies and treats, decorating the house inside and out, visiting Santa, preparing meals, attending parades, driving around looking at Christmas lights and more.
Look at your list and really think about which of these activities feels like a chore and which are ones that you and your family truly enjoy doing together. Start to think of the possibility of letting some of these activities go. Think of the freedom you might have to enjoy this time with your family if you didn’t have to do all of these things. Below, we’ve compiled a list of common Christmas activities and to dos and suggest some ways to either let them go completely or simplify them.
If Christmas cards are a source of stress this season, change it up. If getting a perfect family photo is your stressor, skip it! Simply send out store bought cards. Or, lower your expectations of what that picture needs to look like. Relatives and friends don’t care if it’s a professional photo or if all the kids and the dog look perfect! Maybe you can skip the cards all together, send a e-card, or a Happy New Year Card.
If decorating stresses you out, keep it simple. Check out our comprehensive guide: A Minimalist Approach to Decorating for tips.
Money and shopping can be a huge stressor for the holidays. See if you can buy less. Maybe you can start doing a Secret Santa or Pollyanna gift exchange with certain groups of friends and families so you aren’t buying as much. Buy less presents for the kids. A good rule to follow is to buy them one of each of the following: something they need, something they want, something to play with, and something to read. Once you figure out how you can buy less and spend less, set a budget and stick to it. Also, shopping online is a great time saver!
If baking has turned into a chore instead of a joy, skip it! Unless you are giving baked treats as gifts, you don’t really need to bake before the holidays. Wait until the lazy days after Christmas to bake. Cookies and cakes taste just as yummy after Christmas.
As much as you can, plan ahead! Shop for presents throughout the year. Take your Christmas card photo early and order the cards well in advance. Plan your holiday meal out early as well. Pick out holiday outfits in the fall. The more you do in advance, the lighter your load will be at Christmas time.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you figure out how you can do less this Christmas season so you can enjoy it more.